The Holly and the Ivy

I cook in the kitchen. 30 minutes to prepare a hot meal for the table. This 30 minutes corresponds to the children’s 30 minutes electronics time, if and only if, they have completed their homework and chores.

On the days when this goal is unobtainable, corresponds to the days that I open a can of soup in the face of chaos and much misery all round. A certain degree of misery also reigns during the successful playing session but only for me. I find it hard to concentrate with surround sound musak from three different sources. All the tunes are heart stomping brain crashing pump action repetitive roils, enough to boil the blood.

This particular evening, my sons entertain themselves with their new game, ‘De Blob,’ a birthday present. This harmless addition has the added bonus of a wide choice of accompanying music, most of which is mild and inoffensive. As I stir béchamel my elder, jet lacked daughter appears in the kitchen, touseled and famished, “ooo that’s smells nice. What are we having today…….tonight, for dinner?”
“Lasagne.”
“Great! I’m starving……..it’s very quiet around here?”
“Electronics time.”
“Cool! It’s great that they did all their homework and chores.”
“Yes indeedy!”
“That musak…….it’s different……that’s nothing like as irritating……..that’s not bad at all.” She peeks around the wall to check…… “now that I like guys!” she beams at people who are otherwise engaged. “That’s not even half as irritating as the other stuff.”
“Not even half. Not even half. Not even half,” echoes her youngest brother. She slips back beside me, “what a relief, I can actually think for a change. So I was thinking…….”
“Hmm?”
“I printed off some copies of the Christmas Carols.”
“Great!”
“I thought we could all sing them together tonight before bed time.”
“Super.”
“Shall we practice now, together, warm up the rusty vocals?”
“Er……I’m not sure…….they hate it when I sing……they find it really annoying……and humming…..and whistling come to think of it.”
“They’ll never notice they’re glued to the screen with their own surround sound.”
“O.k. then.”
I whip up a storm in the saucepan whilst my daughter conducts. Together we chorus our way through the Holly and the Ivy. As I pull out strips of Lasagne my mind fills with the poignant significance of each reference that tells the tale of the “religious” season, as well as the nifty conversion from “paganism.”

We harmonize the last note and beam at each other as couple of decades have passed since we last enjoyed this treat. My son pops into the kitchen, a cuckcoo striking the hour, “dat is real EAR I TATIN……..get it?”

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