Our fanciful festive fiction
Years ago, my daughter and I were regretting how difficult it was to find the right, reasonable gift for the likes of eccentric me.
That set off a festive routine. ‘‘ No gift’’ fibs, with media clippings to back the excuse. I’ve kept a file of them.
Example: A photo from what cricket commentators call ‘‘the subcontinent’’, showed a truck piled five metres high with hay – and an enterprising cow alongside, munching mouthfuls.
My daughter assured me that the hay was actually packing for my gift, that the cow ate the lot, hay and parcel, while the truck stopped at a border checkpoint.
Ate so much, that ‘‘it exploded and the outcome was spread across the border which had to be closed as a result’’.
She assured me that a look out was being kept for the remains of the beast. If the present was found, it would be passed to me.
That’s if I wanted it after what it had been through!
She said the couriers told her that the photo was proof that a request for ‘‘a valuable artefact’’ to be packed in more than usual protective packaging was done as required.
Another year, another photo – with the usual glib explanation plus photo of earnest engineers staring into a big pipe – ‘‘ a giant inter-city suction postal service to carry mail faster, further’’, was blocked. By my missing present, of course.
Another year, the routine newspaper clipping showed an overseas bus standing on its bumper down a soak hole. Its freight was in the front and – well you know, don’t you?
Once she discovered survivors of the Mr Asia syndicate operating in South America.
She told me they had bought her silence with a container full of priceless Inca artefacts including ‘‘a magnificent gold rooster, two feet high, richly decorated with precious stones’’.
According to my daughter’s script, after the drug lords put the container into a Guatemala storage unit a sink hole swallowed the building, container and all – dangerous things soak holes, eh?
Again, newspaper clipping and an aerial photo showed the scene.
Even named the lady next door to the hole – Maria del Carmen de Ramirez, she was – and gave the holes measurements: 12 metres across and 30 metres deep.
It appeared in the pre-compact Herald so it must have been true.
One theory: That the container was wired to explode when opened.
Another Christmas, this time an envelope of cinders. My daughter said she acquired a rare document on dried goatskin in Brazil. From 16th century priests who communicated through thought using ‘‘ a proven life force from outside our solar system’’.
Found in the base of a tree by a man called Jose Presto, all but one of eight copies ‘‘were destroyed in a terrible earthquake in 1934’’.
My convincingly sad daughter said the one parchment she had brought back – I didn’t even know she’d been overseas – was burnt in a postal warehouse in Matamata. She had raked up blackened relics of what she had intended to be my priceless, life-changing gift.
The hand-made cards just keep coming!
Are they all true?
I mean, would any loving daughter seek to mislead an ageing father?
Well, yes. For us, it’s part of the never-changing routine of festive and fanciful Christmas. Better than crackers with feeble riddles. Can’t wait.
Have a good one too.
Tall tale: This year’s Christmas present is lost in the post – or is it?