That Christmas Day, 1942
Merry Christmas PNG, with love from Emma

I can't come home for Christmas


Mama, I can't come home for Christmas. I love you and miss you still. I want to say Merry Christmas in person but can't.

But I know where you will be each day.  We had done this together so many times - three days before Christmas service.

That was some church service - five kilometers harrowing walk each way on my small hurting feet. I don't miss that anymore.

I miss you and the gardens and all the plants. I know where you grow your specials. Even the pumpkin runners had their own special place in that red nutrient-less soil.

I know that the hauspik outside the garden will be clean. The small piglet that would be our Christmas kaikai will be doing its last run around its mother.

It will probably uproot the rest of the banana plant I planted so long ago.

I can see Pop cleaning the small mumu place inside the garden fence. He’ll get the fire going to heat the stones.

I think it’s at this time, when the dew is are drying on the leaves, that you would look up the slope beyond the garden expecting me.

First I always visited my small garden plot. You would have seen my head bobbing around there before you heard me.

You know that I always travelled ahead of the girls. You know I did not like their silly giggles and girly prattles. 

Today I wish I had stayed with them because I miss them. I know you will too as they have gone in marriage to other places.

You and I remain. You because you married Pop. Me because it’s my inheritance.

But right now, I wish I were home with you, helping make that half mumu, learning your tricks of the half mumu.

I have tried to explain my yearnings for a Christmas with no tinsel, just a day feasting on the succulent veal of that special you do with the bush kumus.

And that yellow leafy thing - what do you call it - the one you grow at the head of the garden with the agepa and the different pitpit that go into the mumu.

Even the kaukau tasted like veal. That was your Christmas meal for us.

I always wanted to ask you how you could do that - make kaukau taste like meat.

But I have missed you, Kirisimasi after Kirisimasi.

Now I buy a Big Rooster pack for Christmas meal and can only dream and drool over what I lost when I decided to move away from the hauslain.

The expensive dish at the restaurant does not taste like your handiwork.

It does not have that taste that remains in the upper palate long after the last of the succulent piece of piglet is gone

Yes Ma, another day again when I have to wish you merry Kirisimasi  and long for that Kirimasi meal because you went to that place of forever Kirimasi a long, long time ago.

Merry Kirisimasi, Mama.


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