|My mother, before she got married, did volunteering with 'st. john's ambulance brigade, working mostly in Baggot St. Hospital.|
recently i tried to think back, did i ever enjoy it.
excitement of waiting for santa, the bottle of milk at the end of the bed and some crackers for the bearded one.
- that is, until i saw my dad come in and sit down, drink and leave.
when i ran around banging on tin drums with my twin sister, up and down and causing chaos, unit my Mum came in and put her foot down on that.
I did, i say with the lovely little dresses and pink ballet shoes with silk ribbons, the little white cardi and the fuss and pomp with table glistening shiny and best silver polished and placed neatly, candles red and lit, crackers criss cross down the centre and places ear marked for the usual sitters, and the odd stragglers of older sisters x boyfriends, present boyfriends or friends of friends - at a loss for the festive season.
i enjoyed watching my grandma coming in, laden down in a real fur coat of motley proportions and weighty and mangey, we all laughed at that - no one knew where it came from, it suddenly seem to appear late in her life.
my auntie sat beside me. a petit little lady with a hooked nose with a poorly thought out nickname of 'Polly' but we all loved Polly unreservedly she was kind and gentle and thoughtful.
she wore thick beige stockings, a bit wrinkled, but she was a tiny person.
twice i was sick for christmas, and it was Auntie Polly who bothered to climb the 13 stairs to my nursery and pull a cracker and wish me well or sit and chat.
once even she bought me my first record, an EP with goldilocks and the three bears on one side, and 'donno' on the other.
i was carried into the sitting room to listen, and she held my head and stroked my young face and hair. She was to me a beautiful woman.
instant reminders of christmas brings flooding back my time with Aunt Polly, and her final days.
Memories as time flooded onwards and older still, i grew to hate it all.
i became overcome in silence.
"You are very quiet down there," my Dad would say from the top of the table, it was a big table from Frescati, Blackrock where he was brought up.
it held a multitude for this yearly feast.
alas if 13 sat down, the youngest was given a small table of her own so as not to make the full circle unlucky.
we all had our designated places for decades.
i sat near Mum and Aunt Polly was to my right.
Louise, long deceased sat nearest Dad.
the meal passed off usually in gentile and calmness, but maybe not so always as the meal ended, it was time for 'who is doing the washing up - this year.' Louise was on to that quite quickly or my twin sister or i.
i never remember the older ones doing it or even volunteering.
afterwards the drawing room was roasting in a blaze of heat from a tiny coal and peat fire.
|The Kennedy clan.|
b. row Gerald and Elizabeth, the eldest.
F. row, L to R, Louise, twins (we can't tell each other apart even now) and Jane
Louise lay out front of all and Jane fell asleep.
Mags and i sat on the floor leaning up against large chairs, I usually aimed for my Gran, as she loved to stroke my hair and that was gorgeous and intimate and nice for a seven year old.
talking for a few hours, it could be testy for some and we had a 'storm out' (or two) as the years went by.
a lot of teasing went on, i didnt approve of that.
years on i was glad the ritual was coming to a natural end. Siblings married, moved out and on. soon the numbers were much smaller, meaningless and purposeless.
|Like Christmas ritual, Sunday was another when Mum was left behind doing the Sunday roast. Dad took us up Burma Hill, Killiney for a walk|
Now i am 67yrs old. i hate it.
My lovely Dad is long gone, my mum, gran and Polly, Uncle bob and the Conans too, with their christmas eve visit all pass on by and forgotten now.
Its not the same.
i remain the youngest of the old class of the generation, waiting now to see if anyone invites me to their table, despite for the full year i may not seen them or received a phone call.
as the spinster, something like Polly, the family joke/scapegoat for funny fun of some kind, i tag along as the tagger for no other reason but, well 'we should really.'
I have bought a lovely outfit, something i have not done in donkey's years.
i bought it to relieve my deep depression of recent months and so lets hope the invite comes.
so far a nephew has enthused about meeting me and doing something of an afternoon when he comes home from London.
So far a wonderful neice has sent a letter to say she is looking forward to meeting up and having a chat, from France, over too for the first time in over a year.
i love these young uns.
i rarely see them, but hope i count to some of them.
so i wil be pleased it soon will be done and dusted for another year.
plenty too to forget of 2019, it was a ghastly year, like none other and most can reasonably guess why.
but not to put the bitter pill out for all to take, i want to wish all a very happy christmas, as some do still enjoy it and it uplifts many and rejuvenates a bonding of family kinship, so we have to remember those who are thicker than water so.
happy christmas from Scrooge, who actually is waiting for the invite and turn into a better human being for at least a day or conversion of some kind, but it couldnt be worse i say either.
|So looking forward to meeting up with Katie my favourite Niece.|
|Taken at a past christmas, i look rather beautiful. I look forward to meeting John and his new wife Jane soon|
|I will spare a thought for my next in line sis, Louise, who died too young at 47yrs|
|The chipboard christmas, 2009 with our meal balancing on a strip of wobbly board between two stools in social housing|
|relocated to a ghastly dangerous social housing unit, margaret moves her bed from eight floor boards, limited space between fire grate and chairs, and returned home not long before with serious illness. We never recovered from this traumatic time|