The Canadian years,19, Christmas crackers

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Friday 28 November 07:47

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the Christmas crackers

The meterman and his family lived in a quiet street which was fortunately quit wide, because the car tires fought for the grip on the slippery road. Studded tires would have been so very much under the krautcan. Only the main arteries through the city were cleared of snow by the municipal authorities    early every morning. We glistened towards direction parking spot without hitting anything and came to a halt. My sister 'plugged'  our kraut mobile in a plug. Beetles had an advantage over American cars. They had the battery under the rear seat and inside the cabin, they suffered less from the extreme cold . Our mobile kraut was pleasantly warm. This was not due to its heating system because that was far from being sufficient in really cold climates. My sister had something that you called a "gas heater" fitted. It was a heater that bulked out incredible heat, it was fed by a small metal tube from the fuel tank with an exhaust out of the car and best comparable to a mini cannon heater in the building trade thatis  used to dry houses out.

We walked towards meterman's house and I thought again how wonderful it was that you were invited by a stranger. In any case, he had understood the Christmas thought. He was already in the door and smiled at us: 'ho ho ho, Merry Christmas everybody, come in,’ he continued, ‘it is bitterly cold.’ It was a house with a front and back view, cheerfully decorated. The fireplace crackled warmth and the table was laid out with fine glassware and napkins and candles. The record player was playing carols. You came automatically into the Christmas spirit, my mother and sister took their baking contributions to the kitchen. ‘You should not have done so,’ said the hostess warmly and my father gave the hosts the wrapped bottle of whiskey. ‘For after the meal’ he winked, ‘merry Christmas ‘and as if they were old friends they shook hands.

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‘Come along now,’ said the wife of the meterman, ‘the table is ready’. There we sat together, until recently strangers, at the long table and the hostess had made impressive work from it all. We sat there for hours, and the meterman told us how he had come to Canada,may years ago and had felt displaced and alone and how his first Christmas in the new homeland, had been very lonely. We followed down the two sons to and from the table, because the whole night seemed filled with appetizers and it was like we had known each other for years. They showed us their bedrooms and toys and there we were a little later watching the TV, to be called at the table again. At one time the candles were lit and only the most necessary lights stayed on. A giant turkey on a slightly larger plate was carried inside. The meterman gave  huge poultry shears father to me, ‘will you do me the honor,’ he asked my father who had decimated many wild animals in his life,  he began the cutting process 'carving' , it was called. The meterman asked us ,who wanted white or dark meat and he and my father cut and shared the turkey for the both families.

There were no ranks or positions, there was no one who felt a different nationality, the Christmas miracle had happened. ‘ The little town of Bethlehem’ coming from the record player, nevber has sounded quite the same to me in later years. I was truly happy and I saw the same reflected in the faces of the people around me, we enjoyed the evening. Uncomplicated joy. After a while I could not say booh bah anymore, it was all too excessive. It eating pace slowed down. The clock hit 12 slow strokes and the meterman stood up and said solemnly, ‘unto us a son is born 'and his wife replied,’ unto us a son is given. ‘Merry Christmas!’ Christmas crackers were distributed. I had never seen that before, you got a weird paper hat, and the cracker was a cardboard tube lined with a string. Your neighbor at the table and you, both pulled on one end and the tube plopped apart with a bang. The table was cleared and the two fathers of families settled down for the fire with a cigar and a glass of whiskey.

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This was the buffer zone in life, here were the masks had fallen away , were people of good will. Next week it would be behind us again behind and the rat race would slowly start claiming it’s momentum, untill Christmas would fade into a memory which you would forward to, the following year. The meterman never received a counter invitation. My father's kingdom was a closed realm.

 San Daniel 2014

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