Traditions (Rox Delaney)

This has been the month when traditions seem to really begin to settle in.  For some, Halloween kicks off the season that quickly slides into Thanksgiving, and then rushes off to into Christmas and end of the year celebrations.  Is it any wonder we find ourselves exhausted?

My memories of some things reach back to when I was three years old.  (Funny how I can't remember what happened two days ago!)  It's been almost six decades since I was that age, so I've seen traditions shift and change, many times.  I expect to continue to watch them for a few more years.

My earlier blog post this month was about Thanksgivings (and Christmases) when I was a child and visiting my great-aunts' homes for the holidays.  Those traditions lasted through my high school years, although we did move closer and didn't have to drive what I'd thought as a child was hours and hours.  But as the elders of the family began to pass away, and those my age began to grow into adults, new traditions were made.  I married, and my husband's family attended Thanksgiving at his aunt and uncle's house.  Each year we went there, along with my parents, who had been invited, since I was their only child.  I still missed my cousins, but I was a grown-up and fell into those grown-up ways, taking my own prepared dishes to share with husband's family.

Trouble brewed in the family, and we stopped going to his aunt and uncle's, and we no longer spent the holidays with his family.  My mother brought the turkey to our house in the big electric roaster, and I fixed the rest of Thanksgiving dinner.  By that time we had three small daughters, so the table was full.  Even after my dad's death, we continued with this "new" tradition.

Along came a divorce, meaning more major changes. My mother still fixed the turkey, but holiday meals were with my grown and nearly grown children and often included their friends, female and male.  Add one granddaughter to the mix, and the family grew.  Add two more, and two husbands, and we expanded even larger.  I started making the main dishes, and daughters filled in with others.  My mother has been gone for a couple of Thanksgivings, and we've again shifted traditions to suit our growing family.  There's now me, four daughters, two sons-in-law, one SO/fiance, five grandkids and one step-granddaughter.  Sometimes we get together for our dinner late on Thanksgiving evening.  Some years we've enjoyed our dinner on Saturday.  This year we happened to do it on Thanksgiving afternoon.  What a novel idea!  And this year, one son-in-law offered to fry a turkey.  It was so good, I think I'll pass the turkey job to him from now on! 

The one thing I learned along the way, and I'm sure others here have to, was to not make my daughters feel they must spend their holidays with me.  We always manage to find a time when we can all be together, even if one or two can only make late dessert.  Our guessing game of where and when we'll have dinner has actually become a new tradition!  And I'm sure there'll be more. 

Blessings to everyone during this holiday season, and I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving Feasts (Melissa Robbins)

This is my favorite Thanksgiving photograph. I'm the kid on the left. My sister is on the right. Her face cracks me up every time. "Ew! What is that?" No, she is not a vegetarian.

Growing up, Thanksgivings were a big deal and my grandmother would make a feast. She would have turkey and ham, those cute rolls that look like bums (The things we remember as kids!), and desserts galore. My grandparents had a large garden, so creamed corn, green beans, Melissa Pickles, and other delicious vegetables made it on the table. Melissa Pickles? These were pickles my grandparents spent all summer making from cucumbers from their garden. I know this because I was there too during the summer and put to work. All those green beans being eaten were snapped by me. Anyway, Melissa Pickles were called Melissa Pickles because I loved them so much. They were not your typical pickles. They were sweet, cubed, and bright green. I just have to say I was really disappointed later in life when I discovered the bright green color came from food coloring. I thought it was some super special ingredient. I have the recipe for Melissa Pickles, but I know zero about canning and are afraid to try canning them.

Sadly, since moving to the Midwest in 1999, I have not celebrated a Thanksgiving with my family. Instead, my husband, our children, and I travel to Arkansas to eat and play football with Reed's great-aunt (a hoot of a woman) and her family.

This year, Thanksgiving will be extra special. It will be our daughter, Gwinn's first Thanksgiving. Babies are always fun to have around the holidays. We also have the pleasure of sharing our traditions with our exchange student from Germany. I'm curious what she will think of green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole.

My Most Memorable Thanksgiving (Penny Rader)

My most memorable Thanksgiving was the morning my lovely, vivacious daughter, Emily, came into the world. Because we had a little bit of advance warning, my mom moved Thanksgiving dinner to the following Sunday, so I could be there.

