On a hot Australian summer’s day boisterous, loveable Aunt Mavis rocked up in her green EJ Holden car full of Christmas spirit. She burst through the doors, barely able to stand from the weight of all her packages. Presents for everyone, home baked biscuits, a Christmas cake in there somewhere, calling, “Merry Christmas my darlings!”
Barney, her full grown great dane bounded in after her. Gasps of horror escaped from tight lipped mouths as he took a flying leap onto the new, white sofa and made himself at home.
Aunt Mavis grabbed everyone to her enormous bosom, (some feared suffocation) and kissed one and all vigorously with her spikey, top lip. She pinched the baby’s cheeks, accidentally called her great niece her great nephew and exclaimed how lovely it was to be with them all again.
Shandy in hand, she plonked down on the sofa next to Barney and regaled stories of Christmases past. The same stories were retold every year, but Aunt Mavis was loved by all so was listened to with rapture, (even if it was pretend). Apart from old Uncle Horace who was asleep on the floor. The beers being too much for him the night before.
“What’s that smell?” someone cried in disgust.
“Bloody hell Mavis, that’s a bit rich!” Old Uncle Horace complained as he crawled from the room. Everyone followed closely behind moaning and groaning from the foul smell wafting all around them.
“You could cut it with a knife,” he gagged.
“It’s not me, you old bugger,” Aunt Mavis called. “It’s just Barney. He’s having a little tummy trouble. Poor mite can’t help it.”
“Don’t follow me!” Old Uncle Horace shouted as Barney crawled along beside him. “I’m old! Something like that could push me over the edge and I still have beers left for New Years!”
“Grumpy old fool,” Aunt Mavis smiled fondly. “Well now where all up and about let’s start lunch, shall we?”
“Where’s the ham,” someone asked rummaging through the overstocked fridge. “Aunt Mavis, did you remember the ham this year?”
“Yes of course I did dear,” Aunt Mavis said walking rather woozily into the kitchen. Well who wouldn’t after four shandies and a glass of champagne? “Now let me think,” she said sitting heavily down on a kitchen chair. “Ah yes, I remember,” and she shuffled off down the stairs to her car.
“I left it in the boot, silly me,” she laughed and plonked the rather dubious looking ham on the table. “Shall I carve?”
Everyone looked at the honey glazed ham which had been left in the boot of Aunt Mavis’s car for at least four hours.
“What’s the temperature outside?” someone whispered.
“It hit 42°C an hour ago,” someone whispered back.
They watched in silence as Aunt Mavis cut a slice, popped it into her mouth and chewed thoughtfully.
“Simply delicious,” she beamed. “Even if I do say so myself. Would anyone like a piece?”
“Um no, thank you. Not that hungry at the moment,” came the muttered replies. “Can’t wait to try it later though,” they lied.
With the table almost groaning under the weight of the turkey, prawns, even a cray fish or ten Aunt Mavis set down a silver platter, piled high with the dodgy ham and distributed great chunks of it to the waiting diners.
“Shall we let Barney back in?” old Uncle Horace suggested suddenly.
“Yes indeed. Great idea,” they all cried.
“He must sit next to me!”
“No I love Horace the most!” They weren’t stupid, they were onto Old Uncle Horace’s cunning plan.
Old Uncle Horace was way too smart for them though. He held a big, fat, juicy turkey leg under the table and whistled quietly. Barney dropped to the floor and made a grab for the turkey leg but just as he did, Old Uncle Horace swapped the turkey for a piece of ham. This didn’t faze Barney in the slightest and he gobbled it up greedily.
He felt something touch his head, another piece of ham and another and another. For some reason every single person, except Aunt Mavis was throwing honey glazed ham his way. He belched, he farted but strangely no one seemed to care.
Aunt Mavis was delighted. Her ham was a hit, all that was left was the bone, and even though the smell from Horace was becoming unbearable, even to her, no one seemed to mind. A Christmas Miracle to be sure.