Sense and Nonsense 1981

I usually remember Christmases past by the small disasters that invariably occur at that time of year,

Many of these min-disasters involve food. For instance, Christmas 1975 is emblazoned in my memory as the year my Christmas baking ended up at the garbage dump. (Just because it was encased in a Glad bag!)

Similarly Christmas 1980 will go down in the annals of Ray history as the year I mailed a chicken pie to my mother in a hamper of home-baked goodies. The mincemeat pie I had planned on enclosing reposed peacefully in our home freezer.

Mother had no problem detecting the mistake (after four days en-route to its destination) Luckily she has a sense of humour as well as a sense of smell!

Three years ago our Christmas was a bit unusual because of a power failure. A hydro transformer blew its cookies right at the gravy-making stage of dinner preparations. I discovered later that through some inexorable chain of coincidences, all four Christmas dinners in the neighborhood were at the exact same stages of preparations. My non-electric range was the only stove on the block to produce completed gravy on Christmas Day!

Our Coleman lamp did its best to illuminate the room but its function was impaired by a faulty generator. I had planned on a sit-down dinner complete with Santa Claus tablecloth and centerpiece. We ended up eating buffet style, crouched around the wood heater in the living room. My colour co-ordinated salads were anonymous grey globs on our plates.

The dinner conversation was punctuated by remarks such as: “How did I get Brussels sprouts on my plate? I hate Brussels sprouts” and the rejoinder: “So, that’s where my dinner disappeared to! I’ve been looking all over for it!”

One young voice was heard to say, “Aunt Doris sure makes good gravy.” He had inadvertently poured some carrot pudding sauce on his turkey and mashed potatoes.

What to do when the power is off? The Wonderful World of Disney was featuring a special cartoon presentation on TV that everyone had been looking forward to. We could see the electric lights beckoning to us from across the lake. Maybe we should pile into cars and drive to town…?

“Where’s that Password game you bought, Mom?” asked my daughter. I remember we used to play Password by the hour when we were kids,”

My daughter, her husband and two others were soon engrossed in a game of word association. They changed the rules until eventually it became a rollicking version of charades. Sometimes a non-participant would guess the word answer before an official player did. In the flickering gas light it was often deciphered wrongly anyway, and nobody was bothering to keep score. The game was distinguished more by its hilarity than by the skill of its contestants!

Hubby picked up his banjo and someone else found a guitar. Soon a musical session had begun in one corner of the room. Our three-year-old and her tiny niece bobbed up and down in the flickering shadows as they danced.

Suddenly, the lights were back on. Almost immediately the television came to life and the sound of rock and roll music drifted in from our son’s bedroom. The furnace fans began grinding away and the refrigerator was humming. All the discord sounds of modern living and the brilliance of 100 watt light bulbs combined to shatter the atmosphere of a few minutes ago,

The Password game and the musical instruments were put away. Everything was back to normal.

In retrospect, some Christmas “mini-disaster” were more fun than not!

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