Christmas Special: A Covid Carol

from Today's Calls: Pandemic Pieces on BBC Radio Devon by Kimwei

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Story 1 - Past:
My auntie always put orange juice in the mince-pie pastry - a family secret to keep it tangy. We’d always have grapefruit for starter, then the fully works turkey wise plus pigs-in-blankets, balls of stuffing on the side, and Mum would always make a steaming hot curry to boot, even though nobody understood why or wanted to have any except for me and my Dad. Dad used to sneak a few spoonfuls on his plate behind his two veg so that grandma couldn’t see that he liked it better than her slaved-over roast. I guess Christmas means different things to each of us. To me it’s not Christmas without scrabble, crackers, presents from under the tree, given out by the youngest (who has to wear a Santa hat especially for the ritual) and a box of chocolates being passed around after we’ve lost the card that tells us what’s in the middle and somehow that means that even though Lisa’s the only one who doesn’t like coffee she’ll be the one who gets the cappuccino truffle.
I guess we’re not doing family this year then - it’s just me and you and the neighbours. Call me stuck in the past, but can we make madras to serve with the bird, and pour orange juice on the shop bought mince pies? Will you tear up the chocolate box menu so we can pretend we’ve lost it? I need these little nostalgic nods to the Christmas I used to know. For Christmas 2020 please, I wish for something familiar and comforting with tinsel on top.

Story 2 - Present:
Geofrey and I are staying at home for the first time in years. The kids and grandkids fought so hard over which one we’d go to that we decided to sod the lot of them and stay put for all 5 days of Christmas. We'll Zoom on the day of course, and we'll miss them, but we are looking forward to doing as we please. No more sleeping on the baggy sofa-bed in my daughter's living room, which is always a crush. No more spending Christmas day cooking a full Christmas Dinner for twelve people, oh no! We’ll be wearing our pyjamas and slippers and putting frozen pizza in the oven. Geofrey wants pepperoni on-top and, call me traditional, but I’m having shredded turkey and cranberry sauce on mine. We can get up when we want, go to bed when we want. Come the 24th I expect all our gifts will have arrived in the mail, and I’ve wrapped a little something to put out for the postie too - he’s a real life Santa Claus as far as I’m concerned. This Christmas won’t be like it’s been in the past and who knows what the future will bring. We’re old enough now to know how to take the good and sad in life. For Christmas 2020 please, I wish to trust in the ordinariness of miracles, or the miracle of ordinariness, to have the courage to stay exactly where I am and let life be

Story 3 - Looking To The Future:
Rosie was sent home from nursery after she had a coughing fit yesterday morning… and she hasn't coughed since. But, we completely understand that it’s important to take these things seriously so we took her for covid test - 20 miles away - there was nothing nearer. Then we had to sit in the queue with a screaming 3 year old in the back of the car with the 5 year old saying "I want to see" and the 1 year old crying... Now I have all 3 at home until we get the results which I'm 99% sure are gonna be negative.
Both Jenny and Rosie are devastated to be missing their class Christmas parties this week - in a year when there hasn't been much to look forward to this is a real blow to them… so we've started the Christmas holidays early today, baking ten to the dozen and planning our own little party this afternoon but my goodness it’s hard work! Come this evening all I’ll want to do is zombie-out but I know teething Tommy will have other plans. I can’t help looking to the future, hoping for a better 2021, but for Christmas 2020 please I wish peace (and quiet), good health and sleep (lots and lots of sleep).

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