At this time of year I am reminded of Christmas’s long ago when I was a young lad, of course it was a lot different to now, times were very tough. I never made a Xmas wish list, mainly because not only could we not afford anything on the list, we couldn’t afford the paper to write the list on.
We all lived in a small cottage, along with my aunt, uncle and their children, there was so little room that I had to share a bed with my cousin until I was twenty seven, it was terrible, she was a very bad snorer.
We did not have much to entertain us, there was no television, but I do remember one xmas my father bringing home a recording of Sir Winston Churchill’s Greatest War Speeches, and we spent many a happy hour dancing to that. Mom and dad could not afford xmas presents, I remember at the time I was mad about the “Davy Crocket Show”, this was one of the early cowboy shows on television, I used to watch it at my friends house, I recall being very jealous of him because he actually owned a Davy Crocket hat,
this was made from racoon skin, with the tail hanging down the back and looked very debonair, well at least it did on Davy Crocket. My friend used to wear his , along with his very thick National Health glasses which were always held together with bits of plaster, this ruined the image somewhat. Anyway, I pestered my mom and dad for months to get me one for Xmas, I did not really expect to get one but then as luck would have it my pet cat Gerald passed away after accidentally licking his nose and sticking it into an electric socket. My dad was quite clever with his hands, infact he was a lot cleverer with his hands than he was with his brain and he came up with the rather brilliant idea of hollowing Gerald out, wrapping him in Xmas paper and pretending it was a Davy Crocket hat. Actually it was not too bad, apart from the fact that he left the cats head attached. It used to give me quite a fright when I caught sight of myself in the mirror, I don’t know if it was my imagination but I seemed to see a lot better in the dark when I was wearing it.
There was a farm at the rear of our house, and every year, a couple of days before Xmas, dad would go out and return with a large turkey. He told us that it was a gift from the farmer, but I often wondered why he would have to climb over the farm fence at 3am wearing a balaclava.
My mother never liked to waste anything and one year, after plucking the turkey, she stayed up all night using the feathers to construct a Red Indian headdress for Great Grandad Albert. He loved it and would always wear it down at the Bingo hall, it seemed to bring him good luck , until one day the farmer from next door recognized his feathers and threw a bingo ball at Alberts head with such ferocity ,that he was never the same again and spent much of his remaining years discussing Germany’s invasion of Poland with the oak tree in the back garden.
Anyway, despite all of our problems, I have fond memories of those days. When you have not got much you appreciate the little things in life. I wonder if children nowadays, appreciate things quite as much. Mind you, what do I know, I walked around with a dead cat on my head for five years.
have a good Xmas.