Christmas mean a lot of things to different people.However,what is more interesting is the fact that all conventional wisdom seem to be agreed that it is a time of celebrating the birth of Christ.Across many different settings we celebrate the birth of Christ in various ways.To some, it’s a time of sharing the little we have with friends and relatives, meeting new friends ,having fun with the family,travelling,giving and sharing with the underprivileged in our societies.
I peep through the window and i am seeing the wonderful showers of the December rains drizzling,these are the rains that makes nature smile and make flowers blossom.OH! This is really beautiful,at least fauna and flora is also in harmony on this important day when we are in our best moods celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.It has always been a tradition that it rains on every Christmas, many still believe that this is a spiritual touch from the Lord.Allegorically,my mother always repeat that rains have an important cleansing effect in our societies.As the rains wash away every dirty on the ground they also wash away the bad habits in us she argues.I for certain know that at the end of these rains the sun will obviously shine on the window panes of our bedroom,and the rainbow will be certain to follow.
However to a young boy like Gift, Christmas comes with mixed feelings.It is 7 am and we are in the rural areas.Our day has already started since we have numerous domestic chores to finish before the celebrations of the day kicks off.There is no Father Christmas nor the Christmas tree as in some other setting elsewhere.However,all the same i and Knowledge (my twin brother) we are in our best moments. My father has just woke up after his long trip from Harare. We are all expectant and looking ahead to hear dad give his directions to us, to go and open the car and pick parcels and groceries. For we know that, this man always buy us new clothes,shoes,biscuits,chocolates and all the nice cookies that our hearts yearn and desire for. If Charles Dickens was still around he would have succinctly described our feelings before his novel Great Expectations….
Before we even go to the car, an elderly neighbour,an 82-year-old woman announces her arrival.She is greeted by the barking dogs.I and Knowledge we feel so dispirited.I wonder to myself why one visits so early in the morning,before we had even washed our faces….I am amazed seeing my father happily embracing the old lady.For we know we have to withstand many more hours of waiting to see the presents that dad has brought us.We know that mother will have to wait until the lady announces her departure before opening the parcels,that is if ever the old woman chooses to do so.The African saying that says,”If you are in Africa,and if you don’t have time,don’t ask what an old man or woman how s/he is doing”, best explains how the old woman is connecting with father.It is for the very reason that you will be bombarded with issues of bad weather,poor harvests,impending droughts,who died,who was born etc.This is the greatest mistake that my father always commit when he meet the elderly people in the community i tend to wonder.The old grandmother goes on at length to explain all her troubles as if she was reciting an already rehearsed poem.I and my twin brother seem not to like this at all.All the same we have no option as my dad seems so involved and interested in the dialogue.
As if not enough mother summons us to the kitchen.At last we think she has some nice cookies to offer us.On the Christmas day mom knew that we would never consent to eating our so-called usual food.”Gift take the Knife and….”.Before she even finishes the line,i already visualise what this mean.Our elder brother is not at home,father has left him behind in the city.In many Christmas days he was the one who used to slaughter the goat for the family.Now that he is not around,i and my twin brother we are the only men supposed to perform this task.Given the fact that we had never killed any animal in our lives we feel so cornered.We grew up being taught that we should not kill,but i wonder why do people slaughter chickens and goats at Christmas and other public holidays.In this world were we live,some even kill elephants whilst some we even fear to kill an ant. Before we even make our minds,we hear mom repeating her command.We certainly knew that if we failed to do so father would be cross on us and he would also not give us some presents.He was always keen on mentoring us into performing some tasks/jobs labelled as being essential in the syllabus of the graduation into a real family man.Nobody is there to slaughter the goat for us.With trembling hands we lead to the goat’s kraal.Are we able to manage???
And then it was time for breakfast,bread with jam,butter and margarine.We will also not forget the visit to the shops,meeting some kids with heavily oiled legs,dancing to the music,new clothes.How we all enjoyed these episodes,i wonder! Seeing the drunkards threatening each other to blows,that was all we had for our Christmas.The sun is now heralding towards sunset,we are heading back home after an eventful afternoon at the Shops.We have just arrived at the river,and the river is full (flooded).Our happiness is extinguished.Oh! Poor us..I suggest that we try to cross the river before darkness fall.I also suggest that i should throw my shoes across the river before i attempt to cross the river,in the process one of my shoes fall in the raging water….Oh! my shoe,gone,gone,gone for good.We cap our Christmas on that note.Today the memories are still fresh in our minds,we will never forget those days,for the memories are deeply imprinted in our minds….