Biff Sock Pow

Finding the humor in everyday life.

How To Have An Existential Crisis For Fun and Profit (and Maybe a Few Yucks)

panicking

I decided to take a break from my make-it-up-as-I-go-along Christmas-themed blog novel (blogvel?) and write an actual blog post.

I have to be honest with you.  I have not posted in a while because there just hasn’t been much to write about.  How many blog posts can I wring out of my boring job?  How many blog posts can I get out of a very mundane, pedestrian life?  When I first fancied myself as a writer at around the age of 15, I just assumed that every moment of my life would be fascinating to readers if I could just somehow get my writing in front of them.

That was way before the Internet.  The only way you could get your writing in front of readers was to write a very grumpy, complain-y letter to the editor of the local newspaper, and even then there was only about a 0.01% chance it would get published.   I knew writers who would take out those free ads in the “Weekly Shopper” or “Green Sheets” just so they could experience the thrill of something they wrote appearing in print.  (No names … I promised them I would never admit that to anyone.)

Anyway, that was a long, roundabout way of saying that my belief as a 15 year old that my every written word would be fascinating to the reading public has undergone something of a change as I’ve gotten older and especially since I starting writing this here blog o’ mine.  I realized not everything I write is fascinating or amusing.  That came as something of a blow to my writer’s ego.    Worse still, I realized one day that the stuff I write doesn’t even hold MY interest!  That was an even worse blow, not only to my writer’s ego, but to my ego as a human being.  I now live in fear of having a near fatal accident, because I don’t think I’ll be able sit through my own life flashing before my eyes.  I might very well yawn and nod off in the middle of it.

So, I’ve slowed down on the ol’ blog and have been trying to regroup and rethink what I’m doing here.

I love writing humorous things and making people smile or laugh or even just feel good.  But humor writing is a strange thing.  If I were a stand-up comedian, the laughter of the crowd is instantaneous feedback.  It makes you want to write even more funny stuff so you can hear that laughter and applause.  It becomes a drug and you write and perform more and more material trying to get more and more laughter.

But writing humor is completely different.   You write it … you toss it out there into the ether … and there is no (or very little) feedback.  So you question … was it funny?  Did anybody smile?  Did anyone laugh?  Did anyone even read it?

You don’t know the answer to those questions … so the doubt sets in.  The doubt turns to self doubt.  The self-doubt turns to a kind of depression.  And that leads to a lack of energy and thus a lack of output.  The lack of output becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of “I guess I just wasn’t that funny after all.”

I think that is why my posting goes in waves.  When I am prolific it is because my confidence is high and thus my energy levels are high.  When the confidence wanes (because of the aforementioned lack of feedback), so too do the energy levels wane.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not asking for sympathy comments or likes.  I’m just trying to give you a glimpse into a humor-writer’s brain.  The humorist is almost always a self-doubting person who is insecure about their writing abilities … or their abilities to connect with others in a humorous way.  It is no secret that comedy is almost always a defense mechanism.  There is almost always a sort of nervous awkwardness behind every piece of comedy or humor.

Anyway … enough about that.  My next post will be humorous.  I promise!  Or your money back.

 

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The Alistair and Alexis Christmas Special, Episode 4

vintage Christmas - Outdoor Tree #2

Previous Episode

Alexis stormed into the kitchen as if she were about to establish a beachhead and deploy troops.  The rapid-fire clickety clack of her heels on the tile floor sounded just like a marble in a roulette wheel about to make some wagerer very unhappy.  I glanced up from the sandwich I was making to see my beautiful little iris approaching from a nor’ by nor’easterly direction and felt the barometer dropping.  If I were an old sea captain, I would have taken my briar pipe from my weathered lips and said something along the lines of, “There’s a storm a-comin’,” and then went back to tying my knots.  But I was not tying knots, I was sculpting a masterpiece from pastrami, swiss cheese, rye bread, and assorted condiments.  Decorating the yard with James, Ivan, Crusher, and Boss under the keen and demanding eye of my diminutive little taskmaster had worked up a powerful appetite.  I offered to feed Crusher & Co., but they said they had to get to work.  I paid them for their efforts, though they tried valiantly to refuse it, but I was finally able to get them to accept a few shekels.

Alexis heaved to alongside the kitchen island where I was composing my sandwich and stood there, arms crossed, one foot tapping, looking at me as if she expected me to say something.  I smiled what I hoped was a disarming smile, but behind the smile was a fear-frozen schoolboy wondering why the teacher was gazing at him sternly and expectantly.  I felt I needed to say something, so I did the best I could.

“Can I get you anything, Dearest?” I asked.  “Would you like me to make you a sandwich?”

“I’d like a new tree,” she said in response.

I considered her while I took a thoughtful bite and chewed, trying to buy myself a few moments to try and get a bead on just what the heck she was talking about.

When I finally spoke, I spoke thusly, “We always go out and pick out a tree with the children.  I can’t say how new it will be.  We could count its rings, I suppose.”

“No, not the Christmas tree for the front room.  The tall tree we put outside the front gate, by the lane.”

Ah, the light dawneth.  I was once again on her wavelength, though it was still a bit filled with static.  She was referring to the large faux tree that we put outside the front gate, by the lane every Christmas.  McShandy and his crew would be out on Monday with his crane truck to assemble it.  It required a well-trained crew and good worker’s comp insurance to put together since it stood at a breathtaking 45 feet tall, not including the star.

I struck a placating tone and said, “The one McShandy and company will be installing for us on Monday is quite new,” I said.  “We just purchased it 2 or 3 years ago.  It probably still has the price tag on it somewhere, though it might be obscured by flocking.  McShandy has a heavy hand when using his flocking gun.  He wields it like a flamethrower.  Do you remember that poor jogger last year who happened to be jogging by when McShandy –”

“I’d like you to call him and tell him to keep our current tree and to get us another one.”

“What’s wrong with the one we have?”

“It isn’t tall enough,” she said, reaching out to pinch off a piece of pastrami from my sandwich and pop it into her mouth.

“Tall enough for what?” I asked, astounded.  “The star on it is already so high in the air that we have had wise men stopping by to ask if we’ve seen any newborn babies in these parts.”

“It just isn’t tall enough, that’s all,” she said, reaching out to pinch off a bit of pastrami and swiss cheese, which she also popped into her mouth.   “Oh!  That’s really good,” she said.

“Thank you,” I said, pleased.  “It is an old family recipe.  Would you like me to make you one?”

