Christmas in my early years was a feast, I will repeat, Christmas in my early days was a feast. A big one that rounded up all members of my near-family into one room where we would chat,laugh, eat and drink like the world started and ended in the room we were in.
It wasn’t Christmas until UTV showed you the famous ‘Sound Of Music’ over seven times before the day ended and then a string of Christmas messages would scroll through on the lower set of the cast and before you knew it programming for the day would be done and all you’d have are the pink,black,white and yellow stripes running down your set.
The day normally started with the morning new-cloth roll call by mum, she worked in Kampala then, while we stayed in Fort-portal, she would jet in to the town late in the night while we slept – a thing I always found queer- and would keep us waiting till we had had our breakfast to see what clothes she’d bought for us. The Christmas eve night was always abnormally long, you’d wake up four times before the morning only to meet the disappointing darkness hovering over your bedroom window.
They were usually nice, bow-ties and suits for me and dresses for my sisters. Christmas clothes from Mum were special, it wasn’t just about the cloth, it was a cloth from a loved one you rarely saw. My dad was a common figure then, we’d see him day in day out and he did almost everything while mum was away so Christmas wasn’t cut out as his day.
The later part of the day would be spent in church. We would swing by church – Town Church, as it was then – with our new clothes ready to show off who got the best suit, who had the best shoe or even sometimes whose watch looked better. These were days! None of us really understood the idea of Jesus Christ and his birth, the Sunday school teachers indeed battled our attention albeit unsuccessfully.
The sermons were really long or perhaps our attentions weren’t that good, they dragged on and on worse still were the Christmas collections and speeches! By the end of mass we’d had enough fun runs around church, raced in the unmoving cars of our parents, fought and made merry too, others would sleep off, oh yeah we did have the boring kids.
After church was what we’d call the ‘real Christmas’ – the food part.
We took real good turns at eating the banquet. First was the rice with plain meat then the rice with chicken, then the Irish potatoes with liver, suffice to say it was a stomach explosion race on the Christmas day.
This is me recounting christmas tales on my desk with news stories to chase even on Christmas day, no family to return to for the big day – they all went to FortPortal, law school exams coming up in a week, no christmas trees to hang on a card or two, wait I don’t even have a card!
Christmas dies as we go through this problem called growing up.
Merry Christmas Buddies!