Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Fridge box surprises

When I was growing up one of my favourite stories that Mum used to tell us was of her father, our grandfather, Dick.

Dick was originally from Holland, back when it was called Holland. He migrated to Aussie when he was young, by boat. Met and fell in love with my Mum's Mum, Pauline.

Lovely story.

Anyway that's not the story. The story is that he didn't go back to his home town, Delft, for a really long time. 30 something years maybe? My memory is a bit shot. But anyway he hadn't seen his sisters in all that time.

So he decided to go over. And not tell them. It was one of his sister's milestone birthdays.

So when he got there he had a bit of help from someone else in the family (if I recall correctly) and hid in a fridge box. You see, she'd been told she was getting a new fridge for her birthday.

Anyway when she was opening her "new fridge birthday present" she said something funny, "I wonder if there's a man in here".

There was.

Only she thought it was a fridge. I'm sure you follow me on that bit, sorry.

So you can imagine her surprise when she opened it and in fact there was a man inside. A man she hadn't seen for a super long time.

There was a separate occasion that Dick did something similar to his family again over in Holland. He couldn't repeat the fridge gag, so he pretended to be a drunk plumber on Christmas Eve one year. It almost backfired. He had to keep up the pretence for ages until someone realised it was him.


So I love those stories. Lucky for me I have one of my very own.

When I was 19 I moved to Townsville, in North Queensland - from Melbourne. My Mum was pretty devo when I moved. We joke about the time I moved out of home, I really moved out, 3000km's down the road.

So the year I turned 21 I had a combined birthday party with a couple of other people who turned 21 that year too, my ex and his mate J. Back then I was a povvo student and I only really got down to Melbourne once a year (at most), and I missed my family soooooo much. I hated that saying goodbye to them was always tearful. I longed for a more normal goodbye. (At the same time grateful for teary goodbyes if you get my drift.)

So anyway the birthday peeps were called together in front of all the guests and 3 large boxes were wheeled out. Not fridge sized. Just big square boxes. For a large computer maybe. I watched the boys open theirs. Lots of styrofoam and scrunched up paper and right inside at the bottom was a lollipop. Or something. All the while I was trying to get mine open.

I heard a kind of weird noise coming from inside mine.

"I think there's a kid in here or something!" I said. Everyone laughed.

No one knew what was in there (only like 2 people who helped out), but when I finalllly got it open there was a blanket over a moving thing.

The moving thing was making moooooing noises. You know, the cow kind?


Laughing, I snatched the blanket away and said "HIIIIII!" as the human figure jumped out of the box.

I was SO not expecting my Mum to be inside.

The look on her face was great. I don't know how I looked but there were definitely tears involved. I'd not seen her for almost 12 months (okay it's not 30 something years but she's me' Mum) and I almost forgot how beautiful she was. (It's funny how you almost forget what a person's face looks like and how a person smells when you haven't seen them for a while.)

It might not have been 30 something years since I'd seen her but, boy, was it a fabulous surprise.

When I eventually moved back to Melbourne. One of the nicest things was the end of the first time I saw my parents. I was saying goodbye to Mum and we just stood there grinning at each other. "We don't have to cry!" I think one of us said. We hugged and laughed and giggled and it was great.

You see, I didn't come to live back in Melbourne for almost a decade. A year or two would've been fine. But a decade of once a year visits really blowed.

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