fat goose?

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat…

I must admit this Christmas is not exactly one of good cheer for us.  It’s been a tough year (for most of us I think), the last month has been hellish hard, and like most parents, Christmas is about your kids. That’s appropriate as it is a celebration of birth.  But my children are far off, and, well I don’t think any real dad ever stops worrying about them. We were hoping to have the slightly closer two home to the island, but thanks to a local bureaucrat, that can’t happen. So I have volunteered for Ambulance call over Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. Someone has to do the actual essentials, and it may as well be me. Like dairy cows, accidents and health disasters don’t get holidays. Bureaucrats do, and I suppose that is the thin dividing line between really absolutely essential, and essential pretty soon, and… well, would it really make any difference to the world if you didn’t come back for a few months? I hope they’re still essential to someone.

Anyway: at this time spare a thought, and raise a glass to the all those mostly unsung heroes who are spending their Christmas to see that people they love – and jackasses they don’t, can have a good, safe, merry Christmas.  To the soldiers far from home and family, to those keeping watch, and working on the holiday, to those who stand ready and wait… you better have a drink for them, because they need to stay sober for you. Slàinte! (a perfect toast because it keeps you from the tender mercies of the likes of me J)

I suppose if there is a Christmas message, it is one of hope and goodwill. Of birth and promise. And even if you don’t go for messages… it’s a time of good cheer, of small kindnesses and hopefully consideration. Also for many kids, just the best time of year. It’s nice to make that happen, if one can.

This holds good for fiction too: Not all fiction has to be message fiction or have a message. It’s a good worthwhile thing even if all it does is get enjoyed. There’s a lot to be said for just making someone happier, or allowing some escape, even if it is only for a few hours. Besides people tend to like paying for something that pleases and entertains rather than something that has a great message, but little entertainment. Of course some of the writer’s worldview bleeds into any story, and then you have the few people who manage ‘message’ and good entertainment.  That’s quite a challenge. I suppose one of my attempts at this is writing about the kind of heroes who are essential and mostly unsung. There are plenty of stories about lawyers or Doctors. Damn few about farmers, or linesmen, or mechanics or craftsmen. I’ve done all of those.

 At the moment, however, I am writing a story about a hopeless idealist, who sets out with noble goals to do something he has not a clue about, for people he knows even less about.  There is no doubt he’s the good guy, but he is very, very stupid at times. A large part of that derives from him assuming that others see the world as he does, and that others are similarly motivated… it’s not quite autobiographical! There’s a bit of that in all of us. He does gradually catch a dose of reality, but you know, deep down, he still operates on his principals and ideals. He’s just not quite so dumb about it. And that, actually, is not a bad hill to hold… or die on, this Christmas.  May good triumph, and may all those who actually keep us going, flourish.

Tomorrow I will make mince pies. Something Christmassy needs to be done, even if it’s a rough year.

Image by Petr Ganaj from Pixabay (The picture is of a Cape Barren Goose, common here)

27 comments

  1. Dave, do take some small comfort in the reality that you are doing good works in your own individual way.
    Both in your service to the community for hours and days when no one really wants to cover the essential duties of overwatch, and for providing some most excellent stories to take your readers’ minds off their own problems for a bit of respite.
    May you and yours have the best holiday season possible in these most trying of times, and for the sake of all of us may 2021 be a better year for each and every one of we poor sinners on Earth.

  2. The Daughter Unit and I are making home-made high-quality fudge as Christmas presents for our neighbors, and I am finishing up on the WWII novel. I hope also that 2021 is better – since my grandson will be born early in June.

  3. Wrapped more presents than usual earlier because they had to be mailed — and I mailed them earlier than the alleged drop-dead date.

  4. I ended up flying medevac on Christmas Day one year. Somewhere I’d found a headband with a pair of stuffed cloth antlers on it, complete with little jingle bells on said antlers. Before we got the patient, and after the patient was in the ambulance, I wore the antlers. The rest of the crew was amused, the patient got where he needed to be safely, and the laughter part of the day was honored. It was also the quietest, most bored I have ever heard Denver approach/departure/Center. (We were very early, so the fun flyers had yet to get out and about.)

  5. Don’t tell anyone(*), but my holiday party on Saturday was a success. Not a huge crowd, but one doesn’t expect that, these days. The homemade egg nog was a hit (apparently I have a reputation for great egg nog – and it’s just the Joy of Cooking recipe). I think I may have ODed on sugar.

    (*)If I get arrested, I’m hoping for Sarah’s help publicizing my GoFundMe defense fund.

    1. If anyone catches you, just tell them that you had a few people over to help winterize your house, and you incidentally shared a few glasses of egg nog.

  6. I’ll be at home on Christmas day so I’ll raise one to the rescue folks. The lake water safety boats won’t be on the water because the lake is quiet when it’s this “cold”. I won’t tell y’all folks from the north will laugh.

  7. Like dairy cows, accidents and health disasters don’t get holidays.

    A lot of my cherished family traditions– for us, Christmas starts after dark on Christmas Eve– are because Cows Eat Every Day.

    I know that there were several guys on ship I would otherwise swear were complete wastes of oxygen…except that they freely volunteered for Family Holidays. To the point of pulling strings to get them, when there was neither pay nor glory to be had from it. Closest I ever got to a reason was that it was because it was right. (I was a single young gal loooooong way from family, so if I wasn’t on leave it hurt me none.)

    1. It can also be ‘something to do on a day when otherwise I would be alone’. But things that need doing even if it is a holiday certainly define ‘essential’ to me.

  8. Like you, Dave, I won’t have either of my kids home for Christmas this year. And at our age we’ve got practically everything we need, so presents are a minimal part of the holiday. So we’ll get together with friends for dinner, some games, and chit chat.

    I hope your vacation day(s) duties are light and not too serious.

  9. As I get older, Holidays especially Christmas are harder for me.

    However, It Will Be Christmas because my church will be having its Christmas Eve Service.

    It isn’t Really Christmas without it (for remembering the reason for the season).

    And since I’m a grumpy old bachelor who doesn’t like saying “Happy Holidays” Have A Great Christmas everybody!

  10. The very best fiction gives hours of blessed escape, not from dreary mundania but from tragedy and grief. It’s so worthwhile so keep writing.

    As for your hopeless idealist, have you ever read Don Quixote USA by Richard Powell? It was originally published in 1966 and is now available in KU. Totally incorrect these days. It might amuse you. I loved it.

    1. Er. Yes. It is something of the inspiration for the book (with the idealistic do gooder) I am working on at the moment! He wrote another whose title escapes me about a family who got stuck on a highway across a swamp on a little fill island and settles there. I’d love to read that again!

  11. I notice I will be the first Islander to comment. Thank you from this perspective, for your constant service to the island. I know how hard it is to drop everything and run to help others. I watched as Rob did this for so many years. He told me once that he’d worked out that every time there was a ‘fly in’ by the Air Ambulance, at least 92 people were required to drop everything and concentrate on this mercy flight. This is something to consider at Christmas, but every Islander should think of it just a little during the year too. Yes, it’s been a hard year, but I try to think of the ‘mysterious ways ‘ thing and have faith that every swing brings a finer future. We hope you and family enjoy some of the joy Christmas brings, and that the New Year will open new horizons!

    1. Thank you Anna. We (neither Barbs nor I, nor back then, Rob) don’t do this for the recognition, but because we believe it is what we should do. But it is very nice when we get that recognition. It’s a very positive feedback loop,

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