Once upon a time, several decades ago, a young woman was living with her husband in the small town of Alotau in Papua New Guinea. She was six months pregnant and for some reason thought it would be a good idea to celebrate their first New Year’s Eve together with friends.
At the time, the town only had eighteen hour power with the hours between midnight and 6am requiring alternative strategies. Waking up early to get started on the party preparations seemed like a good idea so she headed to the lounge room where she lit the rather lovely antique glass and brass lamp she’d given her husband for his 21st. She struck the match and started to turn to the kitchen. Kaboom!
The lamp had blown up and kerosene, green glass and flames spread across the lounge room floor….the ignition had travelled to the bottom of the wick and set off this mini-explosion. The young husband came rushing from the bedroom, startled by the noise, and perhaps a shriek. The flames were all he could see – no sight of his wife. She in turn was in the kitchen with her nylon nightie stripped off – it had partially caught fire and melted in the flames. She’d had a lucky escape being half-turned away when the fire took hold -no other injuries.
The young couple walked down the street to the bloke who served as a hospital assistant, and were reassured that all was well with their baby. In the small town the reactions to the explosion differed: “someone’s shot his wife”, “someone will call to tell me if I’m needed” and “why are they walking down the street at this hour in dressing gowns”. The party was cancelled after all the drama.
All’s well that ends well, but memories are long and another New Year’s Eve has never been planned by the couple.
I’d like to wish all my readers a very happy New Year with many wonderful things ahead in 2020.