“No, thank you,” she said, reaching out to pinch off a bit more of it.  “I’m not hungry.”

“It’s no trouble,” I said.  “Everything is still out.”

“No.  Honestly.  I’m not hungry.”  She picked up my sandwich and took a healthy bite of it.  She set it back down on the plate.

“Well, would you mind terribly if I made myself another one?” I asked.

She shook her head, still chewing.  “No.  No.  Go right ahead.  You should eat something.”

I began making another sandwich as I watched my first one disappearing before my very eyes in elf-sized bites.  It’s a good thing she wasn’t hungry.

“Anyway,” she said, “Call McShandy as soon as you’re done making yourself another sandwich and tell him we would like a 90-foot tree.

I nearly dropped the knife I was using to spread the imported mustard (Gruberhoffer’s Unglaublich Gelber Senf).

“Ninety feet?” I gasped.  “I don’t think we live in an area zoned for lighthouses.”

“Ninety feet isn’t so tall,” she said casually, taking another hearty bite of what used to be my sandwich.  “Lots of things are 90 feet tall.”

“True.  King Kong springs to mind.   Godzilla.  Bingham’s Department Store downtown.  The TV broadcast tower on the edge of town.”

“Oh, you’re exaggerating,” she said with a toss of her glossy, jet-black tresses.  “Do be a dear and call McShandy’s.”

“But, Dearest,” I said.  “Why on earth do we need a 90-foot tree outside?  It might attract errant lumberjacks.  Planes will be circling our house looking for a place to land.  Ships will run aground at our neighbor’s house while trying to avoid what they think are shoals on our property.”

She sniffed, tossing her hair again.  “Well, if ships do run aground at our neighbor’s house, it serves them right.  That’s what they get for only having a 65-foot tree.”

Suddenly, all became clear.  The scales fell from my eyes.  I realized that I had gotten pulled into an arms race against my will with our neighbors, the Hawthorne- Pinckney’s.   This would require all the diplomacy I could muster to dissuade my determined little Delphinium from escalating this into all out tree warfare.  Though the winds of war were blowing, hopefully the metal boughs would not break from the carbide steel trunk.

I thought for a few minutes as I ate the second sandwich I had made in the past ten minutes.  Finally, I said, “Okay.  I will call them and tell them to extend our tree to heights never before seen in these parts.  Perhaps instead of a star at the top, McShandy can outfit it with a split-level aerie that can serve as a home for lost eagles.

“Thank you, Sweetheart!” she said, smiling at me.  Her beautiful smile lit up the kitchen far more radiantly than the recessed lighting from Cavendish’s Lighting Emporium was able to do, even with fresh bulbs.  I nearly weakened in my resolve, for her smile has always had the power to melt my heart and make my knees feel like a meniscus failure is imminent.  But I must be strong.

“My pleasure,” I said.  And then, after pausing a moment, added, “It’s a shame, though.”

“What’s a shame?” she asked, finishing off the last of her sandwich and gazing at mine longingly.

“Oh, just that such a large tree is going to block the view of the house and all the beautiful yard decorations you spent so much time designing and laying out.  All those people who always drive down our lane every Christmas to see all the decorations will think that all we put up this year is metallic redwood tree.”

She pondered this in silence for a moment, biting her bottom lip.

“Yes,” she said at last.   “I suppose you’re right.  It kind of goes against the Christmas spirit to deprive people of a simple joy like looking at Christmas lights and decorations.”

“Yes, my pretty Poinsettia.  You are absolutely right as usual.”

“And your three new friends did such an excellent job of decorating the yard exactly the way I wanted it.”

“They did indeed execute your vision of a perfectly decorated yard quite well.”

She looked at me a moment, her eyes soft with seasonal goodwill.   Then she sighed, and said she must get back to her other Christmas preparations.  She picked up the remaining half of my second sandwich, turned, and walked out of the kitchen with a happy-go-lucky bob in her step.

Crisis averted.

 


Copyright ©2017 by Biff Sock Pow

The Alistair and Alexis Christmas Special, Episode 3

Vintage Christmas - Sleigh man & woman 3a

Link to Episode 2

“Welcome to Mount Yuletide, my beautiful little Holly Berry,” I said to Alexis as she emerged from the front door of our house.  I gestured proudly to the impressive buttes and knolls of boxed and binned Christmas ornamentation that we had just unloaded out of the truck.  This alpine range of holiday jubilance had been assembled under the house’s portico to protect it from the intermittent flakes of snow that were beginning to drift down lazily from the gray sky.

Alexis closed the door behind her and finished putting on her coat by tying the belt around her waist with a yank.  She surveyed the mountainous range of bins and boxes critically.  Knowing her ways as I do, I knew she was going through her mental bill of lading to see if I’d forgotten anything.

“Did you get it all?” she asked.

“I won’t know that for sure until you tell me,” I said, “But if we would have gotten anything more than we did, it would only have been by breaking into adjacent bays and making away with other people’s belongings.”

“That’s ludicrous,” she said.

“That’s larceny,” I corrected gently.

“Where is the sleigh?” she asked suddenly.

“Fear not, my Observant Orchid.  James and his three elves have taken the truck to go back and get it.  It wouldn’t fit after we’d loaded the truck with everything else.”

“Wasn’t the truck big enough?”

“There was no room in the end,” I said, shaking my head.  “In hindsight, perhaps we should have loaded the sleigh first, but we thought it would be better to wrangle the herd of reindeer in first.  You know what reindeer are like.  One must contend with recalcitrant antlers.  And of course, one must avoid stacking them in a way that would appear untoward to a casual observer.  Given all that, it turns out that reindeer take up a surprising amount of space.”

“Wait … did you just say ‘three elves’?” she said, rewinding the conversation to the point just before the riveting reindeer soliloquy.

“I did indeed.  Even if your faith in James and I were larger than a mustard seed, we could not have moved these mountains of Christmas trimmings, frills, and furbelows by ourselves.  Not before about mid-January anyway.  Fortunately, it just so happens that James knows a couple of chaps who are experts in moving things from Point A to Point B.”

“Are they movers?” she asked, looking dubious.

“Movers and shakers,” I said, “who happen to be in the moving and shaking business.  To wit, they are stevedores.  Or, as they are more commonly called, airport baggage handlers.”

Alexis gasped and cast a worried look at the peaks and crags, the crowns and crests, and summits and pinnacles of Mount St. Nicholas as if she feared she would see nothing but broken shards of glass ornaments, snowmen split into their constituent flakes, disheveled elves, and de-antlered reindeer.  However, there was no scree to be seen here at the bottom of the slopes of Mount Kringle.

