The Session: The Best Day of The Year
Here’s my submission for the session, a monthly blogging event where you post on the same topic. It’s my interpretation of ‘A Dickens of a Topic.’ The Session is hosted this time by Phil over at Beersay, so get over there and check out the other entries. Hope you like it.
My grandparent’s house; always the venue for Christmas day because it was detached and cavernous enough to hold us all. In the living room, the floor littered with new toys and my brother and I wearing our new jumpers, we’d sit goggle-eyed in wonder of it all; obsessed with whatever toy was sitting in our laps, even then salivating it the thought of all that food to come. A true butcher’s spread; an obscene amount of meat, vegetables and pastry. Decorations, Gold and Red. Mum and Grandma in aprons. Gravy boats. Party hats. Cartoons on TV. The sound of the knife being sharpened in the kitchen cutting through tipsy chatter. The best day of the year.
My Dad, Uncle and Grandad are going to the pub. When they reappear, cheeks a little rosier than when they left, the crate of beers appear. A never-ending supply, kept under the stairs, sitting cold. There’s no room in the fridge anyway; too much Ham and Pork Pies, Relishes and Cheeses even for those sleek tins.
The sound of cans being popped, the toffee-brown contents poured into glasses with slogans on them. Orange cans, crumpled, sitting in the bin. Stones Bitter. Tetley’s. These are the beers my dad drinks. These are the beers my uncle drinks. Sitting on their laps, watching Morecambe and Wise and Only Fools and Horses. Little hands reaching up – a little sip for us won’t hurt! After all, it’s Christmas – The best day of the year!
My dad’s place. Me, my Dad, Brother and Sister. We’ve all helped with the cooking, and now we sit eating at the table, party hats on, laughing and joking because this is Dad’s year for Christmas. He makes out like it’s no big deal but I know it is – how can it not be, it’s the best day of the year. There’s a plate of pigs-in-blankets the size of Everest at the head of the table because it’s his favourite food and we can do what we want now. Turkey, Cheeses – Yorkshire Pudding, even. Key Lime Pie in the fridge, nestling above a mountain of Profiteroles. Plus, I’ve brought round some expensive, rare beers for us all to try. They’re sat outside in the garden, chilling down in the frosty air; beers from America. Beers from Italy. Beers from Scotland.
But on the table there are crumpled cans amongst the remains of crackers; the yellow-and-black wasp-bodies of Boddingtons; the familiar Red Triangle of Bass. Easy beers. Beers for Christmas Day, when you start drinking when you get up because it’s the best day of the year. As the meal wears on and the trousers get tighter, our cheeks redder and voices louder, the cans keep piling up in the bin. Outside, light fades. My imported bottles sit in shadows now. I keep casting glances to them, sitting behind the patio door glass like puppy dogs – but as soon as I do, another can appears at my hand. It’s Christmas, the best day of the year, and these are the beers we drink. My Dad, brothers and I.