When I started this blog, it was with the intention of mixing it up a little. Although it is about my experiences with breast cancer I don’t want it to be all about that.
On that note I’d like to tell you a story or two about my childhood. Obviously I can’t tell all in one blog, so I’ll be spreading the tales out in the weeks and months to come. Some of them will be hilarious, some not so much I’m afraid. I spent my happiest days down by the seaside where we went for our long summer vacations every December. We always went with my aunt and uncle who were like a second mother and father to my sister and I. They both had a cracking sense of humor and were very sociable and popular people. They were very well known in the small seaside village where we used to spend 5 glorious, sunny weeks each year. As a result, the small and should I say ‘rustic’ cottage which served as our humble abode was often over crowded with visitors constantly coming and going. It pretty much felt like Park station most of the time. I thrived on the hive of activity to be honest.
I’m not by any means advocating stealing in any shape or form and very importantly neither did any of my family members, but we had a family tradition in the form of acquiring a Christmas tree. For as long as I can remember we always had a real, not artificial tree that would stand in the living room and as long as the adults had anything to do with it that wasn’t going to change any time soon. So, a few weeks before Christmas we would launch a plan of epic proportions to go to one of the nearby farms and kind of like umm…take a tree. A concrete plan would be put in place and everybody had a specific duty and role to play in all of it. Even the next door neighbor…a young lad by the name of Andy was in on the action. A day and time would be chosen. The time was more important than the day, simply because of the fact that the operation was always carried out in the late afternoon, when everybody was at home having a lazy siesta or when, more importantly, the police were hopefully least expecting it. To add to the fever pitch excitement and apprehension, we were told as children that if we were caught stealing this tree, that we would be thrown in jail and spend Christmas behind bars. This was of course total nonsense, but we were too young at one stage to realize that. The adults just told us this to keep us on our toes as well as to add to the excitement of it all.
On one particular year and very uncharacteristically, my uncle made an excuse to get out of accompanying us to get the tree. I can’t remember the excuse he made but we weren’t fazed. We carried on as usual and one afternoon with a whole bunch of towels, we all leapt enthusiastically onto the back of the 4×4, and with my aunt driving and my mum and another friend in the front cab, we set off. Sitting on the back for all to see, we tried to look as casual as possible . Ironically enough, we had a heap of brightly colored beach towels to throw over the tree once it had made it onto the back of the 4×4 to disguise it. Like that wasn’t going to look conspicuous enough! Never mind, we had an extra set of hands to help us that year and after we had found the ideal spot to pull over onto the side of the road two people leapt out, ran across the road and jumped over the fence with an axe. The 4×4 then drove on so as not to attract unwanted attention, to return 10 minutes later. The two able bodied adults responsible for getting their hands on a decent specimen had to be ready to pass it over the fence to yet two more people (which on a few occasions was me) so that it could be thrown as quickly as possible onto the 4×4 to make a break for it. This particular year was no exception and we were all back in the 4×4 and on our way home, proud of ourselves that we’d pulled it off once again. We were in high spirits with the adrenalin racing through our veins. At one point we had to stop at an intersection to turn right onto the main road back into the village. We were waiting for a car to pass before we could move again when suddenly, we all saw movement out of the corner of our eyes. We looked on in horror as a policemen stepped out from behind the bushes and came striding purposefully across the road towards us. Never had our adrenalin levels plummeted so fast.