“Baggage handlers?” she asked, aghast.  “Do you not remember what baggage handlers did to our matched set of fuchsia Bon Viveur luggage on our trip to Monaco?”

“As I recall, they loaded it on and off the plane, though I did not witness the feat in person.”

“They absolutely destroyed it.  It was completely ruined.  All of it.”

“Did they?” I asked, a little surprised.  “I’m afraid I don’t recall that, my Excitable Heliotrope.  I thought it arrived back home much like we did; a little travel weary, but otherwise intact.”

“They put those hideous ‘opened for inspection’ stickers on them that left that sticky residue on them.”

I gasped, horrified.  “Not sticky residue!”  I nearly ran around in a circle holding my head in my hands, but thought better of it.

“And they scratched the handle on my makeup case.”

“I suppose that is why we have never returned to Monaco,” I mused.  “One simply can’t deplane in Monaco with shoddy luggage, even if it is a matched set of fuchsia Bon Viveur luggage.”

“My point is,” she said, her voice indicating that she was growing weary of trying to get her point across to me, “Is that airport baggage handlers have a reputation for … well … mishandling baggage.”

“It’s a wonder they’re not called baggage mishandlers,” I said, stroking my chin thoughtfully.

“Did they horribly mishandle my precious ornaments?” she asked, running her hand maternally over one of the sealed bins (marked “Christmas Stuff”).  “Some of them,” she continued, “are heirlooms and have been in our families for ages.”

“No doubt some of them came over on the Mayflower,” I said.   “And heaven only knows how the baggage handlers on Plymouth Rock mishandled them.”

“You’re being silly,” she said, obviously not in the mood for merriment.  “Tell me, now horribly did they treat our Christmas decorations?  I can’t bring myself to open any of the bins too look.  I’m too afraid of what I will see!”  I feared for a moment she would drape herself over a stack of bins dramatically like a femme fatale in a silent movie while a placard popped up momentarily reading “sobbing inconsolably” to doleful organ music.  However, she refrained admirably and merely looked up at me pleadingly.  I thought for a moment that there was a glint of a tear in the corner of her eye, but it was no doubt a reflection of the portico light on the edge of her contact lens.

“Fear not, my Agitated Amaryllis,” I said in a soothing voice.  “They were as gentle and as scrupulous as if they were moving sleeping babes.  I witnessed the loading myself.  It was a thing of beauty.  It nearly brought a tear to my eye.”  I decided not to tell her that they loaded the truck with all of the energy and theatrics of circus clowns juggling glassware.  My confidence in the safety of her prized ornaments lay in the fact that she packs them as if she were going to mail them to Jupiter by way of the asteroid belt.

“I just can’t believe you let airport baggage handlers toss around our delicate Christmas ornaments like chaff.”

“Does one toss chaff?” I asked dubiously.

“You know what I meant,” she said, doing that cute little smirk of hers that she uses when she is annoyed with my word play.

“I assume you meant that you can’t believe I let them thresh around our delicate Christmas goods like chaff.”

“Keep it up and there will definitely be a threshing.”

“I was only chaffing, my pretty little cornflower.”  I bent a little at the waist and kissed her on the top of her head.

“Well, we might as well get started sorting out these things so we can get busy decorating.”

I stared at the stacks of bins and boxes with something akin to despair.  “But it will take months to open up these various vessels to see what’s inside them.  We might still be out here next spring separating the this’s from the that’s.”

“Oh, it’ll be easy,” she said blithely.

I was dubious.  “I don’t see how it could possibly be easy since all of the boxes are labeled identically with the less than helpful ‘Christmas Stuff’.”

“Don’t be silly,” she said, with a lighthearted laugh.  “Did you forget that I used to work summers at Daddy’s toy factory helping with the inventory?”

“You never fail to surprise me, my clever little Camellia!  I did not know that about you.”   I pondered for a moment about whether the tidbit of information she just offered me had anything to do with the time her father’s business had nearly gone under, but I decided that was just the sort of thought one keeps to one’s self.

“Well, I did,” she said, seeming a little irked at my surprise.  “And I was quite good at it.  Daddy said so himself.  He said he wasn’t sure how he ever managed without my help.”

“And was it there that you learned the efficacy of labeling all boxes with the same label?”

“They’re not all labeled the same,” she said, her irkiness growing a little.  “See this little blue  dot here?”  She pointed to the upper right corner of the box, just above the “s” in Christmas.

I leaned in for a closer look.  And then leaned in a little bit more.  If ever there was a time that a monocle would have come in handy, this was it.  But through my creative use of squinting, and by following her diminutive and porcelain finger, I was able to discern a tiny blue dot on the box.

“Yes, I see it now,” I said as I straightened back up and blinked to try and restore my depth perception.

“Each box has a colored dot on it to indicate where it is to go.  For instance, blue means it contains outside decorations.”

“Brilliant!” I said.  “Your scheme is spot on.”

“Ha ha,” she said, feigning a laugh at my joke, but then giggling at how effectively she feigned amusement at my ineffective comment.

“So, what do the other colors mean?” I asked.

“I will have to run back inside and get my color-coded chart,” she said, obviously excited at the prospect of getting to use her color-coded chart for something other than making my eyes glaze over.  She left, looking as excited and giddy as I’d ever seen her look about nearly anything.

While she was gone, James pulled back up with the truck and after it had come to a stop, he, Ivan, Boss, and Crusher disembarked.  Once again, I was impressed by the size and musculature of these three amigos.   I am not a small man, but I looked like a bantamweight next to them.  I was afraid to stand next to Crusher for fear someone would mistake me for Curious George and he that Man In the Yellow Hat.

“We retrieved the sleigh, Sir,” said James coolly as if he were announcing he had picked up a pizza on the way home.

“Splendid,” I said, and nearly clapped him on the back, but James is not the sort one claps on the back.  So, instead, I just said, “James, you sleigh me!”

“Where shall we put it, Sir?” he asked, obviously not hearing my little bon mot.

I glanced over my shoulder at the front door of the house to make sure my lovely, retiring better half had not returned yet.

“James,” I said gravely.  “You must unload the sleigh quickly and then save yourself and your men.   Alexis has gone to retrieve one of her many color-coded charts.”

