Yes, It’s Christmas Captain, But Not As You Know It!

geeky-christmas-ornaments-collection-7If you believe all you see on tv or in the movies you’d think Christmas was the one time of the year that we all loved each other, there was a blanket of unthreatening snow on the ground, and a Dickensian glow in our hearts. But that’s not been my experience, though it’s not always gloom and misery either. For example…..

There was the Christmas I spent in Jordan with my friends Catherine and Anna. We arrived at Aquaba airport to be greeted by swarthy Jordanians in jelabas and plastic ‘Santa’ beards, ringing hand-bells and saying “Welcome to Jordan”…highly surreal. On Christmas Day we woke to a cloudless sky of duck-egg blue, swam in turquoise seas, ate a specially prepared traditional Festive Meal in blazing sunshine, and smiled at the prospect of visiting the Rose Red City of Petra, ‘half as old as time’. Pure magic.

There was the Christmas I spent in Gaza. My apartment was in Gaza City by the port, overlooking a long beach of grubby yellow sand. It was a normal working day there, without the remotest hint of Christmas in the air. Everyone I knew was at school or work, so I ate a solitary medal of spaghetti before the IDF turned the electricity off (again!). My mother and brother called me to wish me Happy Christmas, but we were interrupted by the drone of war-planes. There was no bombing that day…that came later.

One year I stayed with my pal Miranda in Ireland over Christmas. She was an ardent animal lover with a collection of dogs and cats and two Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs that had stopped being cute and were now enormous. She insisted on treating them like people, keeping them in the house instead of letting them run free. Well, pigs are intelligent creatures and don’t take kindly to being kept indoors, so they quickly got bored (no pun intended!). One morning when Miranda was at work I heard an ominous crash – the pigs had knocked over the tree and were eating it, baubles, tinsel and all. Another night we came home to find everything covered in white foam rubber – they’d eaten a sofa! Certainly put me off bacon!

Another Christmas my mother came to stay with me and my ex. We walked into her room laden with presents, to find…she was on the floor, nightie round her neck, in a diabetic coma. The ambulance service was on strike that year, so it was the police who took her to hospital. We spent most of the day in Casualty, taking Mum home when she’d been given the all-clear. The rest of the day was very subdued, and Mum never stayed with us again.

Then there was the Christmas I was suffering from a broken heart and decided I’d rather be home alone than pretending to be jolly with family or friends. Unexpectedly, my friend Fiona came round on Christmas Day while I was wallowing in misery. At that time she lived in extreme poverty, but had brought me a carefully wrapped present – 3 onions in Christmas tissue, all she had to give. It was the single most touching and the most generous gift I have ever received, and it taught me a lot about openhandedness and the spirit of the Season.

So many Christmases, some painful, others joyous, many feeding the nomad in me. Maybe next year I’ll have other seasonal tales to share. Until then, have a good one, and hope to see you at the first Loose Muse of 2013, on January 9th, with features artist/poet Janice Windle, and writer/singer/artist Linda Shanson. And don’t forget to submit to the next Anthology…you can either bring it with you on the 9th, or email me your submission by the end of January.

So come share the passion, share the joy,
Agnes

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