Once there was a little boy whose uncle lived far from home. No, wait, that's not really where the story starts...
|With grateful thanks to Ruth for the photo here. When I said she took better photos of my home town than I did, she was kind enough to send me a selection|
Once there was an man, who wasn't yet an uncle. He was a brother who had gone to study in England. His two sisters missed him a lot, but they kept in touch by writing (this wasn't yesterday. No email); and, every so often, they begged a couple of days off from their very first jobs and they went to visit. That way, they could sleep on the floor in a room in Halls and pretend to be students again and have the treat of going to Formal Dining and an end-of-term revue.
Every Christmas they worked out between them who would get up early to go to the airport to bring him home for Christmas; and they counted the days. There was only one year, back then, when he didn't make it back. It's a long way from Taipei. But, to make up for it, he came home early in the New Year, in time for his nephew's birthday. Because by then he had a nephew and the little boy who knew to call him uncle was a big fan. One of his favourite toys was a photo album about the uncle who lived far away, and one of his favourite outings was a trip to the airport to bring Uncle Dave home. When he was big enough he made a banner "Welcome Home", to hold up so that Uncle Dave could see him; and then, suddenly one year, he was old enough to lift a suitcase and say I'll carry that, in his new teenage voice. And, as he grew, Uncle Dave kept on flying home for Christmas.
Of course, the boy kept on growing until, at last, he was big enough to leave home and follow his dream of studying Law. He wanted to be a student and live in Halls and enjoy end-of-term parties too. He went to Scotland and - well, you know what that means: for the first time this year we have two men flying home for the holidays. You can guess how it goes, though. Counting the days, piling into the car, thinking about a banner.. The student (and his new student beard! and his stories!) got here on Thursday, to be welcomed by a sister of his own, and his uncle arrives tomorrow. We are all looking forward to it.
The other sister? Well, she has a little boy of her own now - and you know who that is: Uncle Dave has another small fan waiting not so patiently for his arrival. Hold tight, Little E! The big boys are coming home and we'll all see you very soon. We're hoping for a Merry Christmas.