I have never seen James actually jump like a jittery chihuahua that was the victim of a Jack-in-the-box going off right in front of him, but I am pretty sure he blanched beneath his tawny complexion and may have aged a year or two before my eyes.  However, years of chauffeuring me through the snarled and dangerous traffic of our fair city has given him a certain battle-hardened taciturnity.  He drew himself up a bit as if he were about to announce that he was volunteering to fly the suicide mission far behind enemy lines.   He glanced over to observe that his three compadres had unloaded the life-sized sleigh.

“Mr. Callington,” he said, and though I may be mistaken, I believe his voice may have wavered a bit.  “I think perhaps you should go with Ivan to return the truck.  The others and I will stay here and …. and … deal with Mrs. Callington’s color-coded chart.”  He swallowed hard.

I gripped his arm with my hand, squeezing it briefly in a wordless show of manly gratitude.  What else could I do?  There were no words.  He was offering to throw himself on a color-coded grenade for me.  But could I do that to him?  Could I do that to the man who has served me faithfully these past few years, nearly from the moment I lost my license in that unfortunate misunderstanding with the Federales?  There was only one thing to say.

“Are the keys in the truck?” I asked.

“Yes, Sir,” he said somberly.

“You’re a good man, James.”

“You should go, Sir.”  Then he turned slightly.  “Ivan!  Take Mr. Callington to return the truck.”

I could see James in the large side-view mirror of the truck as Ivan and I drove hastily down the winding drive to the front gate.  I saw my passionate little Poppy, color-coded chart in hand, addressing James, who pointed towards the truck and said something to her, no doubt in a placating voice.

“You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din,” I muttered as we cleared the gate and turned onto the quiet lane that led into town.

“Thank you, Mr. Callington,” said Ivan.  “But I’m just an ordinary Joe trying to get by.”

“Aren’t we all?” I asked philosophically.  “Aren’t we all.”


Link to Episode 4
Copyright ©2017 by Biff Sock Pow

The Alistair and Alexis Christmas Special, Episode 2

Vintage Christmas - 1939 International Harvester heavy-duty trucks

Link to Episode 1

“I say, James,” I said to James as he navigated the behemoth rental truck through mid-day traffic on the way to the storage facility where the Callington family Christmas goods and chattels were eagerly awaiting their annual deployment in, on, and around maison de Callington.  “What are your views on women?”

He kept his eyes glued to the road like the true professional he is, but I could tell he had heard me and was pondering the question.  I rarely have known James to offer an unconsidered opinion.  He always ponders things before speaking about them.  There are many politicians that could take a page from his playbook.  As a chauffeur, he has no peer.  As a fine, decent chap, he also has no peer.  One could say with confidence that he is peerless.

“I would have to say that, on the whole, I’m all for them, Sir,” he said after some few moments of pondering.  He said this while expertly maneuvering the truck to avoid an unfortunate incident with a compact car driven by an unalert driver.

“Yes.  Quite,” I nodded, not entirely satisfied with his answer.  I felt it to be overly diplomatic and noncommittal.  But I let a few moments of silence slide by before my follow-up question.  “Is there a Mrs. James?” I asked, not wanting to appear overly inquisitive.

“Yes, Sir,” he said.  “Married five years now.  You were at our wedding.”

“Ah yes,” I said, feigning remembrance.  “So I was.  A wonderful ceremony.  And Mrs. James is a fine woman.”

“Belinda.”

“Yes, Belinda.”  I tried to make a mental note to remember her name, but I knew my attempts to store her name into my memory banks was akin to writing it on a piece of paper and throwing out the window of the truck.  My brain simply was not designed to remember things.  “You got yourself a fine woman there, James.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“No, what I meant by my original question re: women is … do you ever find them a trifle … well … shall I say … do you ever find their demeanor to be … shall I say, peremptory?”

“I’m not sure I follow you, Sir.”

I paused why he navigated a particularly sharp turn around a Mercedes that was double parked in front of a haberdashery.

“Let me come at it a different way,” I said.  “You have met my enchanting little magnolia blossom.”

“If you mean Mrs. Callington, then yes, Sir, I have met her.”

“Yes.  Quite.  Do you find her methods to be, shall I say, magisterial?”

“Mrs. Callington is a very confident woman,” said James, forever the diplomat.

“And by confident, you mean …”

“Here we are,” said James suddenly as he pulled the truck just as suddenly into the parking lot of the Ewe Store It storage facility, nearly causing me to slide off of my seat.

“There’s certainly no denying it,” I said, observing a 18-foot-tall sign bearing a cartoon sheep standing on its hind legs giving us the thumbs up signal while winking conspicuously under the neon words “Ewe Store It”.  The enterprising owner of Ewe Store It had obviously had the sign decorated with garland and Christmas lights to celebrate the season.   They had somehow even managed to affix large reindeer antlers to the cartoon sheep’s head.  Nothing says Christmas like an anthropomorphized sheep wearing reindeer antlers and twinkling Christmas lights.  It is probably exactly the sort of sheep one would have found standing around the manger (on two feet, no less), and giving a thumb’s up to the gift of gold.  It might have been less enthusiastic about the frankincense and myrrh as they were nowhere near gold on the periodic table.  It was no doubt one sharp sheep with a head for commerce even back then in those trying times.

James pulled up to the security gate, held out the key fob, which magically opened up the gate and he drove on through.

“Which bay are we looking for, James?” I asked, still a little fascinated by how a gate could be opened simply by waving a key fob at it.  What wondrous times we live in!

“Someone wrote 232425 on the key fob in Sharpie,” he said, driving slowly while scanning the numbers on the garage doors of the bays.

“Well, that can’t be right,” I said.  “I am notoriously bad with numbers, but all of these bays have numbers on them less than 100.”

“Yes, sir.  Perhaps there is some sort of mix up.”

“It would seem so.  Shall I call my delightful little jasmine blossom and ask her what gives?”

But at that moment James stopped the truck and appeared to be scrutinizing the numbers on one of the bays.  “No, Sir,” he said, looking a little distracted.  “I think we are in the right place.”

“But we are only at Bay 23.  By my reckoning, we are about 200,000 bays away from where we need to be.”

“No, Sir.  Now that I am looking at the number on the fob, I believe it is actually saying bays 23 comma 24 comma 25.”

I may have blanched a little.  “Do you mean to tell me that we are here to pick up three garage-fulls of Christmas trappings, appointments, bric-a-brac, bibelots, baubles, paraphernalia, chattels, and appurtenances?”

