Well we got through it. The first Christmas without you.
There was the usual chaos.
Hippie Child was tasked with recreating your famous potato salad the one that you’ve served up every year since we’ve been in Port Macquarie to great compliments from the family. There was some pressure.
I forgot to buy the bacon. I thought there was a chance I could be joining you.
“I CAN’T MAKE IT WITHOUT THE BACON”.
I left the girls in charge of peeling the prawns, making the watermelon salad, and organising the platters while I made a desperate trek to FIND BACON.
Would some service station have a packet of bacon?
I came to a roundabout and realised I’d also forgotten the key ingredient of sour cream. If I couldn’t rectify this there was no point in going home.
Perhaps the little supermarket at Clifton shops would be open? As I turned up the hill I began praying – it’s no longer “dear God” – now it’s “for chrissake Simon make the Clifton shop open – you owe me this – you’ve gone and left me with this s***fight you can bloody well find me some bacon and sour cream on Christmas Day”.
Surprisingly, you delivered, the shop was OPEN. I wanted to cry. Then I wanted to tell the bloke serving at the counter with his grandson clinging to his leg, the whole sordid story.
I wanted to say, “thank you so much for giving up your Christmas morning so disorganised folk like myself can buy bacon and sour cream, you don’t know it but my husband drowned eight months ago, and today my daughter is trying to remember how to make his potato salad just the way he did, so it will be on the table at lunchtime, if you hadn’t been open it would have been devastating, so thank you, thank you”. But fearful I would burst into tears I just said “merry Christmas”.
Princess Child’s very expensive camera was missing its battery so she couldn’t take photos. She missed you being there to talk technical stuff with and show her how to use it. I’m pretty sure the two of you would have spent Boxing Day at the beach taking photos, instead the girls went to the Boxing Day sales and I retrieved the battery from the store and now wait for it to charge.
We ate well, we played board games, we triumphed in Trivial Pursuit (and yes I bought a new edition after the 2012 Christmas trying to play an edition from the 80’s that really felt like it was century out of date).
There was a Christmas miracle. Hippie Child and I have done our best to pretend Christmas wasn’t happening. So I had no idea what she wanted as a present. On Sunday morning she mentioned the books you used to talk about – the ones about the magician – you know, the only books you ever read – she couldn’t remember the name of the books or author and she wished she had listened more when you were rabbiting on about them. I did some googling and I think I found them – Raymond E Feist sounded familiar. I ordered them via Booktopia, paid extra for express postage and crossed my fingers. Some efficient administrator and picker/packer in a warehouse got the bloody things in the mail and they arrived on Christmas Eve!!! Thank you, thank you.
Princess Child worked so hard to make Christmas special. There was the handmade art journal she had specially made and shipped from New York for Hippie Child, she even had them print the Hippie’s favourite quote on the fly-leaf. Then she got them to make a smaller book for me and the two of them filled it with family photos (yes I cried).
All in all, we got through the day, it wasn’t the same without you, but we had some laughs and did our best.
Thinking of you.
PS Remember when I asked you to go for white feathers as sign you were around rather than breaking all our appliances? Yeah, well having me find a white feather in my cleavage – from the doona – was not funny. YOU KNOW THAT WASN’T WHAT I MEANT.