On the way from the hospital to our delayed T-day dinner (yes...back then they didn't kick you out of the hospital within 24-48 hours), a severe migraine hit me fast and hard. Mom already had my other children at her house. Unable to function, I had to leave my newborn daughter with her. I knew Emily and the kids were in excellent hands and that my entire family was there to help, but I still felt like the worst mommy in the world.

My husband drove me home, which at that time was only a few short miles from my parents' house, helped me with my prescription, tucked me into bed...and went after some propane. Yep. The propane tank had emptied and the house was freezing. I buried my head under the covers and let the medication do its thing. Many hours later we went back for the kids. I snuggled up with my new baby and hoped she would forgive me for abandoning her on her first day out of the hospital.

This year Emily's birthday is three days before Thanksgiving, but the day after my family is having our Thanksgiving dinner. Happy birthday, baby girl! I love you more than I can say.

I''m Getting Cynical About the Holidays

I'm getting cynical about the holidays and it isn't my fault. I've been duped. Every year January is here after another failed holiday season. In January the year is pristine. Every opportunity awaits. Time is no object. Next December is quite a while away and I can put the Christmas cards that didn't get sent out this year back in the drawer and they'll be there, ready to charge out into the mail this next December. When I have more time to write them out with all the cheery news and season's greetings.
Then July comes, hot weather. I'm singing Christmas carols under my breath to remember what cold weather was like and that hope springs eternal that it will show up again. I feel cooler in the hot weather doing that. It beats darkie songs. Occasionally I sing those as I feel slavish, but I really prefer the Christmas carols for temperature control. (Hey, they're both a part of my heritage, so if you have strong political feelings on the matter, tell someone else.) The fourth of July works out pretty well. How can you miss with the sounds of explosives echoing off the grain elevators? Besides, everyone else is in the fields, I've sneaked off with my sister to enjoy the fireworks. We have iced tea or wine and lay on a blanket under the explosions. We can smell the burned powder. We can feel the concussions as they echo.
Then comes Labor Day. So what, we have to prepare for harvest and are still planting and selling seed. No traveling anywhere that weekend.
Christmas is coming. I can feel it. The spooks are out and October is mellowing everyone, if we can only get the last crop in the bin. Maybe I can quit cooking for a while. I don't like to cook. As soon as harvest is over can put the big pots back into storage. Oh, the bread contest? No one has time? Yes. I'll be there. Where's the stuff from last year? Why did we start hosting a yearly bread contest? Oh, yea, that's right. We sell wheat. Seems a natural thing to do. Yea, I know you can't get off a combine to take care of it.
No one is coming for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Thank God. I've found a new author. I'll order in some books and Thanksgiving will just be me and he and the books. Maybe I'll make a fruitcake. I've always wondered if there was a way to make one edible. My darling likes them. I like gingersnaps. Maybe I'll make some of them. I should be on schedule for the holidays. We'll have something simple, like soup. The Christmas cards should be ready to go by the first of December. I'll have all Thanksgiving weekend to write them out.
I went to the store and the turkeys looked good, so why not bring one home and make leftovers out of it. We can then snack on good stuff and have the turkey anytime. And then I got caught bringing home the turkey. The holidays exploded in my face. My darling wants a feast and, hey, let's invite a crowd. Whatever people can't make it on Thanksgiving can come ANY of the rest of the days. The quote was, 'you'd be a hermit if our social life was left up to YOU!' You can't really want to read over having company?
It looks like the Christmas cards may not make it out again this year.


There are many memories that I harbor within my mind from the past: turkey, my mom's famous cornbread dressing, sweet potato pie, gravy smothering creamy mashed potates, as well as my brothers watching football, while my mom and my sister and I looked through newspaper ads that showed toys Santa might bring.

Instead of focusing on the past, no matter how wonderful they are, for the past fourteen years, I have strived to create memories for my daughters to cherish when they have their own children one day.

I continue to make certain treats such as sweet potato pie, but our traditions include: putting up the Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving weekend and preparing our wish list for Santa. We also include ways to help the misfortunate such as donating to the Angel Tree or to food pantries. We also go to a Christmas tree farm to pick out our tree to decorate on the Sunday before we go back to work and school.

Although it's Thanksgiving, it creates a bridge between the holiday and the one to come: Christmas and the New Year.