“It would seem so, Sir.”  He shut off the engine and we both climbed down out of the truck and into the frigid late-November air.  I gathered my Harris tweed jacket a little tighter around me and jammed my hands into the pockets, stubbing my finger against that accursed Meerschaum pipe.

“Did we bring a big enough truck?” I asked as he began undoing the lock of bay #23.

“We got their largest truck, Sir; the thirty-footer.”  He lifted the overhead door to reveal a wall of cardboard boxes all labeled “Christmas Stuff” in a delicate, feminine hand that I would recognize anywhere.  It is the same flowing handwriting used on one of the signatures at the bottom of the marriage license.

“Please tell me that this bay is only three feet deep and that these boxes are all that there are,” I said.

James was peering between a slight gap between two of the columns of boxes that completely filled the entry to the bay.

“Well, let me put it this way, Sir,” he said as he stopped peering between the boxes and turned to me, looking very much like Herbert Morrison about to report to me on the landing of a certain dirigible in New Jersey.  “If we had gotten the smallest truck at the rental place…” he began.

“Yes?” I asked, momentarily hopeful.

“We could have parked it inside of this bay.  With room to spare.”

My crest fell noticeably.  “That is exactly the sort of news I could have done without, James.  Are the other two bays equally as capacious?”

Rather than answer me directly, he walked to and unlocked bay #24.  He lifted the door to reveal yet another wall of boxes, bins, totes, and cartons, likewise usefully marked “Christmas Stuff”.

“And what if I select what’s behind Door #3?” I asked.

Up went the door.  This time, thankfully, there was no wall of boxes.  No, in this bay were a collection of things that would not fit easily inside boxes.  There were life-sized reindeer and Santas and elves and sleighs and giant candy canes and signs to the North Pole.

I staggered and but for grabbing onto the rental truck (which was beginning to look far too small for this massive collection of holiday cheer), I might have fallen.

“Are you okay, Sir?” asked James, always keenly astute as to the mental state of his employer.

“I think we’re going to need a bigger truck,” I said.

“Oh, I think we can make it work,” he said, always the optimist.

“Perhaps,” I said, “If we had half a dozen Teamsters to give us a hand.  I’m as hale and hearty as the next man, but I’m not sure you and I are up to the task of loading six or eight metric tons of Christmas cheer into the back of this truck.   We are but mere mortals after all.  Even Atlas himself might tremble at the thought of moving this lot, even assuming he could set down the heavens gently enough to keep from breaking them.”

James, ever resourceful, pulled out his phone and began dialing.  “I’ll call up 2 or 3 of my buddies,” he said.  “We’ll have this stuff loaded in no time.”

My outlook brightened considerably.  “Tell them remuneration will be swift and sure.  I’ll grease their palms as liberally as if they were about to enter a taffy pulling contest.”

“They’ll be glad to do it for nothing,” he said as he listened to the dialing.

“I wouldn’t think of letting them do it for nothing,” I said, aghast.   “Even the chaps who put together the Great Pyramids were paid for their efforts.  And that was child’s play compared to this!”

Our conversation was interrupted momentarily as James spoke succinctly but jocularly with a chap apparently named “Boss”.   Boss was instructed to round up “Ivan” and “Crusher” and to find their way to Ewe Store It poste haste.  He did not mention money to them, but said there would be beer after a job well done.  Then he hung up and grinned at me.

“They’ll be here before we could get the first reindeer put on the truck.”

“Well, I will be eternally grateful to them.”

“Well,” said James with just the merest glint of a twinkle in his eye, “We wouldn’t want Mrs. Callington to be upset, would we, Sir?”


Link to Episode 3

Copyright ©2017 by Biff Sock Pow

 

The Alistair and Alexis Christmas Special, Episode 1

vintage-christmas-cards 1

I was in my den, recumbent upon my dear old recliner and with my feet up on the coffee table (in direct defiance of house rules).  A fire crackled in the fireplace.  Soft music tinkled on the hi-fi.  In short, I was the very picture of serenity and relaxation.  And why not?   I felt I deserved a little quiet time to be alone with my thoughts (such as they were) and to recover from the lunacy of the past week.  Chaos had finally packed its bags and vacated the premises (and good riddance!).

I sighed happily.  What better place for a man (this man specifically) to escape from the trials and tribulations of the world than into my den, my man cave, my sanctum sanctorum?  In this room I am I master and commander.  I am lord of this modest realm; laird of this estate.

My absolute monarchy was suddenly challenged by the abrupt appearance of my dearest Alexis, who burst into my den like a squall line on its way to wreak havoc on a small island paradise somewhere.

I had just struck a match and was waiting for the sulfurous flare to die down a bit before holding it to the meerschaum bowl of my pipe in order to give the Cavendish cut of Kentucky Burley tobacco the same sort of benevolent glow that I had been feeling myself up until that moment.  However, the sudden and energetic appearance of my delicate little begonia so startled me, that I dropped the lit match I’d been holding and so had to jump up suddenly and do a bit of a jitterbug to find the flaming little bugger before my Harris tweed jacket went up in flames with me in it.  In the process, the pipe slipped from my mouth and showered fine Cavendish-cut Kentucky Burley tobacco all over me, my recliner, and the carpet.  If I’d had a faithful old cocker spaniel asleep on the floor beside me, he’d have been covered in tobacco as well.  So, it was just as well that I didn’t have a cocker spaniel.

“What gives, my little scarlet primrose?” I asked as I bent to pick up the pipe from the thick carpet that had cushioned its fall.  “Though you always inflame my passions, this time you very nearly took the house along with them.”

She stared at me a moment with a disapproving glower as I retrieved the smoldering match (now mercifully extinguished) and brushed the tobacco from my jacket, which, at the moment, was not a smoking jacket, but which was merely a jacket.

“What exactly were you doing?” she asked pointedly.  Though her stature is decidedly elfin, her piercing eyes and tapping foot could make her seem as formidable as an Amazonian warrior princess.

“I had been throwing darts,” I said in what I hoped was a casual tone, “but of course that isn’t much fun without an opponent.”

“And after that?”

“I was sitting and enjoying a bit of music.”

“And that?” she asked, indicating with the merest inclination of her head the meerschaum pipe I held in my hand.

I looked at the pipe in my hand.  “This?  This belonged to my grandfather (rest his soul) and I inherited it somehow through the mysteries of probate.”

“What were you doing with it just now?”

I could tell my little flower was somewhat perturbed and I began to feel a little warm, though not as warm as I would have been if the tweed sports coat I was wearing had gone up in flames a minute before.

