again from the Big Blue!
surreal moment for you: standing in a little grocery store, in shorts and a
tank top, sweating, watching everyone else sweating, feeling the heat draining
every last ounce of energy from your bones…and listening to Xmas carols.
“Frosty the Snowman…blah, blah, blah…” Nope, here he’s known as “Melty the
there’s a good reason the whole Xmas spectacle never really took hold in the
tropics. Kids here don’t have stockings to hang by the fireplace – or a
fireplace, for that matter – and flip flops do a lousy job at holding in gifts.
Can you imagine the poor Cook Islands kid on Xmas morning, running out to see
what Santa left in his flip flop, then standing there in tears? Nothing again.
Maybe next year, kiddo.
mention the lack of turkey here. Turkey is not a popular meat in this part of
the world. My question, “Don’t people eat turkey sandwiches here?” might as
well have been, “Don’t people mix toothpaste in their coffee here?” by the
bewildered stares it garnered. I was lamenting the lack of turkey one
afternoon, over lunch, when Tauono gave me the wink that the Heineken store
actually does have turkeys but they’re kept in some kind of hidden vault. Can
you imagine my excitement? No, you can’t, you turkey-rich, civilized people.
Mississippi bloodhound hot on the trail, I made my way to the freezer of the
Heineken store. No turkeys. I’d have to ask – I hope I didn’t need to use a
secret code or something. “Oh yeah, there’s turkey in there,” the woman said. I
looked again. All I found was…no…it can’t be…a pressed turkey roast??
Sigh. Turkey in a box, that’s as good as it gets here. So, Xmas dinner will be
turkey from a box, (Hey, it’s 76% turkey, according to the label; I’m trying
not to think about what the other 24% is.), gravy from an envelope, and
stuffing from a package. Just like mom used to make!
dessert will be freshly picked, sun-ripened pineapple. So put that in your Xmas
pipe and smoke it!
not expect carolers at our door, though the drums from the Island Night next
door should fire up around nine o’clock. This happy holly-day is business as
usual on Aitutaki.
only one tradition will be observed: the annual screening of “It’s a Wonderful
Life!” I’ll make sure all the guests are tucked in their beds when I watch this
cinematic treasure; I wouldn’t want them to see me blubbering like a baby when
that guy says, “To my brother, the richest man in town!” Man, I’m getting
choked up just thinking about it. What a sap, I am.
hope you all have a fabulous holiday, whatever it means to you. Throw a few
snowballs and eat too much real turkey for those of us sweating over our
pressed turkey roasts. Hugs to all our loved ones.
What is the other 24%???!
next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!