every christmas, on the 22nd or 23rd, my dad and i would go on tour. we would fill the car with flower arrangements, boxes of chocolate and gifts i had carefully wrapped. i would wear a christmas hat and dad would worry it was too cold. after checking the batteries in the flash light (one of the ladies lived up a very steep hill and i had to walk the last bit since dad’s car was too big to turn around up there..) we were off. when i was little we had many places to go to, up to 10-15 actually and it was really the same procedure as every yeear. at a few places i only ran in with the gift and got something in return whilst dad turned the car around, at the lady up the hill i stayed a bit longer (dad taking a smoke down by the car) and always returned with candy for him (usually kiss kiss or something else from fazer’s old selection) and at one place (usually this was the last stop) we got invited in for coffee and returned home with big boxes of ice-cream (the wife worked at an ice-cream factory.)
as the years passed, so did a few of all these people, but a tradition is a tradition, we kept going to the ones who were still around. last year dad couldn’t make it anymore so i went alone to a few places, and when i got back dad asked with sparkles in his eyes “did i get anything?” – of course i had a fazer candy in my pocket.. the rest of the lot called upon us instead, i actually had to go cry in another room when the most brusque and dirty worker of them all came in and stated that after 25 years he’s honoured to finally return the favour.
the lady on the hill passed only a few days later. after the funeral her daughter thanked me for the tasty bread i had baked, her mother had actually called her in london just to tell her that i despite everything going on at gerby had had the time to bake and come for a visit. apparently my visit had made the lady’s day and hearing this made mine.
because of her, i baked bread for hours yesterday. once i get my car out of the pile of ice i will head for the countryside – this year all of them will receive a home-made christmas bread. a tradition is a tradition, and i think dad will be there on tour with me.
and yes, i am still wearing that silly old christmas hat.