Panic over, now for Christmas

By Roger Moroney

Well, as all we of rational mind and realistic philosophies figured, yesterday came and went and there was no great cataclysm - although my leaving a small battalion of six green and frosted bottled troops in the car overnight was a bit of a disaster as temperatures dealt to them.

The only other disaster of note which some may have encountered would be that of realising that, while time may have run out for the misguided Mayans 1000 years ago, it is also about to run out for themselves in terms of sorting out who's getting what on Christmas Day.

In three days, it is upon us.

Kind of like the heat of the past week.

"This is what it used to be like in the old days," a bloke I know remarked as we chatted in the street last Thursday - as the sun blazed down and the heat shimmered off the steel furnaces better known as car roofs.

Later in the day, I heard what sounded like Nordic accents as a group of young people, oddly pale and clearly feeling the heat, wandered by.

They had turned their backpacks on a white Christmas and headed to the South Pacific.

They were admiring the sparkling decorations throughout the main street and would have smiled at the one shop window done up as if frosted by snow.

The Christmas thing has certainly been in the air, and well within eyesight, as we discovered the other evening while driving home along Kennedy Rd.

A couple of houses had more flickering little lights than there are deep in the caves of Waitomo.

Of course, it could be easy to start becoming a little suspect of the commercialism of it all but one thing which sparked my Christmas spirit this year was seeing how the Bay community got in behind the annual Christmas Cheer Appeal.

It's been running for nearly 30 years now, and there was some trepidation that the response would not be so spirited this year, given that times were pretty tough and money is tight.

But the community responded just brilliantly. Businesses and individuals. Children, teenagers, adults ... every day people were popping in and dropping things off at the collection points.

With grants and cash collections, about $25,000 was raised, and the value of the many hundreds of gift items which were gathered probably added another $10,000 to that.

It was heartening ... and it dissolved any cynicism I may have harboured at the end of a tough day. There's a lot of very good people out there in the community.

Hawke's Bay, good on you. You have helped create a Christmas for many who would otherwise have missed out.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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