It may sound very simplistic. There is nothing fancy or extravagant that makes our time together extraordinary except this: the warmth of a loving home with family surrounding us. My children will have the memories that they were cherished and loved. That is the ultimate Thanksgiving gift: Families are Forver.

Happy Thanksgiving and blessings to each of you.

Gingerbread Houses and Family Memories

One of my favorite memories at Thanksgiving time involves a tradition my sister started when her kids were toddlers. On the day after Thanksgiving we make gingerbread houses. Usually the participants include my sister (Tami), her two kids (Ashley and Chris), me (biggest kid of all), my daughter (Angie), and sometimes our youngest brother (Pat). Angie flies back for Thanksgiving, and again for Christmas. I think sometimes she would be okay without this traditional time of making a HUGE mess, but she tolerates it because the rest of us love it.

Personally, I'm glad this tradition is also traditionally done at my sister's house. When we started this amazingly messy annual project, Tami used to make all of the gingerbread and Pat, Angie and I would cut the pieces. Then, if we were really lucky, the pieces would bake without burning and we would get them to the table without breaking least too many of them. The last few years we've moved on to buying the kits. Although we only use pieces of the kits. We add a ton of candy and other stuff not included. Basically, we still make a huge mess.

But, mess or not, we have a great time doing this. There are smiles all around, good-natured teasing, and just a lot of love shared. We've thought about stopping now that Tami's "kids" are 13 and 15...but they keep wanting to do it. And I certainly don't want to grow up and stop having all this fun.

The photo included is from 9 years ago. Ashley is the round-faced redhead. The blonde is my pride and joy, Angie. Oh, I that she is grown up and a professional career person, she goes by Angela. Except to her mother, who refuses to adapt.

Staying Alive

We're a third of the way through the last quarter of the year. Think of it. Another year almost gone. Many pieces of wisdom came my way this year and it applies to us all. It was a horrible, wonderful year for me. Yeah, I hate those extreme years, they unsettle me. But, they're a time of growth and you either grow or wither. That's a farmer's bit of wisdom.
A year and a half ago, I had so much work on my plate and so much left undone that I called a personal organizer person who works with business CEO's and other people who have no time. I'd been getting her newsletters and had even purchased some books to help. She also sells time for one on one counseling. This particular day every surface of my desk and the surrounding area was covered. I needed to pay bills. I had to open a file drawer to make another flat surface to put something on. I was ready to scream aloud. I had been screaming inside. Then one of the piles fell over.
I looked up one of her newsletter's that I'd saved on the computer until I had time to read it. Found her e-mail address. Then I found her telephone number and I called.
And got an answering machine. I left the message that I needed her now. I was at the end of my rope and that I'd only gotten her message machine.
I got a call back in fifteen minutes. I never thought about how desperate I must have sounded. She sounded gentle, as if she thought I was hanging and about to kick the chair over. Maybe I would have, but there wasn't room. (ok, not really, but I WAS overwhelmed).
We spoke a bit and set up an appointment to talk. She was in Seattle--I'm in Kansas, obviously we were going to do this long distance. After the free first hour, I signed up for three more and still reserve another hour. Yes, this person helped me. Soon after, I could at least find half my desk and all of the floor. That was such an improvement I thought things were going well.
This summer, it was gradually born upon me that I have no time. Not even to keep my most basic human personal body upkeep done--my nails filed. My nails filed. Think of that for a minute. This is the vessel that I'm living my life in. I'm too busy to file a nail? Actually a couple of them? What is the point of a life if I'm not the center of it?
What has this to do with writing? Writing is important to me. Is it getting done? No. Just like my nails, my writing is getting the jagged end of what's left over of my time. And that friends isn't much. You may have laughed when I said I was to busy to file a nail. What are you too busy for? Think about it for a moment.
I had to decide that I was important! The world didn't stop. The ceiling didn't fall in. And guess what? Keeping my mouth shut when someone gave those subtle hints that they needed help was really HARD! But I did it. Their nails were filed. They had time for sports. They had time for a weekend at the races. There were a lot of 'theys' and I let silence do its part in letting them find a different answer than me.
I figured out how to put my conference tapes on my ipod. It took me three days but it was for ME. And I listened to them whenever I was on the road for parts, groceries, and whenever else. All three hundred hours of them. I felt connected to writing even if the only writing for myself I was actually accomplishing was this blog.
But still--no time. Nails not filed. Then I heard one line on the conference tapes. Flylady. Sounds yuky, but the flylady has seen the bottom of her life and others and helped. Habit at a time. I urge you to go to her website. Sign up for the digests or whatever you can and start.
As I read today--(dentist office ceiling). 'We are what we do. Excellence then is a habit not a character trait.' (I think I just misquoted Aristotle, but you get the idea.) Last March I started getting her digests. By now, especially in the last thirty days, tiny habit at a time, I have found a few hours in bits and pieces. By following her advice--anything can get done a few minutes at a time. The last few months have seen a to do list of over ninety things (last spring) dwindled to less than ten. I'm not as calm as I'd like, but I can see ninety percent of my desk top. The bills are paid and after I get some equipment ferried to town this week for repairs, I can actually write on MY stuff.
The house is company ready. The holidays are upon us. By using the Flylady's holiday control journal as a guide, my stamps are ready for the Christmas cards NOW! Good, retrained habit is getting me through. I think I'll be able to stay alive. More than that, I think I'll be able to enjoy the holidays without feeling rushed, overwhelmed, in more debt, and generally have the feeling of wellbeing. Now I'm turning my habit plan to working on the habit of something important to me. Writing.
I'm going to be in the habit of writing. For me. (With filed nails.) And this I am thankful for.

