If A Cobra Can Spit So Can I

Posted in Musings

If A Cobra Can Spit So Can I

That’s the extent of my frustration. If a gadget works perfectly one minute why not the next? Sending a Kodak film to the lab was so much easier, let them sit with all the hassles. What’s more if you went to Clicks you didn’t even have to take all the duds. My card reader has just died a quiet little death. Lights out. End of story.

Last week was a busy one. Whether you like it or not everyone is celebrating, it’s all end of year functions, prize-giving and patting each other on the back. Everyone is a winner. It’s that time of year again.  The book club ended the year on a high note once again, we've been reading books together for 35 years, we still laugh a lot and enjoy each other's company.  I managed to get them to sit still for 3 minutes.

Twice I tootled off to the Bowling club, not to play, just to take some pictures and to observe. I was impressed. People were enjoying themselves, having fun, being competitive, sporty and enjoying the languid afternoons. So much nicer than going home and flopping down onto the couch like a sack of potatoes. We should do it more often. I think we take our long summer days for granted, we should try -35C to change our attitudes. Precious and I even doubled the distance of our sunset walk one evening and navigated ourselves around the Worcester dam.

With a little initiative this area could become a fabulous place for families to cool down after work. All we need is a paved path for runners, walkers, cyclists or roller bladers. I envision people rowing on the lake or paddle boarding. Imagine dragon boat racing? Years ago Isadore Droomer used to windsurf there, what’s happened, nothing’s happened to the wind? People could set up pop-up restaurants, or sell cool drinks, hotdogs and hamburgers or ice creams and tapas from mobile kitchens.

What we did see was litter. Tons of it. What we didn’t see were rubbish bins or facilities to freshen up. Surely the maintenance team at the Mall could do a clean-up? The stream feeding the lake hardly flows and looks toxic and putrid.

Enough of that.

Christmas shopping is at the top of my list of priorities and it reminds me of a short piece written by Erma Bombeck in her book titled “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries – What am I doing in the Pits?”

Everything is in readiness.

The tree is trimmed. The cards taped to the doorframe. The boxes stacked in glittering, disarray under the tree.

Why don’t I hear chimes?

Remember the small boy who made the chimes ring in a fictional story years ago? As the legend went, the chimes would not ring unless a gift of love was placed on the altar. Kings and men of great wealth placed untold jewels on the altar, but year after year the church remained silent.

Then one Christmas Eve, a small child in a tattered coat made his way down the aisle and without anyone noticing he took off his coat and placed it on the altar. The chimes rang out joyously throughout the land to mark the unselfish giving of a small boy.

I used to hear chimes.

I heard them the year one of my sons gave me a tattered piece of construction paper on which he had crayoned two hands folded in prayer ad a moving message, “OH COME HOLY SPIT”!
I heard them the year I got a shoebox that contained two baseball cards and the gum was still with them.

I heard them the Christmas they all got together and cleaned the garage.

They’re gone, aren’t they? The years of the lace doilies fashioned into snowflakes…. The hands traced in plaster of Paris… the Christmas trees of pipe cleaners … the thread spools that held small candles. They’re gone.

The chubby hands that clumsily used up two dollars’ worth of paper to wrap a cork coaster are sophisticated enough to take a number and have the gift wrapped professionally.

The childish decision of when to break the ceramic piggy-bank with a hammer to spring the fifty-nine cents is now resolved by a credit card.

The muted thump of pajama-covered feet paddling down the stairs to tuck her homemade crumb scrapers beneath the tree has given way to pantyhose and fashion boots to the knee.

It’ll be a good Christmas. We’ll eat too much. Make a mess in the living room. Throw the warranties into the fire by mistake. Drive the dog crazy taping bows to his tail. Return cookies to the plate with a bite out of them. Listen to Christmas music.

But Lord… what I would give to bend low and receive a gift of toothpicks and library paste and hear the chimes just one more time.”

A lot has changed since this little book was published in 1978. Then my Granny, Oupa and Ouma were alive. As a little girl I used to dream of a pair of black patent leather shoes with a little heel. I got butterflies thinking about going to the Post Office to receive the parcel from England filled with crayons, a dress, sweeties and a doll. The bells did ring.

The bells also rang when I received handwritten cards, the cruet set from the White Elephant table, the peanut butter sandwiches or the hand my son fashioned from candlewax dripping onto his hand and the gold hoop earrings bought with so much tenderness and love. The one that definitely took the cake was the outdated diary given by the Pharmaceutical Company the year before and the free sample perfume, it smelled like roses but had evaporated by the time I got it.  What I wouldn't give to have it all over again.

This year we have an addition to our family, my Grandbaby, he won’t remember much, but his parents will be more excited than ever to make it the most special Christmas of all. For us the bells haven’t stopped ringing since the day he was born. I love my ECard, what do you know it can't get lost in the post.

I must confess the new Pointsettias available in all the shops have improved.