So now all the cards are down* and the tree is sitting naked outside the porch, ready for its final blaze of glory on the bonfire, it’s time to tell you about Christmas with my fourth and last family.
Except I can’t, because circumstances have dictated that the two I’ve had so far have been only partial gatherings of the entire clan, and although I could retrofit several full assemblies and make it up, that’d be cheating. So I’ll just say that the two so far have been wonderful in quite different ways, and instead share a few more details from previous lives:
The only first family Christmas I remember clearly was when my brother was born, on December 23rd. My sister and I were standing in the hall beside my father when the phone rang, he listened, and told us the news. It was snowing heavily, and we played out in it next day. That’s the whole memory, anything more would be made up; but its sharpness still sparkles so I’m sharing it unembellished.
The singsongs started out a bit tentative, but over a couple of years settled down into a tradition: Sloop John B (a gleeful travesty of the Beach Boys, everyone wanting to do the ‘doo-do-da-doo-doo’ part); Alan and my immaculate harmony on the Ev’s All I Have To Do Is Dream; in the early years a lovely solo of a pre-war song I shamefully forget by Alan’s dad Les; my take on Buddy Holly’s Everyday; other stuff; and the grand finale, American Pie, in full. Eventually it became a chore for me (I was the bandleader, after all) and I almost started to dread it nearly as much as the present-issuing routine. Now, I wouldn’t mind another crack (if I could still play the guitar – must check that sometime).
*I might do my spasmodically annual Xmas card audit soon, if I can be bothered.