Saturday, December 12, 2009

Faith Fish and Cash

Father Christmas was at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast last week.  We were also there. Between shoe purchase number one (super model gold biodegradeable thongs) and shoe purchase number two (beige wicker wedgies), I shoved Joseph in the general direction of the monumental gold un-biodegradeable fir tree.  A photo would have been nice, but I needed more money to spend on shoes and Joe was wisely hanging back. 
"What would you like me to bring you this year?" asked the man in red.
"You bought me a clock last year." said the little man in black.
"What would you like this year?"
"A fishing rod."
"Would you like a chocolate?"
"Here you are."
"Where's my fishing rod?"
The man in red had a photo opportunity with another little boy.  Joseph was dragged away in the direction of Mollini.
A fishing rod is a good thing.  Give a boy a fish, and he has dinner.  Teach a boy to fish and he's off getting dinner while mummy makes art.  Problem is, I don't know how to fish.  We're going to the coast for the week before Christmas, and Uncle Ben, the Guru-de-Fish will be there.  But if we waited until Christmas Day for Father Christmas to deliver, there'd be no fishing lessons. The order had been placed with Pacific Fair Santa and Mitta Mitta Playgroup Santa was due to arrive, on the fire truck, the day after our return from galivanting, so the delivery could be made in time.  
Then I found out that there is a $20.0 limit on Santa sack presents delivered to Mitta Mitta.  I rang the Guru-de-Fish.  He advised that Big W stocked a rod for under $20.00.  I bought the rod.  Then my mother-in-the-know phoned from up the valley and told me that she'd been getting the limit wrong for three years.  It was, in fact, $10.00.  I did the 40 kilometre round trip to the nearest hardware shop and bought the tacker a tackle box with reel and line and a few garish hooks and lures. It cost $35.00 but it didn't look as expensive as a rod.  I wrapped the lot and then stuck on the note you see in the photo that accompanies this post.
On Big Wednesday, we had a special wholemeal pancake breakfast (shaky mix thing marked down to 70c at Tallangatta IGA), dressed in Christmas Party best, and did the trip up the valley. We pulled into a prime parking spot, and as I turned of the ignition Joseph communicated that he was carsick.  Wordlessly.  I finished cleaning up the communication just in time to see the lads drawing lines in the sand pit.  Them and their game on one side, Joseph on the other. Can't wait until the kid goes to school and I don't have to stand and watch these moments.  I was also forced to stand and watch Joe strangle the ring leader with his own hoodie. 
The fire truck arrived, the kids mobbed the man, and I  hoped hope hoped that Mitta Mitta Santa would read the note and explain the lack of rod to my number one son.  As it turned out, Joseph accepted the box without batting an eyelid.  He even posed for a lap shot.  The whole palaver has got me thinking about the mechanisms of faith.  The minute you start establishing it, you have to start lying.  Then paying.  As the other play group mothers mutated into a pack of paparazzi,  I stood there feeling like a bit of a priest.
We got home eventually and, after taking the cubby apart, located the bright blue fishing rod cunningly hidden on the middle of the bed.
"Ah. My rod!" said Joseph.  "Now I can catch fish like Johnny Cash."
Yes, my grasshopper, yes.