Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Christmas used to be a big deal at my family home as a boy, when we got lots of presents and we had a big tree with lots of ornaments and tinsel. We'd have a big dinner and make lots of noise and stay up late. We'd sing carols and someone would say something that another didn't like and there'd be an argument and a bit of shouting that would lead to a fight on the living-room floor, the tree crashing down and the bulbs breaking, my mother screaming and my father smashing everything in sight. They'd throw things at each other, push me and others, the whole lot of them going nuts till everything was broken and ruined and most of us standing in frozen terror till someone grabbed and started beating me or my sister or both. There was a big hole in the door that never got fixed, someone punching and missing, the door taking the blow. They ripped the plaster off the wall once, and that stayed wrecked till I finally got out of there, maybe still wrecked to this day.

I was long gone and Christmas came around, still a kid, far too young to be on the road so far from home. We'd all been captured at various places over the preceding months and were held in a small bunker, most of us nervous, anxious, even scared that we might at any time be taken out and shot. But Christmas came and there was a delivery of mail. Guys got letters and candy and socks and things from home. It was almost OK for a day. I sat and waited till the mail call was over. My mates were embarrassed, I being the only one who didn't get any mail.

Christmas ain't about family for me. It's certainly not about presents and candy. It's about you. I get to live in a reasonable world of decent people. Thanks to those who make this world as good as it is, I get to come and go as I please and do my own thing without harm from the state or the lords, and I thank you all for that. Thank God for democracy, and thank you for keeping it alive. Thank you for having happy families and making this a wonderful world. Thank you, and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Adolph the Red-nosed Orator