Thanksgiving Memories (Rox)

I always believed traditions were something that remained static.  That could be because for much of my younger years, my family's holiday traditions did.  Each year one of the aunts (my great aunts) or cousins would host Thanksgiving, then another would host Christmas.  Those were the two times a year I could count on seeing all my cousins.  Sometimes it was our turn, but I liked it better when we went to Aunt Lucy or Aunt Dorothy's house.  They lived on farms near Clearwater and for many of those years, it seemed to me that it took most of the day to drive there, although it's only about twenty-five miles.

My mom was the designated turkey baker, and I'd wake up on Thanksgiving morning surround by the aroma of turkey.  I doubt we ever missed the Macy's Christmas Parade back then, even as we packed up the turkey and other delights to head down the road to our holiday destination.  Everyone brought something to eat.  Aunt Dorothy's chocolate pie was always in high demand.  At her house, there was a huge solid wood table where the grown ups all sat.  There were usually at least a dozen of them, laughing and talking as they passed around the food.  Kids sat at card tables, sometimes on Sears catalogs to boost us to the right height.

When dinner was over and the women had cleaned up, while the men--mostly farmers--sat in the living room and talked throughout the football games, the decks of cards were pulled out of the drawer and the rousing games of pitch began.  The games lasted throughout most of the afternoon and into the evening, and I can still hear the sounds of their voices, whooping and hollering at each other over each hand dealt and each card played.

But it was later in the evening that became my favorite as we grew a little older.  My three female cousins and I made the table talk.  Yes, you read that right.  Just a few days ago we were discussing Ouija boards on this very blog, but a card table and three or four people can do the same thing.  One person on each side, if possible, hands flat on the table top, and concentrating so hard, the house should've rocked, we mentally lifted the table on one side/two legs.  Questions asked were usually yes or no, or sometimes involving counting.  One knock for yes, two knocks for no.  The adults eventually grew quiet, ending their last game of pitch to watch us.  Uncle Sterl (Aunt Lucy's husband) would hoot and boo at us, convinced that one of us had to be tilting the table.  We weren't.  "How can we?" we'd ask, and show him that the table could rise several inches...with no legs touching the floor.  He never did believe us.

I miss those holidays, and especially the talking table.  We kids grew up and had kids of our own, who now have kids of their own.  We made new traditions.  My great-aunts, great-uncles, parents, and even a few of the older cousins are gone, but those Thanksgiving memories will always be my favorite.

Over the Hills and Through the Woods J Vincent

Okay, it was really over and through the snow drifts to Aunt’s house we go. Let me explain. In the 1950’s we had true blizzards and more than one a winter. I remember many times when we took in complete strangers stranded in the snow along 21st Street near our farm. When one hit you couldn’t see but a few feet, if that, in front of you. As the Kansas wind whipped the snow into drifts from five to over ten feet tall, everything stopped moving.

1953 was the year a blizzard hit right before Thanksgiving. I was eight at the time. Let’s go back to the evening of November 24th.

