Howdy Doodle All
So, Christmas is nearly here and our days are filled with the magic and wonder of it. This magic and wonder made all the more special because we can pass it on to our children to create memories for themselves.
For me, this time of year is always a little bittersweet. I have fond memories of winter from when I was younger. Standing around at the bus stop waiting for the bus for school to turn up, holding up a pencil to my mouth and breathing out the steamy air pretending to smoke, knowing the news would get back to my parents if anyone saw me. This was way before I actually started smoking. Creating a skating strip down the driveway of the local bakers whilst waiting for the bus, seeing who could slide for the longest time.
One of my fondest memories was a from a few of those special days, after all these years it ends up as one big recollection, when I guess it is lots of little thoughts all rolled into one. The day would have started as normal, getting up for school, wiping the window of condensation and even before you looked outside you just knew how cold it was, in those days before radiators and central heating, those days where the windows rattled in their frames. Those cold, cold days that stay with you forever and those days you would have back in a heartbeat. Looking through the window the garden was bathed in snow. Not a light scattering where the tips of the grass blades peek through. But the type of snow, you can fall through. Where, if you were really careful you could walk on top of, and then one wrong move and bam you are up to your thighs. Dragging myself downstairs, normally with my clothes so I could get dressed in front of the Rayburn, the only heat in the house. Hot toast with margarine and Marmite was the breakfast of the day, as it has been for probably most of my life. Then out the door not with a spring in my step, hell I was about to go to school. Freezing conditions were no fun. Sliding all the way to the bus stop and trying to miss the snowballs thrown by the boys, because everyone knows that snow down the back of the neck will chill you to the core. There was always one child that had a watch and on these important days; well that child was the most important. If the bus hadn’t come by nine am then we knew that we weren’t going to school. When that happened it didn’t matter how cold we got! We rushed home to get changed and collect one of the most important things on a day like this. A plastic coal sack. These were the days when you had coke delivered by the coalman into the coalbunker in your back garden. Those bags were never used for anything else other than in Winter. Now most of my village was flat, so a coal sack for sliding on didn’t really seem like a good idea. That is until you remember that we lived about a mile away from a local picnic site that was full of hills. The only problem being was having to cross the very busy dual carriageway the A14. Remember though the snowfall, and you will realise that there wouldn’t be much traffic on the roads. Even though the walk itself was only just over a mile those trips seemed a lifetime away. Sometimes me and my two friends, yes I had more friends but on most occasions I was only with the same two, would pretend we were on a massive arctic expedition, it seemed more fun at the time. Time seemed to stand still then, those hours went on for days and the days went on for weeks. The funny thing is, the actual trip sticks in my mind but the destination is not there. I cannot picture what the Picnic Area looked like, I hardly remember sliding down hills, which seemed like mountains, but I remember the happiness I felt and the excitement of those cold, cold days.
The sadness that hits me when remembering these things is the fact that I no longer live there, I no longer have those friends, I no longer have friends. Would we still be as close as we were? That I will never know and the saddest part, I will never have the chance to find out.
P.S. What types of things do you remember of Christmasses Past?