Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (39) Christmas Miracles (Part 01)
20 miles inland from Sharpington-By-Sea, equidistant between Finchbottom and Pepperstock Green was the sprawling village of Denmead and it was Christmas day.
Nick Waterfield was at his parents’ house for the big day and it was heaving with all of his happy semi intoxicated relatives, his Mum and Dad, his kid brother, two older sisters, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins and Nick was glad they were all happy even if he wasn’t.
He just wished they would take their festive happiness elsewhere as he had no need of it even if he was the main reason the entire Waterfield clan had assembled in Denmead that day.
It was his well-meaning mother’s idea to invite everyone and his dog in order to make Christmas, noisy, happy and jolly to keep Nick distracted.
His mother, Jeanette, was the matriarch of the clan and was something of a force of nature so when she “invited” you, it was generally accepted to be an order, she meant well of course.
He thought Christmas Dinner was tolerable enough, the jollity was blissfully muted when they had their mouths full of his mums excellent cooking but then as soon as the last spoonful of Christmas Pud had been consumed it all ramped up again.
Jeanette Waterfield organized the girls in the kitchen and his Dad got everyone else clearing away in preparation for an afternoon of fun and frivolity.
Nick took that as his cue and retreated to the hall and got his coat on, the last thing he needed was fun.
“Where are you going Nick?” his mum asked
“I just need to walk my dinner off” he replied patting his stomach.
She nodded her understanding and knew it was nothing to do with needing a constitutional.
“Do you want some company?” she asked
“No mum I’ll be fine, I won’t be long”
“You’ll need your hat and scarf” she insisted and draped a scarf around his neck and pulled his woolen hat on his head, then she put a hand on each cheek and kissed him like she did when he was just a boy and he smiled a weak smile in response.
“You’ll need gloves as well” she said “its bitter cold out there”
Her voice cracked as she said it and she walked quickly back into the kitchen to energize the labour force.
He wished for her sake that he could hide his sadness, it had almost been as difficult a year for her as it had for him.
“I'll be fine mum,” he said to himself “I just need time”
He braced himself as he opened the front door and then walked outside and saw it was still snowing.
Nick reached the end of the path and turned back to look at the Waterfield house where he had spent such a happy childhood.
And it really was happy, his parents made sure of that and he and his siblings had everything they could need, he heartily wished he could have just a spoonful of the happiness he felt in his youth to ease the pain that he felt at that moment.