Sunday, 6 December 2015

Christmas is Coming!

  'Tarting up again, showing all the cheap finery.  Think we're going to fall for it.  Every year it happens.  I don't know.'
  This was my aunt Kay, with the glass eye, toby jugs and pug, Mitzi. I thought at first she might have been talking about Brenda Slutty Morgan, who lived in the next street down towards Bargoed station; Brenda deflowered at least three of my male cousins.  
  'Brenda would have her roots touched up by Sheri at number twelve, put on this mauve sequinned boob-tube she had, then make sure she was at her open door as the village boys were coming back from playing their Saturday football.  But all this only if she'd heard they'd won, so would be fired up and one or other of them might want to stop off.'
  Kay didn't seem to be talking about Slutty Brenda this time, however; she was prodding a copy of the Woman's Concerns.  'See?  Shameless.  Think we'll experience lift off of joy, just from a bit of holly and snow around the borders on the cover. Can't wait for the Special Festive Edition, Iestyn,' she sneered.  'Short story about some old girl who's in a pit of depression over having to spend Christmas alone; but who gets befriended on Christmas Eve by a three-legged dog; and as they're walking back from chapel on Christmas morning in the crunch of the newly fallen snow the old woman collapses in the street and you think Aye, aye, someone's over imbibed the communion sherry - but what it is is that she's been riddled with cancer and nobody knew and she dies there in the newly fallen snow. Oh, but hang on, now - what is it that's odd about that very snow?  There's only her tracks are to be seen in it, is what.  No three-legged dog's.  Then the sun strikes through the clouds and picks out the shape of three paw imprints making their way back up to heaven. And on the page facing the story, to pull out and keep you get a CD of the Salvation Army Band playing Hits from the Hospice - sadly the Fairy of Tact not being around to talk them out of putting that the CD was recorded "live", either.'
  Well, at least they got the recording made.  When we Southwark Cathedral boy trebles sang at an old people's home in Borough one Christmas, that was meant to be recorded as live for later broadcast.  The residents promised that they would be silent during takes; but one pulled a cracker beneath the table; another opened a Christmas card that played "Jingle Bells"; and finally Eric, known to be a trouble-maker, kicked off during "In the Bleak Midwinter" that he knew full well that some lad was singing for posterity, but he had no intention of shutting up and listening till he'd had his entitlement of warmed bloody nuts.
  Kay put the Woman's Concerns to one side and picked up the Evening Echo.  'See, these people know not to gild the lily.'  She smiled approvingly.  'No frills needed because the winter will always bring its own joys for them to report.  The deeper we get into it, the more the excitement mounts.  The thwack of the Evening Echo on the doormat, love, and I'm straight out there and turning to the classifieds, to see which of my friends gave up the fight with the season's vagaries and died in the night.'  She chucked me under the chin. 'Tidy!'

#christmas #obituaries #aunts 

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