It started snowing while I was feeding the calves. Our farm was a dairy/wheat operation and everyone in the family except for the toddlers had jobs. While Mom and my older brothers milked I took care of the calves by giving them grain and making sure they had enough hay. Then I tended to the “bedding.” “Bedding” is done with straw—wheat straw bailed after harvest. After getting bales of straw one had to take off the twine and then break apart the compact slabs created when the straw was baled. Shaking the slabs into fluffy piles of loose straw was a lot more fun when my brothers helped because we had straw wars. Mom was sometimes unhappy about this because bits of straw went down our clothes and boots and ended up all over the house. But I'm wandering off topic.

The snowfall steadily thickened. By the time I was finished and headed up to the house it had coated everything. It continued throughout the entire night and into the next day. Towards morning the wind picked up. It rattled the windows while snow sifted into mounds on the inside window ledges. The shushing sound wind driven makes is something like very fine sand being blown about. It made me burrow deeper beneath the heavy covers of multiple quilts. When Dad opened my door I waited for his hand to shake me but instead he told me I didn’t have to get up because there was a blizzard. I was also told to take care of my baby brothers if they woke up before he and Mom got back to the house after milking and feeding all the animals.

When my youngest brother demanded attention I reluctantly uncovered my head and crawled out of bed. It still seemed dark and with a thick frost on my bedroom window I couldn’t see out as I hurriedly dressed. It was no better in the boys’ room where I found my year-old brother jumping up and down in his crib. The two-year-old crawled out of bed and ran after me as I carried Eric down the stairs to the warmth of the kitchen—the only heated room. After getting them dressed I pulled open the back “view. When my parents and older brothers came into the house they were entirely coated with a thick layer of snow—even their faces with heavy ridges across eyebrows, nose and cheeks.

The snow continued until late that afternoon. We were kept busy with everyday inside chores as well as peeling apples and helping make three apple and three pumpkin pies to take to my aunt and uncle’s for Thanksgiving on the morrow. When we noticed that the howling of the wind had lessened we begged to go outside. Once we were swathed in layers of shirts and coats, gloves, scarves, and hats, Dad pulled open the front door and we stood, gape mouthed, at the wall of white three-fourths of the way up the screen door. The back door had a much better windbreak and we tumbled out of it only to be caught up short by the undulating snowscape. Everything was white; the garden and lawn had turned into an ocean of white waves, some of which towered over our heads.

Dad let us scamper over drifts as well as sink into them too for a time and then set us to shoveling a path to the barns. We were all exhausted that night as we crowded around the floor furnace in our pajamas to get as warm as possible before dashing up the stairs and diving into our beds.

Our chatter died away when Mom ask Dad, “What about Thanksgiving at Roman and Rosella’s tomorrow?”

“We only have pie,” my oldest brother whispered with a grimace. Visions of turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed peas, and homemade ice cream danced out of sight in our heads. Worse was the thought of not getting to play with all our cousins—all four of my dad’s sisters’ families were to be there with their thirteen children. Our collective groan rose.
“We’ll see,” Dad assured everyone. “The wind hasn’t come up again. There’s a slim chance we can still go.”

Thanksgiving morning dawned cold and clear. My older brothers came into my room and scratched frost off the windows facing 21st. “Nothing moving,” Bill said dejectedly.

“Boys, get down here,” Dad yelled up the stairs. “Come on, get a move on if you want to go to Thanksgiving at Uncle Romans.”

I scrambled out of bed as the boys tumbled down the stairs. Nose to the window I confirmed there was no traffic on the road to the north. Looking straight down I saw the huge drift that still blocked the garage door and those that rose and fell across the drive way. After playing on them yesterday afternoon I knew some where five feet tall. “The car isn’t doing anywhere and we aren’t either,” I muttered.

Dad and the boys returned to the house for a late breakfast mid morning.

“Wait until--” my brothers began as one as they began working out of their mummy-like layers.

“It’s a surprise,” Dad scolded, but I saw him wink at Mom. “Wait until we’re done.”

They ate, bundled back up, and hurried out. It was just after noon when I heard the M&M (Mineapolis Moline)—our big tractor then but a baby when compared to today’s monsters.

“Help bundle the boys up,” Mom said, “and then get yourself ready to go out.” When we finished she said, “Watch your borthers while I take the boxes with the pies out.”

Dad came in a few minutes later and picked up the baby and grabbed the quilts mom had set out. “Take Stan’s hand and help him. Mom will be back for him but let’s make a start. “
“Where are we going?”