“Well, um, I was admiring it.  The carving is exquisite.”  I held it up for her to see better.

“It’s hideous,” she said.  “That is the ugliest woman I ever saw.”

“That’s no woman. That is Dionysus, who is, by all accounts, the god of wine.”

“And it’s filthy.  I can’t believe you had that in your mouth.”

“That is patina, my Petunia.  Though snowy white in 1823 when it was first carved, generations of avid smokers have given it a … well … a smoky finish.”

“You, too, will have a smoky finish if I catch you lighting up that or any other thing in the house.  You know I could never get rid of that smell.”

“Well, I … “

“And you know I have allergies.”

“Yes, but only to the children.”

“And to smoke as well,” she said, a trifle defensively.  “Daddy smoked like a fiend.  It’s a wonder I survived to adolescence.”

“And not merely survived,” I said, thinking a bit of the old oil would soothe the savage breast.  “But emerged the clear victor.  A fairer lily has never—”

“And,” she said, cutting me off before I could get the old oil flowing, “You know how smoking upsets me after what it did to Daddy.”

I cast her a quizzical look.  “What did it do the dear old fellow?”

“It very nearly killed him!”

“Well, I hardly think that almost choking on a bone from a smoked salmon …”

“Anyway, I didn’t come in here to talk to you about the fact that you are never to smoke in this house again.”

“Oh … um … okay.”

“Do you realize what today is?”

Only the fact that I was suddenly frozen in terror kept me from running around the room in a panic.  What important date had I forgotten?  Our anniversary?  No, that was in June.  Her birthday?  No, that was … um…. on over in the summertime, I think.  The children’s birthdays?  No, I distinctly remember just recently having a pool party for one of them (the boy, I think) and some sort of sleepover glamor party for the other one (the girl, most likely).  I was completely stymied.  What in the world had I forgotten that would now come back to haunt me in a most Dickensian way?  There was only one thing to do.  I would have to dissemble like I have never dissembled before.

“I believe it is Friday, my Delightful Dahlia.”

She pursed her lips, and even though it makes her look as cute as the dickens when she does that, it indicated that I had guessed wrong.

“Well, that is better than one of your usual guesses,” she said.  “The last time I asked you what day it was, you guessed the Feast Day of Ecgberht of Ripon.”

“Well, I panicked.”

“Yes, I saw the same look of panic in your eye just now.  But I’ll end your suffering and tell you that today is the very first day of the Christmas season.  It is very nearly upon us.”

“Good heavens,” I gasped.  “It seems like just yesterday it was Thanksgiving.”

“That was just yesterday,” she said patiently.

“That would explain all those people in our house.”

“You mean our friends and relatives?”

“Some of them, yes.  Some of them I’m not so sure about.  I think there were more than a few interlopers.”

“Well,” she said, “That tends to happen when there is an open bar.  But that’s not important right now.  What’s important is that there is less than a month before Christmas and there are a million things we need to do.”

I could tell by the look in her eye that when she said things we need to do, she very likely meant things that I would be doing under her direct supervision.

“Such as?” I asked with a growing sense of trepidation.

“Well,” she said as she began to tick things off on her fingers.  “We have to get a tree.  We need to get all of the decorations out of storage.  We need to come up with a Christmas card list, have Christmas cards printed and then we need to sign them and mail them.  We need to decorate the tree and the house and the grounds.  We need to plan the Christmas parties –”

“Parties?” I asked, my ears suddenly perking up.  “As in more than one?”

“Yes, Darling.  We can’t just have one party.”  Her tone of voice implied that even a space alien who had landed on earth yesterday would have known that.

“Why not?”

“Well, there are different types of parties.  For different groups of people.”

“You mean like the Montagues and Capulets?”

“Now, Darling,” she said placatingly.  “You know it never ends well when my family and yours are together for more than an hour or two.”

“Yes,” I nodded with a sigh.  “I remember quite well our wedding.  It was very nearly the first time in recorded history that the bride and groom eloped in the middle of the ceremony.”

“Oh, it wasn’t as bad as all that.”

“Yes, well … you’re right in that there was no actual swordplay.  And they did all came together when your father choked on that fishbone.”

“Be all that as it may,” she said, which is a phrase that, roughly translated means Put a sock in it and listen to what I’m about to tell you, “We have a million things to plan out and do before the 25th rolls around.”

“I am all agog, my Beautiful Begonia.”

“I have a complete list of them downstairs.  I’ve also made a color-coded chart of who is doing what and when.”

I groaned inwardly.  Her color-coded charts were enough to give Einstein a headache.  She was the only one who could translate them and their mere existence meant that lots of innocent bystanders (such as myself) would soon be caught up in missions so complex and so daring that hardened special operations forces would run for the hills to avoid them.  But it was too late for me.  I was already caught up in her web of color-coded charts, to-do lists, and schedules.  There was nothing for me to do but accept my fate.  Half a league, half a league, half a league onward.  Cannon to the right, etc etc.  You get the picture.  Mine is not to reason why.

“So, what is my first task?” I asked.  I almost saluted and clicked my heels, but thought better of it.

“Your first task is to find somewhere out of sight to store that unsightly pipe,” she said, casting yet another jaundiced eye at dear old Grand Pa-Pa’s prized pipe.  I tucked it quickly into an inner pocket of my sports coat.

“And secondly?”

“Secondly, go get all of the Christmas things out of storage.”

I saluted before I could stop myself, but she did not seem to take any offence.  “You can count on me, my Darling Daffodil!  I will execute my duties faithfully, or die trying.”

“Well,” she said, standing on her tiptoes to kiss me on the cheek.  “I’d rather you didn’t die.  It would cast a pall over Christmas.”

“And it might upset the children,” I added.

“It might at that,” she agreed.

“Well, we mustn’t do that.  I’ll just be off to get the Christmas things, then.”

“Wonderful!” she said, enthusiastically.

“But … um …”

“Yes?” she asked.

“Just where in the dickens did we leave them?  The attic, maybe?”

She shook her head.  “They’re in the storage building on West 23rd.  I’ll give you the key and the directions.  Take James with you.  He can drive the truck.”

“We have a truck?”

“No, Silly.  You’re going to go rent a truck and then go pick up all the stuff.”

I was suddenly much more interested in the mission.  “A truck?”

“Yes, Dear,” she said indulgently.  “You get to ride in a truck.”

“I’d rather drive in it.”

