A Very Gaby Christmas
“As in Rome.” Dave allowed.
“Well that's settled then,” Jen confirmed, “I hope your Gran enjoys it.”
“She'll be glad not to be cooking luv.” Dave mentioned.
“Right then you two, Drew, you can be in charge of food and Jules, you're in charge of decoration and festivities.”
The two teens looked at each other, Drew shrugged, “ok.”
That was a fortnight ago, when they'd had a family meeting and decided to ‘go native' for Christmas, now it was starting to get a bit intense. Mum and Dad have taken Gran out for a bit of a drive round, to ‘get out of the way' as Mum put it.
“When will it be ready?” Jules enquired.
“Mum said they'd be back about four to get ready for the church thingamy so I've timed everything for eating at seven.”
“It's five to four now.”
“Bum – I need to change!”
“Unless you fancy going out looking like one of Gordon Ramsey's* rejects.”
“That outfit suits you.”
“Yeah well I maybe went a bit over the top.” She admitted.
I sorta had to agree. When Mum put her in charge of ‘decorations' she took that as everything not food including what we wear! But it came back and bit her with this, she insisted we wore ‘Heimat' costume; apparently her friends said it was ‘traditional'. The fact that it looked good on her was a bonus but I'm glad I'm a boy! At least my outfit is fairly straightforward, breeches, shirt and jacket; Jules has the full skirt thing with loads of petticoats. Still she has made a big effort and she's even done her hair into those pastry type things.
I heard the Olds arrive as I was getting in the shower so it was no surprise when I got back downstairs to find them ready and waiting. Mum and Dad, well Mum really, embraced the whole dressing up thing so they were both dressed up too. I have to say that Mum really looks good in a Dirndl! And Dad, well he looks so erm, German.
“Whatdya think kiddo?”
“Er great Dad.”
“You all look lovely.” Gran announced, “Let me take some pictures.”
“I hope you are doing something with your hair Drew.” Mum noted.
“I have.” I waggled my ponytail with my hand.
“Well it looks scruffy.” Mum insisted.
“Leave him alone Jen, come here Drew, I'll sort it out.”
I sat at the table and Gran started in on my mop.
“Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace”
You might have gathered by now that the Bond family are not exactly religious. Weddings and funerals really and in fact the same could be said for most of my German friends. However tonight at the big town church its like the whole town have turned out – and despite my worst fears, we are not the only ones dressed up!
“Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born”
In fact it's almost like a festival – well I guess it is really!
“Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth "
“Oh hiya Connie.”
“I didn't think you'd be coming – and dressed up too.”
“Jules insisted that if she was wearing the frock and stuff I had to wear this.”
“Here they are Pastor, girls the Pastor has a favour to ask.” Frau Thesing announced.
“Good evening Connie, Drew, I know its short notice but I wondered if you could help out at the old people home tomorrow, we are having a party and I thought the Weinkönigin and her escorts might cheer them up.“
They say these things come to haunt you.
“I'll have to check with my parents.” I stifled a sigh. I mean here I am in full bloke mode and the Pastor still thinks I'm a girl! Well I suppose the French plait that Gran did doesn't shout boy but really!
“Come on Gab, let's go ask!”
Why was Con so enthusiastic?
I was half dragged to where the local goddess was holding court.
“Oh there you are Drew, hi Connie, what are you two up to?”
“Guten abend Frau Bond, the Pastor wants the Weinkönigin to help out with the old folks tomorrow, thats alright isn't it?“
“I don't see why not.“
Mu-um! My pleading look fell on blind eyes.
My fate was sealed.
“So Drew, what are we having to eat?“ Gran enquired as we made our way along Pfarrgarten a few minutes later.
“Yeah come on super chef, what're we eating?“ Mum demanded.
“Its a sort of traditional meal, Steffi helped me find the stuff, its what they have.“
“Well its called Weihnachtsgans mit Kastanien und Backpflaumen, which is goose with chestnuts and prunes.”
“Prunes?” Jules pulled a face.
“Steff says its really nice.” I was on the defensive.
“I'm sure it is kiddo.” Mum placated.
“Christmas pud?” Dad enquired.
“Tomorrow luv, Drew's gone German tonight, so's there any cake?”
“Geez Mum, you're like a food bin!” Jools moaned.
“Well I need the carbs.” Mum informed us poking her tongue out at Jules.
“There's Stollen and Glühwein for later.”
“Sounds lovely Drew, don't mind them.” Gran cuddled me.
“I'm stuffed!” Dad announced collapsing into his chair.
“Well you won't want any cake then will you?” Mum teased.
“Hurry up, I want to open my prezzies.” My sister moaned as she readjusted her skirts around her.
