Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dear Susan,
Doesn't feel much like Christmas. The temperature is climbing towards zero and I have the heater on. So I thought I would recycle an old observation or two. Think this one was around 1995.

Dear Susan
I'm dreaming of a quiet Christmas, just like the ones I've never known. And so far it looks promising. Rosie and Calvin have bought their own brand new unit and moved away. They came to live with us until they saved money for the deposit. They saved $45,000 in two months and Ivan and I are now in liquidation. The unit isn't quite what Rosie had envisaged. It lacks four bedrooms, three en suites, a rumpus room, a media room a swimming pool, tennis court and indoor gym. But she said she's willing to wait twelve months for those.

Calvin is in seventh heaven because the unit does have an L U G or lock up garage in real estate/ese. The garage is`strictly Calvin's domain and Rosie is only allowed to use it between two and four a.m. His sanctuary is more organised than my kitchen ( don't say a word). It boasts play girl centrefolds in chronological order, a hook for his hard hat, many many double adaptors (it's a male thing) an extension cord and a supersonic all purpose 205 piece tool kit.

The balcony is also his domain because it houses THE BARBECUE. Not just any old barbecue. This one cooks better than any other one on the planet and only Calvin knows its secrets. We are all very aware that barbecuing is a man's job and certain rules have to be observed. The gas, sticks, electricity whatever all have to be at the perfect temperature to ensure that the meat is black on the outside and raw in the middle. The Esky has to be a little to the right of the right foot and the tinnies have to be touching the lid. All cooking utensils including the multi purpose super barbie mate have to be within arm's reach to save him having to scream out and ask you where he last put them. He has to wear a silly apron usually with a drawing of a woman's breasts on it, and the little woman should be inside, making the salads, setting the table, heating the rolls, feeding the dog and helping the kids with their homework. Calvin is really great with the barbecue but it's hard to go wrong. It cost more than an entire kitchen.

Anyway Rosie and Calvin have left. Denise who came to stay for a fortnight last June has just moved out. Neville who strolled in three weeks ago has gone home to Adelaide. Josie is outside mending her mosquito nets before she heads off to the Solomon Islands and Eloise is sleeping off the last party before she gets ready for the next one. So everything here is sort of settling down.

But when I say I want a quiet Christmas I don't want one like last year. Do you remember? Ivan had ruptured his back and had been prostrate on the loungeroom floor for three months. Nothing in the house felt very Christmassy so I built a manger around him, surrounded him with straw and tried to convince everyone he was part of my Nativity scene. No one bought that.

On Christmas morning Rosie, Josie Eloise and Calvin came to open their presents and Ivan blinked at us to convey his excitement when he opened his back brace and neck collar. Then R,J,E and C took off for parts unknown and turkey and ham and pudding while I reflected on my Christmas joy
By that stage of the morning, (11am) Ivan had consumed enough pain killers to render him comatose, so I was really having to make an effort to HO HO HO!! I put on my pretty white dress, my Christmas tree blinking earrings, my red sequinned shoes, draped tinsel through my hair and skipped up and down the hallway singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. What a dork!!!

At about 12.30 I sliced up some devon off the bone cut up a tomato spooned on some cranberry sauce and sat down to Christmas lunch. Do you know how hard it is to break a Christmas bon bon by yourself? At least I got the half with the silly hat in it. As Christmasses go it was one of my least favourites. All the others have been great.

Wow I wrote that soooo long ago. but I may as well finish the story as it was that year.

This will be Josie's last Christmas with us for two years. Next year Rosie and Calvin might have cooked up another little guest for us. Eloise might wear a dress to lunch and Ivan might be vertical again.
But one thing is certain. As soon as I hear the first strains of Silent Night sung by a choir of children I will get goose bumped skin and moist eyes. It's magic. Hoping yours is the same.

And of course I hope it for this year too.