As always, socks from Mammy, hand-knitted, stitched up from all the coloured scraps of yarn left over from larger projects, guaranteeing me a pair of warm woollies more colourful than either Joseph’s or Dolly Parton’s coats, of biblical and musical fame respectively.
Other than that?
I have given my Christmas wishes minutes of serious thought reflecting all the way back to my bay-boy childhood and my first ventures into schooling and the craft of scribbling.
As did some of you, I started school in one of Joey’s brand new Confederation schoolhouses, one of those that promised education more splendid than anything the Baby Bonus - dollars dug like salvation from the bottoms of Joey’s own pockets, eh, b’ys? - could buy.
Joey’s schools were state of the art learning establishments even before anyone used phrases like “state of the art.” Our school on Random Rock sported a shiny radio the size of a baloney box. Students in Grade 11 could listen to Billy the Bard’s two buck-oes—Macbeth and Macduff—hack and chop each other with their broad swords “over the air.”
On the opposite side of the classroom the Primer class—in which sat Dearest’s Duck fated, future honey—etched lines of O’s on wooden-framed slates.
That’s partly a lie.
Mostly for amusement, some of us did toy with the boxful of slates salvaged from the Old School, the school Joey had relegated to history.
Nevertheless, as a diller-dollar scholar, at times I scribbled on slate with an especially designed slate pencil, or if no such archaic tool was at hand, I used a sliver of rock chipped from the quarry across the road.
“Harry, my hyperbolizing Honey,” says Dearest Duck. “You never used a slate. Besides, I thought you were itemizing your Christmas list.”
“My Duck,” says I. “Far be it from me to exaggerate. Truly, even though I had a scribbler with a picture of young Queen Liz on the furl, I did scratch on them ol’ slates from the box. As for my Christmas list, I haven’t forgotten it.”
Without assistance from any external source—not even herbal tea—this idea flashed on in my noggin: You’ve seen those computer stylus pens, or whatever they’re called, that certain stores now require you to use to sign-off on your Visa card purchases; the ones that make your handwriting appear shaky, suggesting you suffer from palsy.
The pencils plied by slater-boys [!] in the days when this humble scribbler was a novice were not unlike the styluses of the Computer Age—stiff writing implements that tap-tap-tapped on a hard surface and produced script as cramped and crippled as calligraphy scrawled with a stick.
This thinking has led me to recognizing that the top thing, the number one gimme-gimme-gimme item on my Christmas list is a direct descendant of the slate as a communications medium—kinda.
Of course, I realize that Christmas is not all about stockpiling gifts. I realize Christmas is a time for sacred reflection, for family, for peace and goodwill.
Accordingly, I do wish for peace throughout the universe and for goodwill among all sentient Beings regardless of their galaxy.
But despite my steadfast sense of benevolence, I also crave an expensive toy.
It is time I state clearly what I want for Christmas.
Not only must I state it clearly, but also I must state it at a volume that can be heard by Santa Claus’ aged ears just in case he’s in the kitchen with Dearest Duck, or—more to the point—in case he isn’t in the kitchen and it’s necessary for Dearest Duck, the sunshine that brings my spring thaw, to hear clearly my Christmas wish.
Here goes, on bust: All I want for Christmas is an iPad!
There now, it’s said.
Don’t you fancy an iPad is shaped almost exactly like a slate?
I’m not a youngster, not entirely. I know that Santa can’t always obtain—Afford?—the top thing on one’s list.
Therefore, it’s important to have a lesser wish.
But I really, really, really want an iPad.
Baring that, I’d like to have a teapot.
Thank you for reading.