This post was updated on .
"In ten years time," I promised my oldest friend, "you will laugh at this memory." He certainly wasn't laughing on that 'Christmas Eve' evening of 1990, when this event occurred. His wife Sue had angrily gone to bed early, on the verge of tears, for my lifelong friend had lost his temper badly. Yet the night had started off so well.
The family Bushell had arrived at our Welsh home to share the Christmas holiday with us. They had enjoyed the two hundred mile journey and were delighted with the performance of their new car. My wife Jenny declared she would look after the children while she prepared the evening meal, which meant that we, Chris, Sue and I, were happily banished to 'The Fishers Arms' pub. Two hours later, we had returned with the healthy glow of several drinks brightening our happy faces. Laughter rang throughout the house as the Carols played and we told our tales to the excited children. Jenny noticed that the Bushells car was still in the road and she suggested it be put safely in our drive, that was mistake No 1. Sue decided to drive it the few yards required, Chris said he'd guide her in, which he did, while the rest of us remained in the kitchen. It was from there that I heard the first shout, I think it was, "stop." I then heard a somewhat louder, "Stop," followed by, "For f**ks sake, STOP!"
I ran out the back door and saw the new car jammed against the gatepost, "Go Back", Chris shouted and, as Sue tried, it became more jammed. Chris's healthy glow had become puce, and puffing with anger, he roared abuse, Sue began laughing, Chris continued shouting, and a visible dent appeared on the door of the new car. Chaos ruled as Sue tried to straighten the car and the dent got worse, Chris, now incandescent with rage, screamed even more abuse. I tried hard not to laugh, but I failed. Sue was now half laughing and half crying as the kids looked on in amazement. Dogs barked, cats wailed, birds screeched, and then Sue drove in and the car was parked. A eerie silence fell, as we all gazed at the brand new cars, brand new door, and the very large, brand new dent At that moment Jenny appeared to announce Dinner was served.............................
We ate in almost total silence, it was not the happiest Christmas Eve meal I have had. I tried to lighten the mood with a new poem, It began, "There were tears galore for the new car door, but no one cried for the gate!" That was a big mistake for Sue went straight to bed, followed shortly by Jenny. Chris said my inappropriate poem had upset Sue, I suggested it was more likely that the cause was his inappropriate bad language, but it was Christmas so we agreed to disagree. To cut a long story short, we decided an early night was called for and soon, long before midnight, we were all fast asleep.
Christmas that year was special, Everyone awoke in a festive mood, Chris was his usual good company. Jenny and Sue had fun, the children laughed and enjoyed their presents, I teased everyone and organised various games and no one mentioned the dent in the wretched cars door. The strange thing is I was wrong when I told Chris that one day he would laugh at the memory of that Christmas Eve. Ten years on he swears he can't recall a thing, selective memory? perhaps? But I'm sorry old pal, it happened just like I've written here, and I've got at least six witnesses. One of them is your wife!