Boxing day 1998
My Grandma and Grandads house was on a street in Bramley. Their residence for over twenty years, it was a well kept property that has seen all the the joys and tragedies associated with raising a family. The thing I was most looking forward to inside this family home, were my Grandmas Yorkshire puddings, which would have been Michelin starred if she owned a restaurant rather than work in a care home. A close second was the chocolate that teased us on the Christmas tree for thirteen days, and just behind in third was seeing everyone together.
Opening the door we were greeted by the Christmas Classic, ‘Step Into Christmas’ by Elton John. The bitter cold was replaced with sweet warmth, and I could swear that it was the song that magically made that happen, or it could have just been the heat of a throng of bodies and a house full of radiators. Anything Elton John touched turned to gold, and thank goodness we had Top of the Pops back then rather than X Factor.
The adults were nattering away whilst my cousins, all around my age, were either dancing or playing. None of us could have been in a better place, including myself, thanks to the Rhinos game having been too cold to watch with Netto bag failing to do the job of keeping me warm thanks to my cousins little sabotaging act before the match.
Without hesitation, I headed for the food which was laid out across several tables. It was a fantastic spread that consisted of Edinburgh Rock, Butterfly buns, Yorkshire puddings, small sausages and much more. I just grabbed the largest paper plate that I could find and balanced as much food on it as I could. It’s a skill to balance food on flimsy paper, and if you’ve mastered it, then remember to put such balancing on your CV because I’ve seen some really clumsy people working in supermarkets. Well George Carlin did once say that, ’most people work just hard, enough not to get fired, and get paid just enough money not to quit’, and I doubt there’s never been a truer quote.
Soon after constructing my mountain I headed towards my special little stool, only used by my family if every other chair in the place was taken. At least here I can eat in peace whilst the Jim Reeves Christmas collection seranaded us in the background. Now was a good chance to look back at what kind of year I’d had, and it was terrible. But I was soon cheered up by Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ which never fails to put a smile on the faces of everyone, apart from skint parents who feel that they have to keep up with the Joneses. My short lived joy was soon to be put to an end by John Lennon’s ‘War Is Over’, because I knew that even at a young age that the wars will never be over.
My dad saw me sitting miserably in the corner, so he came over and asked me what’s up, and I just basically shrugged. My mother and father did their absolute best to ensure that my sister and I had the best upbringing, which included Holidays aboard every year, nice bedrooms, good pocket money and much more. But something was clearly missing in my life, and it was a Leeds Rhinos season ticket. From that year on, I got a Leeds Rhinos season ticket every year from my parents, and I couldn’t thank them enough!
Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.