Idyllic balmy white-hot summer holidays spent lazing under big trees, preferably with a good glass of ice cold wine or beer in one hand and best-seller novel in the other. No buzzing computers or phones except for some crazy wood beetles making hysterical love and keeping one's heavy eyelids open. Butterflies darting amongst the nettles and a purple bank of cauliflower clouds growing bigger in the far western horizon. Not a care in the world can come between one and such tranquility...
And BANG!!!... and the recently topped up glass topples over and spills an unfairly big measure of some great contents across the white pages of a very good new library book. With the superb grace of a lizard, one slides a striped bum back onto the wooden garden chair and wonder aloud:
“What on earth NOW?!”
Sometimes I wonder how come the Venter-family has not yet been reported by passersby and black-marked as a red-zone threat to normal civilization and the reputation of all real Italian Mafia... Really, we portray at least one character of that old sitcom “3rd or 4th Rock from the Sun” - the Adams family can’t possibly be the only derailed family on this planet.
What caused me to fall off my chair and out of day dreaming? Oh, only the virtually top-of-voice excited tones of Mom and Bro who was again that day, at each others throat. I hoped they were not in the kitchen with its plenty of sharp knives, skewers and other piercing or mixing utensils.
It was the Pre-Christmas all-hell-breaking-loose-story again. Families breathing and seething like barking mad dogs at each other. Don’t get me wrong; we are normally a very loving and warm family, very protective over each other, but when the moment of disharmony strikes, it can go the wrong way...
Dabbing the sodden book with my happy-holidays skimpy skirt, I noticed Pa's shadow carving a dead straight to his vegetable garden - as fast as his short sun browned legs could carry him away from squibs and such things and before Mom demanded that he gets involved.
A door slam shut and bro takes a drive to town to join the touch rugby team, just to return later with a beer-breathe and concussion from barging into the rugby-field H-pole. In the meantime Mom had come to the unhappy verdict that two of her daughters were at least paralytic alcoholics beyond help after she discovered us hiding a box of wine in the car trailer, just there under the big old walnut tree.
Actually, by now Mom was in riveting tears and Dad somehow had to defuse the moment. Forced to make his voice heard above all wailing or else he ended in the haggard dog box too, with some of the other culprits banished there already...
Do you fear the Christmas season because of some miss-matched realities of family life? A mixture of different personalities thrown in one bag can cook up a fiery flood of under-currents resulting in basically one word: singing chaos. I like watching people, but there are limits as to how much of one’s own family can be absorbed.
So, Mom and Dad's three daughters made a deadly decision. Name us ‘Three Criminals’ if you like but I swear we were well-past our wits-end with Mom so unnaturally flying highly strung that particular year (not so long ago). As we poured over the coffee mugs one morning, we gave special attention to a blue mug with a yellow corn flower. A very particular blue oval shaped tablet was then stirred into it and middle-sis took the incriminated contents to the parent’s bedroom.
We went back to our beds, drinking coffee, reading and listening for any sound. We were so desperate for a peaceful day for once. My thoughts were skirting around the possibilities of putting things like pain-killers in biscuits and wondered why can’t tranquilizers be hidden legally too? Instead of politely asking people to just bloody take the things because they bloody needed it, or dump it in their coffee illegally.
What we did not know, was that Mom took two headache tablets with her coffee.
Dad became worried as Mom dozed off and seemed to be completely knocked out as she lay snoring next to him. She did not move as much as an eyelash. Much later that morning she got up with great effort and struggled through the day with the most admirable of efforts. We watched with quiet discomfort, and I’m sorry to say also with wide-eyed amusement, how Mom executed her daily tasks. Shuffling from kitchen to sitting room to bedroom to rest again in the kitchen. Still not a lamb, but for once we were able to relax with a tiny be-speckled reminder of our guilt.
Later that day we informed dad of matters – him asking us to repeat exactly what we just have told him. It took a few seconds to sink in and with a small smile he nodded and with the smile still on his face ventured away to tend to the watering process in his garden.
I have a grand Pa. As much as Ma, but still...
This year we decided to take at least 60 Xanors each for the time spent at home with the family. No no no, not planning mass-action but prevention of any souring or soaring tempers that might fly around again. I am going to take that for myself - one for the morning and to sleep tight at night - and try to stay out of trouble for as much it is possible in the heat of a festive season.
Oh, by the way: Men snore, lions roar and women...PURRRrrrr.