Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Past 2011, 6

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I wake, my eyes still dim from sleep. The first thing I see is my breath rising slowly from my mouth. I pull my covers up a little higher. It is freezing. I can see frost on the window glistening, small shapes from the sunlight streaming in. 

I see slight flakes of snow falling from the sky like the sugar you put on cakes. I feel a ping of delight move quickly through my whole body. I smile. It's Christmas.

I sit up and feel the cold hit me properly once the warmth and safety of the sheets have fallen off my body, no longer protecting me from the harsh winter cold. I step out of bed and begin to smile. I think about what the day has to offer - cheer, merriment, a fantastic Christmas turkey stuffed to the brim, gravy sliding off it, a platter of roast potatoes. My mouth begins to water.  Then I think of the most obvious thing that comes to any child's thoughts at this time: presents! I feel excitement gorw as I think about tearing into the delicately wrapped boxes of pure joy. I say out loud to myself "This is going to be a good day." 

One of the most memorable Christmases of my life was in 2004. I was at the coast in Kenya with friends for the holiday. Our house was right on the beach; the sound of waves crashing at night was deafening. Christmas Day itself was relatively normal. I don't remember any details from it.

It was the day after, Boxing Day, that was incredibly eventful. We were all sitting around the breakfast table when my Mum's friend got a text. It was from his friend in Sri Lanka. It read: There is a 200-ft tsunami coming yr way at 300 ks per hour. Get to high ground. This should have scattered us in panic, but I think the surreal nature of it caused us to stay sitting, and start a conversation on the topic "If you had to choose three things to pick up and run with from the tsunami, what would they be?" There were plenty of silly answers, including my brother's: "I'd take a fridge that is always full of food. And my stocking." 

Eventually, one of the adults brought us back to reality by saying, "I think we's better get a move on, then." We did, and grabbed more sensible items such as passports and money. We got into three cars and drove up to the hills, telling everyone we passed to get their families and do the same. 

We got to the top of a ridge and sat there for about half an hour with binoculars aimed at the seashore, trying to spy the incoming tidal wave. For some mad reason, then we decided we didn't want to miss it, and proceeded to drive right back down to our house. This was certainly not the most intelligent thing to do, and could have earned us all Darwin Awards.

We waited until the end of the day in expectation, but the wave never came. Later, it turned out that the tsunami had actually hit us during our pre-breakfast swim, but the reef out at sea had prevented it from making any impact. 

I support you could say we were just incredibly lucky.

1 comment:

deler1 said...

No 12 your breath slowly rising and frost on the window. Now that is a memory from Christmas long passed

No 13 close encounter, lucky

Good series
Thanks Paul Delany