“But you don’t have a license.  Which is why I said to take James.”

“Well, it’s no good just riding in a truck.  One must drive it to get the full effect.”  I wasn’t sure why my chauffeur should have all the fun of driving a truck.

“The full effect for you,” she said, “Would be a ticket and a substantial fine and having to wait even longer to get your license reinstated.”

“I suppose you’re right,” I said, crestfallen.

Christmas was already off to a disappointing start.


Link to Episode 2

Copyright ©2017 by Biff Sock Pow

 

What’d I Tell Ya?

snowman-edited-3

As if to prove my blog post yesterday, the meteorologists here in Dallas are predicting that we may get a light dusting of snow tonight.  So we’ve gone from 80-something degrees and muggy on Monday, to 54 degrees, overcast, and windy today, to a chance of light snow tonight.  True, it may only be one angstrom deep, but it still counts.

At least there’s no chance we’re get bored with our weather!

 

T’is the Season — To Crank Up the A/C

christmas-card-armadillo-WEB 01

It is Christmastime here in Texas, and do you know what that means?

No?  Neither do us Texans.  December is always a grab-bag of random weather events this time of year.

It might rain so much we feel like we should build an ark and start gathering up our pets … or it might be so dry that people are decorating tumbleweeds instead of Christmas trees.

It might be so cold that it begins to seem plausible that the woolly mammoth may make a comeback and sweep across the plains … or it might be so warm the Christmas carolers wear shorts and tank-tops and flip flops.

We might have a white Christmas as snow drifts down from the heavens … or we might have a brown Christmas as dust drifts in from west Texas and recreates the dust bowl.

In short, we never know just what the hell kind of weather we’re going to have around here in December.  At the moment it is sunny and 80F (27C) and very humid.  But tomorrow the high is only suppose to be 55F (13C) with a slight chance of rain.  And by Christmas?  Who knows?  Rain?  Snow?  Fog?  Gloom of night?  Frogs?  Locusts?

Anyway, it got me to thinking what Christmas carols might have been written if they had originated here in Texas.  Below are some I thought of.  They’re very lame, I admit!

Can you think of any more?  Leave them in the comments if you do!

What Christmas?  (White Christmas)

It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Cryostasis  (It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas)

I’ll Have a Blue (Belle) Christmas    (I’ll Have a Blue Christmas — Blue Bell is a local and popular brand of ice cream)

Rudy, the White Toothed Meteorologist  (Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer)

Here Come Sandy Clouds  (Here Comes Santa Claus)

The Little Drover Boy  (The Little Drummer Boy)

Francis, the Lawman  (Frosty the Snowman — Francis Hamer was the Texas Ranger involved in killing Bonnie and Clyde)

Barrel of the Ales  (Carol of the Bells)

O Hail-y Night  (O Holy Night)

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Photos From Alabama

Below are some of the pictures I took during my Thanksgiving trip to Alabama.  They’re not exactly Thanksgiving themed.  It just happened to be Thanksgiving when I took them.


 

The Mississippi River as seen from the bridge crossing from Louisiana into Vicksburg, Mississippi.  This photo was taken at about 60 miles per hour and it was quite a trick to not get a bridge strut in the picture.  Out of a dozen pictures, this was the only one without a strut in it.  Sadly, there were no river barges going by at the time.

IMG_0933aImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

 

I believe this flower is a camellia.  It was on a tree in my mom’s yard that was ablaze with them.  It doesn’t seem very fall-like, does it?  The daytime temperatures were quite pleasant (about 65 F or 19 C), though they would get frosty at night.

IMG_0941aImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

 

The camellia tree was quite literally buzzing with activity from bees and wasps and flies and birds.  I caught this little fellow going to town and taking advantage of the warm weather to gather up what pollen she might while she could.

IMG_0949aImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

 

Here’s a fly trying to blend in on a camellia bush leaf.  The sunlight caught his colors quite amazingly, but they didn’t really come out in the photo.

IMG_0944aImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

 

A table for two.  The weather was perfect for a little tea on the south lawn.

IMG_0962a.jpgImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

 

An old nail in an even older cedar tree.  There’s no telling why this nail is here.  It might have held up a sign or a bird feeder or a flower pot.  Who knows?  But the nail survives long after whatever it held up has perished.

IMG_0970aImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

 

A granddaddy long-legs who thinks he’s hidden in this nook in the fence.  The best thing about granddaddy long-legs is that they are completely harmless.  You can pick them up and hold them without fear.  I suspect it annoys the spider quite a bit, though.   These were the favorite things for boys to scare girls with in the first grade.

IMG_0972aImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

 

This is an okra bloom on an okra plant that was flourishing in a fallow field.  Everything else on the plant had been stripped bare by deer.  I’m not sure why they spared this bloom and the baby okra below it, but it made for a nice picture.  I have been eating fried okra my entire life, but I had no idea it had such a pretty bloom.

IMG_0994aImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

 

I passed this old country church while driving down a little road in the middle of nowhere.  I thought it looked quite pretty, so I stopped and took a picture of it.  The colors look a little washed out in spite of my efforts to bring them out through post-processing of the picture.  According to the historical marker in front of the church, it is over a hundred and seventy years old and pre-dates the Civil War by several decades.  I’m glad it survived the War and the subsequent reconstruction.

IMG_1007aImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

Poor Biff’s Almanac: Post-Thanksgiving Edition

Poor Biff's Almanac Graphic (Colored) #1 with Turkey

I’m not sure how the past week went by so quickly.  Perhaps I slipped into some sort of turkey-induced coma and I’m just now waking up.  I have vague recollections of:

  • putting nearly 1500 miles on the odometer of my car
  • mingling with multitudes of people who, in spite of my doubts, I have come to understand are my relatives
  • consuming more calories per day than a rugby team
  • going to bed at 8 PM simply because there was nothing else to do
  • drinking coffee so strong that I swear I developed a mild case of X-Ray vision after drinking a cup of it.

Still, even with all that, it is hard to believe that time could pass so quickly in rural Alabama.  Normally time there runs about as slow as molasses in January.  And yet, here I am, back in Dallas and back in the same rut I was in before I left.

As I predicted in my previous post, I did indeed get to enjoy some cornbread dressing and giblet gravy.  In fact, I had it two days in a row.  That may have clogged my one remaining artery, so if I start babbling incoherently (more than usual, anyway), just let me know.  In fact, all the food was absolutely wonderful.

