Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring with the possible exception of Sabina, her 4 kids and a box of baubles.
Unsetup as I was for any form of festive celebration, suddenly and without warning, Sabina and the kids arrived with a small but perfectly shaped Christmas tree and a box of tinsel and balls. Beneath the tree she placed a mat of fake grass and a nativity scene. Then the guerrillas of festive cheer were gone. One of the kids, unseen and Santa-Ninja-like, decorated my bed with tinsel.
I was still smiling at the sudden onset of Christmas when, perhaps an hour later, my phone door ring thingy rang. Each apartment has a buzzer down at the main door and I can talk to potential visitors with a phone and, powerful man that I am, I can even decide to allow them access to the building with a button. The person outside on this chilly Alpine Christmas Eve was was woman, heavily accented, with a voice quite unknown to me.
"I am looking for someone in this building who speaks English," the heavily accented Christmas Eve woman said.
"I speak English," I said.
"I am looking for someone to take a bag."
"I'll be right down."
And I was, too. Good to my word, in no time at all I was down the stairs and opening the building's main door. There was nobody there. I ventured out and looked up and down the road, across to the pub and beyond to the camp site. The air was cold and misty and completely undisturbed by people. By the door was a white plastic bag.
It was tied in a knot so I untied it and peeked inside.
The bag contained something large, and a card addressed to "Tyson's Owner."
Back in the apartment the something large turned out to be a very fancy box of biscuits with a candy cane stick and a bow decorating the lid. Inside were, unsurprisingly, fancy biscuits, but also a pot of home-made jam with a label written in English. "Home made blueberry jam, from Pokljuka Forests."
The card said Merry Christmas and contained a note from "...a neighbour who's silly, enjoying much really, while tries to be nice."
I don't know who sent the biscuits, the jam from the forests of Pokljuka, the beguiling note. A month or so ago I had a similar package. It sat outside my apartment door, inside the building and beyond the defences of the buzzer-controlled main door, and was from "a neighbour." The English was perfect, and I mean perfect, and the package was a Slovenian-style apple pie. The card was addressed to Tyson's Owner and it referred only to how sad it was that Tyson had died. I was touched by the thought.
I don't know who the neighbour is, but if they read this blog, then thank you.
My love and thoughts go out to my brother and his family. You are doing an incredible job.
Moving with my dog to Slovenia.