100 Words #359

100 Word Challenge writing promptA couple of days ago, a Facebook friend posted about how much she struggles to like Christmas. I always find it a bit shocking that people don't like Christmas, and at the risk of sounding like a Hallmark Channel movie quip, I think they've lost touch with the spirit of Christmas.

Probably a case of too much commercial radio and television, too many shopping malls, and not enough hot chocolate and Christmas stories.

My favorite this year has been A Child's Christmas In Wales by Dylan Thomas. I added the 1952 audio recording to my Christmas wish list. It is a wondrous and mischievous short piece of prose work, based on Thomas' own childhood memories of Christmas. Every sentence (and some of them run on) is stuffed with antics and descriptions that transport you instantly back to a childhood you never actually lived.

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared.

Cats 1, cruel boys 0.

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."

And then there is this explosion of Christmas...more lists than sentences, of all the things a child found incomprehensibly wondrous (even if some was also hideous)...

"Bags of moist and many-colored jelly babies and a folded flag and a false nose and a tram-conductor's cap and a machine that punched tickets and rang a bell; never a catapult; once, by mistake that no one could explain, a little hatchet; and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow; and a painting book in which I could make the grass, the trees, the sea and the animals any colour I pleased, and still the dazzling sky-blue sheep are grazing in the red field under the rainbow-billed and pea-green birds. Hardboileds, toffee, fudge and allsorts, crunches, cracknels, humbugs, glaciers, marzipan, and butterwelsh for the Welsh. And troops of bright tin soldiers who, if they could not fight, could always run. And Snakes-and-Families and Happy Ladders. And Easy Hobbi-Games for Little Engineers, complete with instructions. Oh, easy for Leonardo! And a whistle to make the dogs bark to wake up the old man next door to make him beat on the wall with his stick to shake our picture off the wall. And a packet of cigarettes: you put one in your mouth and you stood at the corner of the street and you waited for hours, in vain, for an old lady to scold you for smoking a cigarette, and then with a smirk you ate it. And then it was breakfast under the balloons."

You can read the full version here, and see the Etsy treasury inspired by the poem here (I've got to get my hands on the Lebkuchen Perfume Honey).

I looked for definitions and recipes of the food items, and found Cracknels and Glaciers and Butterwelsh, though I'm not sure the glaciers I found are the same as what would have been made in Wales. I fancied that I would try to recreate some of the recipes over Christmas, but I may do nothing more than simply enjoy my family.

**Woah, where did Monday go? Oh yeah, it was in the negative degrees - so cold that I was getting frostbite walking from the house to the car, WITH GLOVES ON. So I got into bed early yesterday, pulled the covers over my head, and pretended the day didn't exist.

That's what happened to Monday.

So Velveteers, gather yourselves up. This is the last 100 word challenge and post between now and the New Year! Your word is:

Catapult

See you on January 6th, with some surprises. ;)