Fes­tive frenzy Ian's Ru­ral Ram­blings

The McLeod River Post - - Point Of View - Ian McInnes

The time is al­most upon us. Christmas, Sol­stice, Hol­i­days or what­ever else you want to call it. For most of the month of De­cem­ber and often a good deal more be­fore and af­ter many of us will pre­pare for the big day.

There are presents to buy and wrap. Food to buy and pre­pare and ev­ery­one has their own ex­pec­ta­tions and goals, some a good deal higher than oth­ers. As a par­ent of 34 years now I have and still have mixed feel­ings about Christmas time. It was al­ways spe­cial when the chil­dren were young when my wife and I lis­tened to them whis­per­ing ex­cit­edly that the stock­ing were out. The chil­dren are a good deal older now yet they con­sis­tently have said down the years that the ran­dom­ness and in­di­vid­u­al­ity of the stock­ings were and are the best bit and they could have eas­ily not both­ered with the other stuff.The con­tents of those stock­ing were usu­ally less than $10 each.

There is a pres­sure and ex­pec­ta­tion on a good many of us to over­spend, over eat and for a good many of us too, re­gret it bit­terly when the cost is added up. I have fallen into the lat­ter more than once, which gave me mixed feel­ings look­ing to­wards the next year’s fes­tiv­i­ties.

For a good num­ber of peo­ple all over the world now, times are hard. De­ci­sions are be­ing made whether to spend money on food or rent/ mort­gage or util­i­ties. I re­mem­ber well hav­ing to make those de­ci­sions. At the sharp end of the dif­fi­cult econ­omy it is easy to get into debt and very hard to get out again.

In the 1980s and 1990s my wife and I formed 50 per cent of a part­ner­ship with my friend and his wife run­ning a scaf­fold­ing com­pany in the UK. Times were good and times were hard. We rolled with the eco­nomic punches, es­pe­cially when in­ter­est rates soared to over 17 per cent ef­fec­tively killing the con­struc­tion in­dus­try for years. We em­ployed peo­ple and had to lay them all off. My part­ner and I did ev­ery­thing to keep the com­pany go­ing.

One Christmas Eve my wife and I had noth­ing other than a small amount of gas in the car. Noth­ing for gro­cery shop­ping let alone Christmas for the four chil­dren we had at the time. There was noth­ing in the bank. We had but one hope. Once lo­cal con­trac­tor said he would pay us for one job we’d done as a favour. He called and asked us to drop by and pick it up. We just about had enough gas to get there. Our share of the job came to £50, which was about $120 then. We got some gas and my wife took charge of shop­ping. We had enough for a small gro­cery shop, small gifts for the chil­dren and a few ex­tras for Christmas.

It was one of the best Christ­mases I ever re­mem­ber. We spent the big day at home with the chil­dren then saw other mem­bers of our fam­ily many of which have since passed on. Yet the me­mory en­dures. Fret not over frenzy at this time of year it is the peo­ple that are dear to you that mat­ter. Time spent with them is one of the big­gest gifts you can give and re­ceive.

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