Monday, March 17, 2008

Christmas mish-mash…………….with Rose

Started early this year, December 14th ‘Mi-wadi’s” Gill celebrating her 21st birthday…Paris Hilton, eat your heart out; what a party, Epic music and mouth-watering food…..Daddy Tommy and Mammy Bernie pulled out all the stops……..Santas appearing everywhere, women who thought they could walk through glass doors – ease off the vino, Ladies………..
Missed the nephew Cillian as Joseph in the Nativity Play, shame on me…...
Christmas Cheer sadly missing this year so, on Sundays 16th and 23rd , I set off Christmas shopping, determined to inject a little seasonal goodwill and like a big goofy edjit, smiled like I was auditioning for a toothpaste commercial……….. I have to say, 99% of the sales staff in all the major stores responded but were initially surprised at my joviality but Readers, I wore them down and the only begrudging, “I- will- not- be- seduced” sods who failed to reciprocate were Irish staff in a very prominent Irish chain store associated with a St. Bernard dog….. The Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Muldovians, South Africans and Nigerians, plus an Aussie in Mark and Spencers all gave in and humoured me (probably thought I was on serious medication) but the Irish let me down……….
Little melancholy starting to creep in again before Christmas for Ivy again; twenty four years past and I still miss my mother at this time of year……..wonder if she’d have aged gracefully, still smell of Pond’s cold cream and hair spray….. I miss her, memories of the smells of Christmas past and sitting in the choir as a child, not a note in my head but watching all the personalities perform.... Lest you think I’m a lost voice, I can’t sing, never could but I loved the pomp of it all as a child, the words in Latin sounding so romantic and so important….
Jimmy Murphy is missing; two days now and no sign of him, doesn’t bear thinking about it…….what a Christmas for his family…
Jimmy is alive and recovering from a fall, having spent two nights out in freezing temperatures, God’s work is in evidence…….Halleluiah!
Generations continue…..into Janet’s a few days before Christmas; young Oonagh behind the counter, sharp as a tool and smiling with it. “She wouldn’t let you away with anything” says mum Janet with obvious pride. Eh, hello, and she takes after whom?
In comes Elizabeth of the Foxy Locks with young Paul and Luke, all geared up for Christmas and not going to put a hair out of place just in case Santa is watching, which of course, he was!
Next door, Patrick greets me with my free calendar, courtesy of Langan’s Butchers and carries my meat purchases out to the car, Christmas cheer is to the fore in Ballymore, Thank God.

Back into She of the Foxy Locks for another miracle; the place is buzzing, Edrina, Gill and Elizabeth wearing goofy t-shirts, the craic is flying, teas on offer, sweets, goodwill and abuse reciprocated…….
Christmas Eve; childhood friends Jacinta and Margaret pop in during the day; whether its three months or three weeks, lifelong friendships need no formality – I am fortunate to have made friends throughout every stage of my life but these two schoolyard friends I cherish…..

Christmas evening mass; Gerry fretting in case we are late; my children slag my parking skills (nothing new there so); the church is a feast of winter foliage – berries, variegated Ivy and foliage; children’s art beside the tree; Padre and his assistants carry Baby Jesus to the crib and the choir is in hearty voice…….
Padre is in dynamic form, slates the media, reminding people of the week that’s in it – racing, that is! – and gives out a few tips. Silent Night and Adeste throw me back into ‘Ivy melancholy’ and I’d give anything for just a touch of my mother’s skin or the whisper of her voice…….
Don arrives about 4 hours behind schedule to say ‘Happy Christmas’ and head to Sligo, leaving my kitchen alive with beautiful flowers
Christmas morning, Santa has arrived to my ‘children’; Laura arrives, then Gerry before we gallop up to Dora’s for Christmas Breakfast; Roy ‘Scarpetta’ Clarke is recovering and Paul has arrived home with a mop of hippy curls and a tan, back from his travels around the world whilst Dad P apparently tried to dig a trench and head over to him……..You had to be there… Lorraine’s waitress skills are put to the test as Finola is on nursing duty for the day; Dora of course, churns out sausages and rashers like we were never going to eat again and mulled wine (for Breakfast??), Gus rushes off to mind the turkey whilst Kay heads to church… good neighbours, God Bless them.
A visit to the graveyard to Mam and Dad’s grave and to my grandparents, sad.
Even sadder still, to stop and say a prayer for Karen (34), Declan (20) and young Thomas (22). It didn’t seem right, to visit the graves of our friends’ children……a quick prayer for Mary and baby John…..sad times for families
Up to Nanny then for our annual visit and my annual drop of Sherry; melancholy is replaced by merrycholy….Nanny is in flying form after falling down the stairs in CityWest at the Senior Citizens Party and proud to display her bruises and stitches. Maureen Potter could have teamed up with Nanny as an entertainment partner……. We leave in stitches – without the pain or anaesthetic…..
Return home and head over to Pat and Bernie’s for dinner; Gerry fretting in case we are late…….we are early, the chef is in radiant form, apparently having mistaking gin for clear water earlier that day! A big fire rages in the living room as we attack smoked salmon and pate………Stuffed to the gills, mulled wine, sherry and red vino and I am ready for a nap…..ate two much, drank too much, watched the soaps and swear next year I am not going to eat this much again…….from young Lyn up to Uncle Gerry, there are no age barriers on Christmas day as Nintendo DS, board games, the Wii comes out and when we return home, we are fit for the bed so that’s what we do, on with the TV, everyone in to Mammy’s bed and we watch Brigid Jones again (Mother snored through all the best parts)……….Christmas, isn’t it great…….
Peter and Donna are in Mayo with the Careys for Christmas and the children are thrilled that Santa found Mulranny, especially young Calum who opened his presents and spent the morning shooting everyone – with the sweeping brush…
Stephen’s Day and a casual dinner in my house with David, Fiona and family; Gerry is not taking chances on the dinner being late or early so he watches the horseracing and arrives at his leisure; Amy and Hayley arrive and the table is buzzing… even young Lynsey pops in and the house is alive with the confidence and chirpiness of youth
The calm of this year’s Christmas is momentarily broken as I watch shocking scenes of reprisals in Pakistan following Bhenazeer Bhuto’s assassination; Irish news reports deaths due to motor accidents, drugs and murder investigations are announced by the Gardai……..what a lousy Christmas for those families
Sautrday 29th - Danny Kaye bursts onto the screen with his timeless adaptation of “Hans Christian Anderson” and I remember my mother telling stories of “the Little Match Girl” and “The Ugly Duckling” so I down tools and watch the film from start to finish…….to hell with housework, life’s too short!
Ethna’s grandchildren, John and Josh are like nuclear energy centres and charged up 250%! How Karen would have enjoyed the pair of them……..
Sunday 30th - Maura’s curry party is another success, even if the poker sharks didn’t appreciate my card playing skills
New Year’s Eve in front of the television; Don beside me, two dogs at my feet and a jealous cat vying for attention…….I have gained pounds and inches again, the house is cluttered with junk, food I don’t need or want but I feel calm and happy, the ‘children’ are out but all safe and accounted for as the midnight text messages arrive………..another year over; overspent, overate but happily hungover with a sense of peace and family fulfilment…………..a most non-eventful Christmas and thank God for it……….
Christmas 2007 – Rose

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