Christmas in a mining town

On a warm summer afternoon, in a central Queensland mining town, Christmas was in the air. You could taste the anticipation. The annual Town Christmas Party was about to begin.

With our summer party clothes on the boys were ready and I was excited.  Okay probably not as excited as Ruben but who doesn’t love a party? Max he wasn’t too sure what was going on, but if it involved food he was in.

We arrived to the salute of orange SES jumpsuits expertly directing our cars into neat rows of order, lining us up for a quick getaway.  When we got out of the car, Ruben didn’t know where to go first, the rides, the pooky do’s Christmas show, the train, the slushies OMG so many choices for one little four year old. What was a boy to do?

The Pooky Do’s won over but not for long, Santa was arriving in a classic car and a rumble of motorcycles.  Santa sat on his throne and parents snapped pictures as Christmas lists were exchanged for bags of lollies.

There was no time to waste there were rides to be ridden.

We went from the mini train, to rotating rocking horses, and then the dodgem cars.  It was here a little of my Christmas joy subsided. Ruben didn’t meet the ‘drivers past this line mark’ so I was designated driver.   It was just lucky I was under the limit on my one raspberry softdrink slushy.  I’m not going to lie I was worried we’d never get out of the corner but we did and I’m not sure who was grinning more me or Ruben.

Not satisfied with the dizzying prowess of his mother’s driving Ruben wanted to try more things and so to the climbing, jumping multi-purpose castle we went.  The afternoon was a hands down, spit and shake, unqualified success and why wouldn’t it be.

Rides and magic shows, Christmas carols and laughter, lollies and slushies, softdrinks and sausage sizzles this is what a mining town Christmas parties are all about.  The uncomplicated joy of kids having a great time and parents basking in the bliss of happy children. Okay and maybe a meltdown or two but mostly uncomplicated joy!

I swallowed down a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.  This is what a mining town Christmas is all about.  The community coming together, and seeing your friends and children happy and relaxed after a big year of working and playing hard.  Not to mention a little touch of melancholy, thinking that families and friends will come and go and one day our kids will be too big to enjoy the anticipation of a Town Christmas Party.

As the afternoon faded away and a cool breeze and kaleidoscope of colour started to fill the sky, tired, dirty, happy, sugared up kids made their way home, already dreaming of the next mining town Christmas party.