Thursday, December 25, 2008

Not A Gecko Was Stirring

"But Dad, how will Santa find us when we're in India?".

A look of grave concern was etched on Miles' face, as he pondered the sudden possibility that Santa may not be able to locate Isaac and him this year. This is a critical problem for a seven year old, and grave concern was in danger of morphing into full-blown panic. Fortunately, the ever-resourceful Laurel anticipated just such a logistical dilemma, and packed up a solution to the problem before we left in November.

Reindeer food.

More correctly, flakes of oatmeal mixed with gold glitter. Everybody knows that reindeer love oatmeal, and the gold glitter makes it easy to spot from 30,000 feet, which everyone knows is the acknowledged reindeer cruising altitude. Actually, this is a tradition of ours that we've been doing for the last 5 years or so. Every Christmas Eve, the whole clan goes out on the deck and sprinkles just enough of this magical mixture to ensure that the reindeer are motivated enough to land. So Laurel mixed up a very potent batch, put it in a zip-loc baggie, and stashed it in one of our gear cases.

Now we all know about the draconian drug laws in Singapore. Importing even a joint into the country is enough to incur death by hanging. Seriously. They're just kind of fussy about that kind of thing for some reason. So needless to say, when the X-Ray machine exposed a baggie full of suspicious material when my gear case was scanned at customs, I got hauled over to the "special table" for closer inspection. They asked me to open the case, so I complied. The baggie was sitting right on top of the wireless mic packs. An ounce of North Pole Gold. "What's this?", the agent asked, his tone tone still friendly at this point. Not skipping a beat, I replied "Reindeer food", and smiled my best smile. A puzzled look fell over his face. "Yes, for the kids at Christmas", I continued. "You know... to attract the sleigh with the reindeer and presents and stuff". He looked at me like I had been partaking of Rudolph's stash, and picked up the baggie. Fondling it in his hand, his long experience told him that he was probably not going to make sergeant by prosecuting this one, and the conversation switched gears into camera talk. Whew...

So last night, after a good dinner of fresh squid with chili (3 dollars a kilo at the market!) and rice biryani, we went out into the lane in front of our house, and dutifully sprinkled reindeer food. Miles was still concerned that this might not be enough, so he composed a note for Santa, indicating that there was a beer and some pineapple on the table for him, and that the stockings were hung on the window. It must have worked, because this morning we had two boys very excited about the fact that it worked! Santa had found them! They both got a Nintendo DS game system and a couple of games, some cool books on Indian mythology, and many cards with cash inside from aunts and uncles. I may be borrowing money from them before we're done here.

We must be hard wired for the mulled wine, fir tree, woodsmoke, nippy weather thing. No matter how many times Bing Crosby warbles from the iPod, Laurel and I just aren't feeling the Christmas vibe. Fortunately, our kids are...


Mark Groen said...

It sure looks a lot like Christmas here on Bowen Island - snow everywhere, and deep, a couple feet of the stuff.

House sitting at the end of Windjammer road where it isn't Xmas but all quiet and the power is on, for now...

Rob Bailey said...

Merry Christmas Mark! And to all our friends on Bowen Island.

Tapas and Dim Sum said...

Thank you for the Christmas morning laugh - currently laying in bed with lattes waiting for our kids to wake up for brunch.

Glad to hear the boys still have their Christmas traditions...way to go Laurel!

We'll be toasting all of you shortly with our traditional Mimosas. If you should suddenly feel a strange kind of moistness come across your lips - Jesee's saying hello.

P.S. Glad to hear Ricardo is doing well ;)