Its my time
of year. I always think of Christmas as midnight on the annual clock,
then its followed by New Year when everything starts again. But
for a whole week, everyone shares the same celebrations and I love it
when we share. I love community spirit. For me, Christmas is a world
community thing. I suppose Im just a big softy but theres
no harm in being a little off centre. I can handle that. I`m known to
stifle a sob just watching This is Your Life. Even the Eclipse had me
in tears for the same reason. Here in Cornwall, it was a community thing.
We were all subject to the same natural phenomena and it brought a huge
spontaneous reaction from the cosmopolitan community that lives here.
We were cheering and clapping and hugging and kissing like it was the
last day on earth. If only it were always like that. Forget the commercial
angle and the cynicism. Christmas is what you make it and we mustn't
ignore its magic or its art.
People say Christmas is for children. Bah! Humbug! When I was a kid
it was the adults who had all the fun in our house. They were far too
busy for me. I was sent to bed too early. I`d sit at the top of the
stairs and listen to the music and the voices singing and talking rubbish.
The grown-ups would dance and stumble against the furniture and the
men would declare undying love to anyone that caught their eye then
drop their drinks on the carpet. I couldnt wait to grow up.
Theres always fun at Christmastime. It all starts when the pubs
close and you get invited round to some strangers` house to enjoy all
their drinks. We have quite a wide circle of friends here in Falmouth
who got to know each other from working in a local bar/restaurant together.
We developed the same brand of humour and loved the sense of theatre
that you always find in a well-run pub. It was such delightful nonsense.
Now we meet all too little but at Christmas, we reunite after doing
whatever we've been doing that has kept us apart throughout the year
and just that "getting together" takes priority over most
One of our crowd came back from running away to sea and, during a bout
of delirium, actually married a local Tory councillor. So every year
on December 18th (or the nearest Saturday), the season really kicks
in when we are reluctantly summoned to his afternoon birthday party.
He sends a coach to collect and deliver us to his stately pile overlooking
Helston Creek. Leaning on his mantelpiece one year, I happened to notice
amongst their countless Christmas cards, one from our sentimental couple
to their rabbit. I thought that was a little weird until I noticed it
was next to one from their rabbit to them. Then I discovered the rabbit
had its own room - and it was larger than my bed-sit. The room itself
was carpeted in - yes, you guessed it, green shag and the only piece
of furniture in there was a basket filled with straw. That party is
not the hottest ticket in town but it has spawned a new game. For a
whole week before it happens, you can tell the members of our gang because
were the idiots walking round half dressed hoping to catch a mystery
virus that might prevent us from going to the party. Were the
loonies crossing roads blindfold. Were the nutters who point and
openly mock those overweight shaven-headed bouncers outside pubs. Were
the strangers during the football match catcalling and laughing out
loud at the visiting supporters. Were the dozy ones in the front
of the queue at traffic lights reading a dictionary when the lights
change to green. Yes, first one with a cast-iron excuse for not going
to the party wins a magnum of Buck`s Fizz.
Last year, as our coach pulled away, leaving a dozen gently swaying
merrymakers confused but happy outside Falmouth parish church preparing
to make their various ways home to bed, I remember my surprise when
the clock chimed a startling six p.m. as we warmly wished each other
a jolly goodnight.
The next lunchtime was busy as usual in the bar and the excitement of
the build-up to Christmas was almost palpable. Only a couple of days
earlier my girlfriend had returned to Stratford-on-Avon to be within
the bosom of her family and I was missing her terribly. She was so far
away and how I wished she would phone. Then she did, and I told her
how I wouldn't bother with decorations or a tree because there didn't
seem to be much point. She did her best to cheer me up but just the
sound of her voice in all that hubbub made me miss her more. By the
time I put the receiver down I was pretty depressed. But I almost fainted
with delight when two minutes later she walked through the doors struggling
with a real tree, lights, tinsel, baubles, lametta and an angel peeping
over the top. Christmas had returned. She`d phoned from the booth outside
to surprise me. She drove back to Stratford on Christmas Eve.
So now, if the children want to whisper, then I give them my attention
because they're the only ones who can tell me the secrets of the Universe.
One other thing, at Christmas I listen to myself and always make a wish
and try to look at Christmas with the innocence and enthusiasm of childhood
because there's the only sense in being here at all.
So enjoy yourself everyone and be kind to one another. It's up to you.
Make a wish and have a Happy Christmas.
© Tony Brown
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