“I’ll just take it apart, clean it and you’ll be all set within 10 minutes,” he said. Confidently.
Three minutes later, his exclamation indicated something was wrong. Drastically wrong. As in, he broke the pipe wrong and we’d have no kitchen sink for dinner.
Twenty-three guests were arriving in an hour and I was minus a kitchen sink.
But then, there’s always the bathtub which became the home for dirty pots and ladles, cutlery and serving dishes.
In the end, the cauliflower never got made, and forget about the extra yam dish. I didn’t have another pot to use, and not enough time to cook it anyway. The hour spent clearing the drain had completely disrupted my timetable. I had to go with what I had and hope for the best.
And it was, the best… a night of fun, of laughter, hilarity and charm. We ate and drank and sat around the table and told stories and shared in that thing that makes Christmas such a special time of year — community.
We ranged in age from 19 to 75. From still at University to long past retirement, we shared points of view and points of contention, from one guests stories of his recent experiences in basic training in the military, to another’s stories of running a billion dollar corporation. We talked about homelessness and homes, education and travel, wine and cheese and everything else in between.
And then, after dinner, the guitars and drums came out and we sang and laughed and then most of the guests left and C.C. and a crew of younger folk sat down to play games and I went off to bed, hoping that tomorrow the plumber would arrive and I would have a kitchen sink to work in.
No such luck. The plumber worked with C.C. and they had it cleared but once he left, it didn’t stay that way. The problem was, when C.C. peeled the mound of potatoes needed to mash up for 21 people, the peels had gone down the garborator and gotten stuck. Really stuck. And then, they swelled and while they’d moved them down the pipe, they got stuck en masse further down.
Draino. Snake. Running water. No luck. We’d have to wait for tomorrow when the plumber was scheduled to return.
What to do. What to do.
C.C. and I decided on a movie. We switched on Pay per View, dialled in what we wanted to watch and cuddled up on the leather sofa in the den.
And that’s where we were when a resounding crash was heard from the environs of the living room.
“What’s Ellie into now?” C.C. asked as he got up to take a look.
“You’d better come see this,” he called out a a few moments later.
But there Ferdinand the Christmas tree lay. On his side. Fallen over. Totalled. Ornaments strewn across the floor. pink and rose shards littered across the hardwood and onto the Chinese rug. The tree we’d decorated en famille just a few short nights ago, had fallen over.
It was a mess. Ellie was nowhere to be seen. Neither was Marley, the Great Cat, in sight either. Had they?… No. No way. Ellie’s too old and Marley has never shown any interest in the tree. Ever.
It must have been the gold beads strung across the boughs. They were only on the front side which meant the tree was front heavy. Must have been too much weight.
Nothing to do but clean it up. And start all over.
Carefully we untangled the lights and boughs and de-robed the tree of all its ornaments and glitter. C.C. mopped up the water while I swept up the glass.
It didn’t pay to think about it. The only thing to do was to get it done.
Bonus! As we’d decorated on Monday night, the girls had suggested we needed more lights. I didn’t feel like going out to the store mid-task so we’d made do. Now, I figured I may as well go and get more lights.
I went out and bought two more strings to add to the glow. Beauty!
And then today, C.C. officially got the sink unplugged and now, the house is back in order. The dishes are done and put away, the table leafs removed, the extra chairs tucked away until Christmas dinner. The tree glows. The sideboard is cleared of dirty glasses and the kitchen is decluttered.
It’s funny. Not having a sink didn’t detract from the festivities and the tree falling over didn’t really rob it of its beauty.
The memories of decorating the tree together remain. The laughter, teasing, conversation and good times shared continue to resonate throughout the house.
Disasters happen. It’s not their happening that makes the difference, it’s what we hold onto in their wake that measures the value of each day, that fill every breath with love — or not.
We decorated the tree last week and had early Christmas dinner so that my daughter could share in the love and joy of Christmas at home. The memories live on. They continue to cast a beautiful light in my heart of all that is so special at this time of year. Family. Love. Community. Peace. Harmony and Joy.
And as to the rest… well, that’s just the stuff that happens on the way to making memories worth remembering.