Childhood fantasies

’tis the season to be merry… and mindful.

I have been listening to Christmas Carols and the like (parts of The Messiah and a fairytale of New York) and sentimental memories had my eyes watering.

Some days I sing quite well and can hold a tune; other days I creak and squeak, so I only sing in brief bursts, when my heart lifts and my lungs fill spontaneously.

My memory played a strange trick on me recently. The First Noel has an ascending chorus line which can be drawn out …. My children do not like it, but I find the long drawn out Noel Nooooweeeeell irresistible. Inevitably I am the only one doing this and it attracts attention from others. They get embarrassed and cringe and these days walk out if it happens to start playing…

My memory is of having them around me at the carol singing evening at Havelock Mine, where I lived in the ’60’s and early ’70’s. We were up on the balcony and they were all looking at me with great apprehension as the song progressed… it is a clear picture in my mind.

The trick is that it wasn’t my children, it was my brother and I and it was my father who was stretching out for the chorus… my children were not born yet.

Carols at Christmas are tied up with many of my own childhood family memories. Away in a manger is mawkish and sentimental but it always prompts a memory of the amphitheatre in Mbabane, candles in cardboard holders and even a real donkey in the Nativity scene and Daddy singing No-owell, No-owell, No-owelll, No-oweeell and all eyes turning. What a strange mixture of embarrassment and pride! No-one could sing as loudly or as bravely as my Dad; he had a fine voice. Mark my footsteps good my page, treadst thou in them boldly!

Now that I am older than I once was, I am ticking off items on my bucket list. I did that today – I cooked a Gingerbread Man!

As you may recall, I have made a number of culinary endeavours and some have been almost successful.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find a rolling pin, so used a bottle which didn’t work; nor did the cookie cutter for which I had scoured the town.

Not a work of art, but I can tick it off!

Author: manqindi

Post imperial wind drift. Swazi, British, Zimbabwe-Rhodesian, Irish, New Zealand citizen and resident, now in Queensland, Australia. 10th generation African of mainly European descent. Catholic upbringing, more free thinker now. BA and Law background. Altar boy, wages clerk, uncle, prefect, student, court clerk, prosecutor, magistrate, convoy escort, pensioner, HR Practitioner, husband, stepfather, father, bull terrier lover, telephone interviewer, Call Centre manager, HR manager, grandfather, author (amateur)

One thought on “Childhood fantasies”

  1. Lovely story about the cringe effect of parents on their children. My grandfather had that effect on us when he sang the amen at the end of a hymn -, always loud and always a few seconds after the rest of the congregation.


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