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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Editorial December 16th 2022

Welcome to this week’s editorial, There is a buzz in the air as we approach the last week before Christmas. A trip to Moruya greets you with so much traffic and a need to consider parking somewhere other than the shop you want to visit. The streets are filling with pedestrians; enough to have you remember to keep to the left as they do in the city. Along with the pedestrians is the increased traffic, expected to peak around 8000 vehicles per day, trundling through the main street. The good news is that the shoppers will be greeted by the annual street decorations and timber Santa cut-outs that are put up every year by our local groups while the shop fronts are all festooned by members of the local Chamber, out to win the Best Dressed Window award. Further south we see the decorations of the Tuross Head Progress Association at the Tuross Head turnoff and the installation of decorated Christmas whales in Narooma, sponsored by local businesses. Though I am not one for Nativity scenes and Santa I do enjoy the relationship that the decorations have with summer. Every year the decorations go up and very soon after the masses arrive. And for a month at best our shops are trading at capacity, our cafes are full and for the only time in the year every house in the shire has its lights on and the sounds of families having fun reverberates up and down usually quiet streets. Summer is a time of beaches, seafood, icecreams, thongs and laughter. Some say this year will be less fun and less laughter because of the cost of living impacts. That may be so, but for the many who come to the coast each year there is the free enjoyment of the freedom of the beach, the walks along shorelines, the casting of a fishing line with the children at sunset, a good book taken down from the shelves of your summer accommodation or from a community book nook, and a snooze in the afternoon with the soft seabreeze through an open window, little has changed in decades—carefree summers with the value add-ons, if a TV is available, of the Boxing Day Test and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. I enjoyed a recent segment on Adam Liaw’s cooking program where Maggie Beer recalled her family being so poor one Christmas that the only gift the children received was a bottle of Coke each, left under the Christmas tree. This had me remembering the Christmas presents that we had as a family in the 1950s to the 1970s during a “poor period”. My father wore socks to work. White socks, long socks. His toenails were like razors so his socks always had toe holes but the uppers were always decent. So every year I would by him socks. And every year he would thank me. There were no surprises but it was fun to go to the trade store with the money I made cashing in my father’s empty beer bottles, to then buy socks, wrap them, and proudly present them. In return I would always receive clothing. Most often grey shorts and white shirts that, funnily enough, doubled as my school uniform. “Oh, thanks Dad and Mum, just what I needed”. As for my mother she hated the Sunlight Bar Soap that my father and I had in the shower so her Christmas and Birthday presents were quite often upmarket Cashmere Bouquet soap bought at BPs or Steamships stores, where the rich folk shopped. The thing I remember most about Christmas was not the gifts but the mangos. So many mangos, free via all the trees that grew nearby. I still continue the tradition of a mangos in summer with the annual treat of a mango on Christmas Day. I fear that Christmas has become a huge cost burden to many families and a time of dread, especially in the current difficulties. But it need not be with so much simple pleasure available, for no cost at all. Maybe it is time to revisit what Christmas was and return it to a simpler time that bought families together to share a small gift and a meal, be it a slice of Spam on white bread with tomato sauce or a grand turkey with all the trimmings. As for my wish of a Christmas present. Whilst I inherited my father’s razor sharp toe-nails I fortunately don’t wear or need socks. Neither do I need a school uniform. That leaves the other option—my Christmas mango. Perfect. Enjoy the week ahead and enjoy the mayhem whilst it lasts. Until next—Lei


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