Well, okay; I lied.  When people bring covered dishes, there are invariably those dishes that fail to meet expectations.  For instance, when I was going through the line I saw a pan of green beans that had delicious-looking slices of bacon on top of them.  I was excited.  I love green beans and I love bacon, so obviously this was a dish that I would enjoy immensely.  What can go wrong with green beans cooked with bacon?  Plenty, apparently.  The beans were sweet.  SWEET!  Who puts sugar in green beans?  I was incensed.  I ate them, of course, because in my family, wasting food is the eighth deadly sin.  In fact, based on some punishments I received as a child, I think it may be number one on the list (with a bullet).  I came to believe that my relatives would rather me regularly practice the other 7 deadly sins rather than scrape my uneaten oatmeal into the trash.  To this day I cry out in horror when a french fry slips from my fingers and drops between the seat and the console in my car, never to be seen again.  “Oh!” I cry to the heavens while rending my clothing, “If only I were envious or lustful at this moment rather than the wastrel that I obviously am!

Moving on ….

However, there were things that made up for the sweet green beans.  For instance, someone brought a sweet potato casserole with a sweet glaze containing fresh-hulled pecans.  Sweet potato casserole is always a fan favorite, but this one was so heavenly that I thought a riot might break out when it was announced it had all been consumed.  Later it was discovered that someone had licked the dish so clean that the blue cornflower pattern on the CorningWare™ had disappeared.  The culprit was never caught.  (Helpful Hint:  Ginger ale can remove ink stains from the tongue.)

I had my annual slice of pecan pie.  I love the taste of pecan pie, but each slice contains enough calories to feed a small country, so I limit myself to one per year.  I do love pecans, though.  I nearly succumbed to my addiction and bought a bag of in-shell pecans at a country store, but the $38.50 price tag caused me to stagger and fall into a stack of bags of Jim Dandy grits.  I consoled myself with a two dollar bag of grits.  And an RC Cola.  And a Moon Pie.

Well, that is about all of the stream-of-consciousness recollections I can conjure up of the past week.  If I think of more stuff I’ll write some addenda.  But for now I’m going to go do a couple of sit-ups and try to start unclogging my arteries for next year.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac – Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

Poor Biff's Almanac Graphic (Colored) #1 with Turkey

The week of Thanksgiving is a good time to pause and reflect.  Such introspection helps us realize certain things.

For example, on the Monday before Thanksgiving, it is easy to realize who has used their vacation days judiciously throughout the year and who hasn’t.  The office today was populated solely by schmoes like me who had used up most of their vacation days before today.  On the plus side, it was very quiet, making it much easier to take a nap without being disturbed.  On the minus side, there wasn’t enough ambient noise in the office to wake me up in time to go to lunch.

The quietude today enabled me to reflect on the true meaning of Thanksgiving.  The true meaning of Thanksgiving, for those of you who didn’t know, is to be the official start of the Christmas  shopping season.  If you go to any store on this, the Monday before Thanksgiving, looking for Thanksgiving decorations, prepare to be disappointed.  Outside of a freezer full of turkeys and precarious stacks of canned cranberry sauce and Stovetop™ Stuffing, the only evidence of Thanksgiving you are likely to see are big “countdown to black Friday” signs.  They might as well put up signs saying, “Thanksgiving Schmanksgiving!  Prepare to give us your Christmas money!”

And just for the record, Biff loves Stovetop™ Stuffing!   If I find out it’s on the menu, my eyes light up just like the kid in the commercial when he finds out his mom is making Stovetop™ Stuffing for dinner.   But where me and the Kraft corporation part ways is the whole “Stovetop™ Stuffing instead of potatoes” campaign.  I’m sorry, but if anyone tries to come between me and my potatoes, things are going to get unpleasant very quickly.  And if you want to see Biff in a quandary, make me choose between Stovetop™ Stuffing and potatoes.  You’ll see me as indecisive as the midwestern rube on the Let’s Make a Deal show dressed as a scarecrow, trying to choose between the hundred dollar bill that Monty Hall is holding and whatever’s behind the curtain that the lovely Carol Merril is standing in front of.  Vegas has potatoes as the odds-on favorite, but never discount the lure of the curtain (or  Stovetop™ Stuffing).

Where was I?

Oh yes … Thanksgiving.

Well, it’s nearly upon us.  I will be enjoying my annual Thanksgiving – slash – family reunion in Alabama again this year.  The table will be loaded to the point of collapse with fine, traditional Southern Thanksgiving foods.  One of my favorites (in spite of waxing poetic about Stovetop™ Stuffing just now) is homemade cornbread stuffing and giblet gravy.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had honest-to-goodness Southern giblet gravy, but it is so good as to make grown men cry.  I can attest to that, being a grown man.  And also having people at Thanksgiving asking me why I’m crying.   To which I retort, “You shut up!  I’m not crying.  You’re crying!”

Giblet gravy makes Biff a little emotional.

I don’t know what exactly is in giblet gravy, but I am pretty sure I don’t want to know.  Just as it makes grown men cry with sheer joy, it also makes them clutch at their chests and gurgle like a slow-draining sink while their faces turn the same shade as the canned cranberry sauce.  I am pretty sure it is about 90% liquefied turkey fat, and 10% “other” (consisting of a medium onion, diced boiled egg, a few spices, and perhaps a little more turkey fat just for good measure).   I have survived about 40 servings of cornbread dressing and giblet gravy in my life and people back home are starting to look at me in awe.   I have already beaten the over-under and I’m not sure who has 41 servings in the betting pool, but I’m definitely going in for another serving this Thanksgiving!  Wish me luck!  I’m going in!

Speaking of canned cranberry sauce (which we just were … you can scan back over the article if you don’t believe me) … just what the heck is THAT?  I was a little put off of the whole cranberry thing when, as a child of about 6, I was witness to a horrific event.  I was in the kitchen when my aunt removed the end of the cranberry can with the can opener and then shook the can over a little white serving dish.  I watched in fascination and horror as the cranberry colored cylinder slowly emerged from the can with a cringe-inducing scchhhhlllooooorrrrpp!! and plopped onto the serving dish.   It jiggled for a moment and then was still.  I may have turned a little green at the sight and so vowed then and there that I would not eat whatever that was, but would instead double up on the cornbread stuffing and giblet gravy.  Mercifully, I did not have to witness where giblets came from or I would not be the omnivore I am today.

Anyway, I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving and that you truly have much to be thankful for this year!

 

 

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