Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Christmas Tale

Every year before Christmas I scrummage around in the cupboards looking for our Bing Crosby 'Do You Know It's Christmas' cassette tape.  It's usually buried under a pile of redundant cassette tapes and other examples of old and even more redundant audio thing-a-majigs.  

I also scrummage around in the cupboards looking for our Bing Crosby cassette tape before writing a blog post which mentions said cassette tape, so that I can make sure I have the title right.  After wasting five minutes and coating all my fingers in dust, I have a feeling my family is constantly hiding Bing Crosby from me (but that might just be a vicious rumour).

I love Bing Crosby cassette tapes!  

The first track (is it called a track on a cassette tape?) is my very most favourite Bing song:
White Christmas.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten,
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow....

When you grow up in Australia, it doesn't take too long to realise that this song was not written about Australian Christmases.  If it was, Bing would sing it like this:

I'm sweating during a hot Christmas,
Just like I sweat every year
The melting tree tops are shimmering
The pool full of children is glimmering
And we all set fire to the barbecueeeeeeeee 

Sorry, I couldn't resist (most Australian versions of Christmas carols are lame anyway, so I fit right in).

At about 4:00pm on Christmas Day 2011 we were slumped sitting around the pool trying to digest the large amounts of food which had been consumed for lunch (hard work).
There was a little light bantering about who was going to go for a swim, who was going to get pushed into the pool, etc.  No one actually moved.

At that point the sun also went behind a very large black mass of clouds, and the hot air suddenly felt even hotter and more stifling.

Definitely no one made a move to get into the pool.  Instead there was a mass exodus into the air conditioned house and a game of Super Scrabble began.

Confession time:  after consuming large amounts of food, and lying out in the hot air, my brain had decided to go to sleep.  Scrabble was just too, too much.  Those in my category headed for the Nintendo Wii to play Mario Kart (it's a family tradition, so I put aside my aversion to electronic game boxes and started thrashing everyone on the track {not quite})

4:48pm Christmas Day 2011 was a moment of sluggishness.
Sluggishness is a symptom of holidays, a long day, too much food, impending desserts, summer, and a satisfied feeling that you are with family and everything is a-okay.

We were in the middle of our third or fourth race and I was in 2nd place when we heard the Dads (and other old men) yelling from outside under the pergola.  It's amazing how we can go from sluggishness to stampede.  Everyone was rushing outside to check out the hole in the pergola roof.

"Look!  It's hailing!"  A hole in the pergola roof is very exciting.  A freakishly big hailstone hole.
Then there was another hole.
Then there were three more freakishly big holes.

Let us bear in mind that this pergola has stood in the same place for 20 years and has never failed as a shelter from the storms of life.

All symptoms of sluggishness disappear for good as everyone rushes back inside.  The pergola roof is disintegrating before our very eyes!  Woah, exciting.

Let's talk about giant hailstones.  Coming through the roof for the first time ever.
When you've just been sweating it out by the pool half an hour before, you really don't expect ice to fall from the sky.
When you've been slouching on the couch playing Mario Kart, you really are not prepared for the noise of a thousands baseball bats suddenly pounding on the roof.
When you've filled your memory card with photos of Christmas Day so far, you really didn't think you'd be deleting some to make way for photos of the street covered in ice.

When you live in Australia, you never really believe you'll see a white Christmas.


The storm was beautiful while it lasted.  The damage afterwards not so beautiful, but not too nasty considering the force of the ice bullets which rained from the sky.

Ice fights in the street afterwards were a Christmas 2011 highlight.

The second storm gave us enough rain to last out the entire year, and driving home through flooded roads completely expelled any amount of sluggishness left over from Christmas lunch.

In other parts of Melbourne, it only rained, or hailed a little.

I was in the right place at the right time for my white Christmas.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white.

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