Its long been a family thing that I get to distribute the presents and even if we are doing it on Christmas night rather than Christmas Day I still claim that honour! I sat down under the tree and started dishing parcels.
“Mum, Mum, Jules, Me, Mum………..Drew, Drew, Dad, Me and me!”
“Someone's popular.” Gran grinned.
I think she meant me, Jules had quite a pile but mine was nearly twice the size! I guess I'm more popular than I thought, the last day at Silverberg Gymnasium had netted me a right pile of packages and cards and then there was the parcel from Warsop and a smaller one from America. Not that Jules was doing badly but she'd only got cards from Anna and Charlie although I'm sure I saw some cash inside both of them!
On the other hand Jules had more from the ‘rents, that's cool seeing as they spent a fair bit on my bike stuff and I've got that trip to the Manchester Six** coming up in February too.
“So who's gonna start?”
Things were going well, Dad had given me some new cars for my collection – I've got about fifty now, and Gran's present was a cool pocket organiser – little slots to put coins and stuff in, pocket fluff collector, bit of string holder – just kidding, its one of those Blackberry things. Then it happened – I guess it was inevitable really.
“This ones from – erm Charlotte, she's in my class at school.” I shredded the paper to reveal – a hat and glove set. “Shitza!”
“Cute” Jules mentioned.
Well cute it might have been, it was white with a pink pattern and most definitely for a girl. Things could only get worse really – by the time I was done I had three pairs of earrings, a bottle of perfume, some makeup, a bra and panty set – that was from Pia, some hair thingies, two pairs of fashion tights and a voucher for Pimkie! At least the guys in Warsop were more sensible, Mad sent me a cool Anime figurine, there was a book from Ally and some smellies, guy smellies from Bernie. There wasn't anything from Rhod, I mean Mfanwy but I did get a card.
Oh and then there was the one from Britney – I'm not sure if she was on a wind up as she sent me a nice cycling top, I guess she got it at Erin's, nice that is, for a girl! I mean it's not the colour so much but can you really see me riding around with ‘Chicks on Bikes' emblazoned across my chest?
It was not far off midnight by the time we had finished unwrapping, eating Stollen and drinking Glühwein and I for one was a little tipsy.
“Come on sleepy, the Pastor is picking you up in an hour.”
“No alcohol for you today!”
“Do I have to?”
“Yes you do.” Mum instructed. “You can wear Jules' Dirndl and your Gran's earrings. You landed yourself as wine princess so you can live with it.”
“Downstairs, ten minutes!”
“Yes Mum.” I sighed.
So okay I thought it was quite funny that they elected me Weinkönigin back in September but it never occured to me that i'd be stuck in the role! I mean, how could the whole town possibly think i'm a girl? Mum was no help, she just thought it was funny and Dad didn't help keep calling me his number two Töchter! Thanks guys.
“Happy Christmas Drew or is it Gaby?“
“Whichever.“ I sighed, “apparently Gaby is my nickname,"I glared at Jules,“although most people use Drew.“
“We call her Gaby to avoid confusion.“ Jules informed Gran.
“Do i recognise those earrings?“
“They're the ones you gave me last year.“
“They look lovely. Do you want me to do your hair?“
I ended up with a blonde version of Jules' Danish pastry hairstyle and felt like a right dogs dinner with all the underskirts and stuff that i'd sniggered about last night.
“Lets have a picture Gab's?” Dad enthused.
“Well its rare to see you so clean and tidy.”
What's that supposed to mean?
“Here, you'd best put this on Sis.” Jules handed me my ‘crown', well tiara really, its all like grapes and stuff.
“They're here” Mum announced from the kitchen, you can borrow my new jacket.” Which just happens to be pink.
“I see you've gone to extremes again Gab's.” Connie mentioned as I climbed into the Pastors Veedub bus.
“You look very nice this morning Drew.” The Pastor called over his shoulder, “we'll just collect Analise*** then we'll get off.”
I guess it wasn't as bad as all that, we were only at the old folks home for three hours. And its still a bit weird that everyone takes this Weinkönigin so seriously, I got applauded when the matron woman introduced us and our presence, three 'girls' in daft costumes, actually did seem to bring a smile to some of their faces. The only bad bit was the randy old sod who pinched my bum everytime I walked past him – God knows how with all the clothes i was wearing today.
Of course there was more David Bailey stuff and the Weinkönigin couldn't get away without at least one glass of wine! And I suppose I have to thank Frau Thesing's persistence for my comfort in the get up – after all, if she'd let me quit I wouldn't've had three weeks practice in wearing this stuff!
* UK Celebrity Chef not known for his patience or tact.
** Six day velodrome racing event
*** The other member of the Wine Queens' ( Weinkönigin ) court.
Maddy Bell 25.12.07 © 2007
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