Happy mayhems

Took Rigby out for his Christmas morning walk at about 8.30. It was already warm, the sky a perfect blue. Walking down the street it seemed unnaturally quiet. There was no traffic on the street, no sounds of movement or industry. There was not even a breeze.

Down the end of the street there was a woman walking in a straw hat. We walked in her direction, and slowly things emerged. Passing one house I heard the faint strains of Christmas carols. Passing another a family came out the front gate to visit their neighbours, three little girls bounding with excitement. The father seemed to me a typical Australian type with an open, friendly face. “G’day mate,” he said, “merry Christmas”, and I wished him the same.

Passing the woman we exchanged greetings. Still it was quiet. The houses revealed little, but I imagined inside families gathered for this most special of family days, the kids hyper opening their presents while proud parents watched on, all of it a happy mayhem.

Beach road on a Sunday morning is normally chockas with cyclists in long ribbons going to or from the peninsula. It’s difficult to cross sometimes so choked is the road with cyclists and general traffic. There was little traffic today, and though there were cyclists, far fewer than normal. They rode by in clumps of 10 or 12, the diehards, many of them with antlers attached to their helmets or santa hats or some sort of festive decoration.

It was beautiful on the beach. The sky was an azure blue, and the water still. There were a few swimming, and others walking along the sand or the path behind the beach. It seemed so classic. While most of the world today celebrates Christmas in some kind of winter setting in Oz it’s high summer. It’s forecast 36 degrees today after 35 yesterday. The next 3 days are said to be similar. It’s a hedonist’s paradise.

Back home I’m sitting here with a glass of very rummy eggnog, held over from last night. There are even carols playing. I’ve been in touch with the family that counts. I’ll set about fixing my lunch in an hour or two.

Last night I watched It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a movie I probably hadn’t seen for 15 years or more. In recollection it seemed mawkish to me – which undeniably it is; but watching it again I was affected by that very mawkishness. It’s easy to be cynical and cool, but unwise. These are the things I’m learning – never too old.

To all that read this, have a happy and safe day – and I hope Santa treats you well.

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