Watching the annual migration of geese wing their way South this past week reminded me of many a Christmas past when people would partake of a fat goose as part of their Holiday celebrations.
These days the lowly turkey that earthbound bird of limited intelligence, has taken the place of the soaring migratory avarian on holiday tables far and wide.
And before you try and defend the turkey as some great American tradition, remember this: they will oft stand around with heads uplifted during a rainstorm and drown. Kind of like someone texting and walking across the street. Not smart. Not smart at all.
Now, while goose is now a runner-up in the race to the Christmas dinner table, it wasn’t always that way especially back when many folks lived on farms. Once cold winter weather set in, it also ushered in that layer of tasty fat that makes the goose taste so good. Hence about Christmastime the old goose is ready for the chopping block to be paired with pudding and cranberries.
Like Scrooge, I can recall a few Christmas past but with a twist that included a goose of a different sort.
Ol’ Dutch came from a staunch teetotaling family and so did not have the usual fights, inappropriate behaviors, sick guests or rosy cheeks found often in family gatherings involving alcohol.
But I can recall a few Christmas parties at other people’s houses that were lubricated with John Barleycorn and hilarity if not improprieties.
One such affair led to quite the commotion as Uncle Otis, a jolly old hermit from up valley, attended and proceeded to try and empty the punch bowl, the cooler and the cheap corn blend in the flask he always carried in his hip pocket.
As most of you know, some people just cannot hold their liquor and Otis was no exception to that rule but I guess the copious quantities may have been a factor in his actions.
First his language became more and more coarse and as the little kids giggled at his remarks and mothers cringed he seemed to reveille in the attention he was getting.
And rightfully so as he had been locked up in a small house alone for most of the year so this was his 15 minutes of fame to be enjoyed to the fullest.
Stuffed with Christmas bird of some kind and then topped off with corn squeezins, he soon gained the self confidence that had eluded him his entire life and kept him from finding a suitable mate.
And with this new found confidence, Uncle Otis found the Christmas “goose” (you know the kind that usually involves a pinch to the derriére) and began to give of it liberally to the women of the party along with a whiskery kiss on the cheek.
This led to what is commonly known as a “rhubarb” when Otis pinched the wrong woman and he was summarily escorted to the back patio away from the tender souls inside the house.
To his credit however he did provide years of gossip for later gatherings due to his goosing the lower cheeks and kissing the upper cheeks which accounts for something at least.
So if Christmas finds you seeking a goose of your own, make sure it’s the kind you want and from the person you want. And, don’t let Uncle Otis near the punch bowl.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.