Back in the family home in Cheddar for Christmas celebrations. We had an early Christmas dinner for my brother today, as he will not be here on Jesus' actual birthday (he was definitely born on the 25th December and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Check the New Testament. It's all there - towards the back).
As I relaxed and watched my aged mother slogging her guts out preparing our enormous feast (it would have been disrepectful and rude of me to offer any assistance, and anyway, it is important for the elderly to remain active or they will just give up. So I was helping her in a way that cynics like you could never comprehend), I was suddenly reminded of the day I almost killed her. In the very kitchen that we were both standing in right then(well I was sitting, but she was rushing around, which on average makes us both standing).
It was around about twenty years ago. I was a petulant teenager with a terrible temper (which I've lost) who assumed that my parents were only here to wait on me hand and foot (all that has clearly changed in the last two decades as well).
We were having lunch around the kitchen table with my grandad (now sadly departed) and grandma (still chugging along, god bless her). I have no memory of what it was that upset me - perhaps my peas were a centrigrade or two below the temperature I liked them to be - but something so inflamed my ire that I stood up and stormed out of the room. To emphasise my enragement at the unfairness of the world and how nobody had as miserable an existence of me, I querulously went to slam the kitchen door. That would nicely add emphasis to how hellish my life was in the ghettos of South Central Cheddar.
Unfortunately, either I chose to slam the door in the wrong direction, or I slammed it so hard that it bounced back off the frame, and the force of my push caused it to come loose from its hinges with a ghastly wrench and begin to teeter towards my mother.
A solid piece of wood plummeting directly on to her soft Bobby Robson-like head. I turned and saw it descending towards her, already aware that my sullen gesture had had unintended and possibly tragic consequences. The door was coming at her from behind and she had her chair tucked under the table. There was no escape.
In my heart I was already no longer the big angry man, but a stupid and selfish little boy who was on the point of committing matricide.
Luckily, my plucky little grandad, sensing the danger to his only child, leapt up and caught the plummeting door before it could do any damage.
Which was a relief to us all, but also gave me the excuse to carry on behaving like an idiot and pretend that I didn't care about the near-braining of my parent. I was still in the right about the pea temperature... or whatever my grudge had been.
I don't really remember what the consequences were. I had after all caused a perfectly good door to be wrenched from its hinges. Doubtless I was chastened, but by a group of people who loved me, and who took my teenage hormonal imbalance into account. I clearly hadn't intended to murder or harm my mother and I suppose even then the near consequences were their own punishment. Hopefully it taught me a bit of a lesson, though it would be some time before I got that temper under control.
Today, though, I couldn't help imagining how different my life would have been if my grandad hadn't been there to prevent tragedy. Even aside from the fact that my mother might have been killed or seriously injured, what would have been the psychological repercussions for a young man, having to live his life knowing he was responisible?
Worse still, who would be making my dinner today?
All in all it's probably a good thing that my mum got away unscathed.