Please Mr Postman…
Good surprises seem harder to come by as you get older. The ultimate surprise as a child is Christmas presents. I remember realising that I had fallen asleep again on Christmas Eve while trying to catch Santa in the act. I’d rush out of bed at 6am Christmas day and survey the hoard below the tree. It was pretty impressive but it had to be split four ways between siblings. Then I’d patiently tuck into my Christmas-stocking full of sweets. A can of condensed milk, a huge teeth-shattering rainbow candy rock lollipop, and a token orange so Santa could say he was encouraging a balanced diet.
By this point, I’d leap into sibling’s bedrooms and rouse them so I could open my presents. I was a ripper when it came to wrapping paper and there was no salvaging it. Santa was pretty good to us, although I was putty in his hands after the candy alone. The suspense of tradition made the surprise sweeter when we finally ripped the presents open on Christmas day.
More than once, however my sister decided it would be amusing to open my presents before me. She carefully unwrapped my present, ensuring the cello tape didn’t rip and observed my bounty before me. Then she dutifully re-wrapped so I would never know. Just as I started to tear at the edges of the wrapping, she’d announce that Grandma got me a yellow skirt and, just like that, the surprise evaporated.
As a grown-up, those surprises are few and far between. On the odd occasion though I will go to the letterbox and find a parcel from home. It’s a lovely surprise to find something that is not a bill. I take my much-coveted treasure inside and start to open the parcel. Right there next to the name of the sender is a customs declaration. The post man is telling me exactly what is inside the parcel and how much it cost. Bloody hell, it’s my childhood all over again.