“To Thanksgiving dinner,” he laughed. “Come on.”

It wasn’t until Mom took Stan and I climbed over the biggest drift through the yard that I saw the M&M was hitched to a hay trailer sitting where the wind had left the ground coated with only a thin layer of snow. Dad had outlined the outside of the trailer with straw bales and put a thick pile of “bedding’ in the center.

A hank of hay sailed over the side. My oldest brother popped up. “Come on, we’ll be late to dinner, slow poke.”

“Dinner?” I looked at the huge pile of snow made when they dug a path clear for the tractor and then at the drifts in the road and shook my head.

Dad picked me up and tossed me into the pile of straw. Then he helped Mom up and over. While she settled us in the straw with the quilts to her satisfaction Dad climbed into the tractor’s seat. Revving up the engine he put the tractor in gear and we were off—straight off through the field!

All dad’s sisters lived on nearby farms. We stopped at two and picked up those families. We kids had a blast with straw fights going. I’m not sure the adults thought it quite as much fun as they shoveled through the worst of the drifts at times. The food was terrific and the company even better. After dinner everyone, adults, except for Granny, and kids, joined in the snow fort building and snowball fights. A very memorable Thanksgiving over and through the snow drifts to Aunt’s house!


Don’t you love this time of year? The colors of the leaves. The crispness in the air. The football blaring from the television and the start of Kansas University basketball. This year Thanksgiving dinner will be at my home. That means I will shop, clean, chop, bake, peel, sauté, roast, baste and mash for nine of us. A relativity small group, but still a special one. I have a table that easily seats twelve and a dining room that will be bursting at the seams but that’s okay. Everyone is welcome in our home.

I’ll be up at the crack of dawn, tying on my apron, baking pecan and pumpkin pies, preparing the turkey and rolling out homemade noodles for the noon meal. My family will each bring their speciality dish to make the meal complete and then everyone divides up the leftovers for a repeat dinner the next day. Does it seem fair that we’ll work for hours in the kitchen to sit down and stuff ourselves in a matter of minutes? Probably not, but sooooo worth it. The men will then move to the living room to watch the Cowboys play and catch a few zzzzzs. The women will do the dishes and then, if it’s not too cool, we’ll head outside to sit around the fire pit on the patio. Archaic traditions I know, but it is what it is and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

Late afternoon, dessert will be served and then everyone will leave. I’ll finally take time to read the paper and scour the ads for the Black Friday bargains I plan to get up early for. I look forward to this all year. (Those of you that know me will not be the least bit surprised by this admission.) With list in hand and game plan in mind, my mom and I sneak out before 5:00 am to join the masses of other idiots, in the dark, in search of deals too good to pass up.

Simple traditions but still very near and dear to my heart. So, from my home to yours may your blessings be many and your troubles be few.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Hugs, Reese

Pat Davids and Thanksgiving Memories

November is here and this month we'll be blogging about our special Thanksgiving memories. Feel free to share your happiest, saddest, funniest or most maddening holiday memories.

After more than fifty years it's hard to pick out Thanksgiving memory out of so many wonderful ones, but I got a chuckle thinking about this one and thought I'd share it with you.

My brothers, all four of them, were hunters. Pheasant, duck, quail, goose. You name it. If it had a season they shot it. One day, just before Thanksgiving, my brother Mark came in with two big geese. Now geese in the wild aren't like the ones that live here in the city and beg for bread crumbs in the park. Bagging a goose takes skill and luck and Mark had TWO.

Thanksgiving was at our house that year and Mom decided to cook the geese instead of the usual turkey. I admit they smelled good as they roasted throughout the morning. When everyone was assembled at the table, my mother brought them in. My brother Mark watched with pride as his trophies came to the table. After cautioning everyone to watch out for buckshot, mom carved them up.

My grandpa, as the oldest, got the first piece. He took a bite and nearly pulled his dentures out. After mulling his mouthful for a while, he gulped and looked at Mark. "You didn't shoot these."
"But I did," Mark insisted.
By this time we were all trying to eat the tougher-than-boot-leather birds and not having much success.
"Nope," said Grandpa, pushing his meat to the side of the plate. "This one died of old age when your gunshot scared him to death."

We all laughed but I did feel bad for Mark and my mom. Thank goodness there was plenty of side dishes to go around and plenty of pumpkin pie to fill us up. No one when away hungry, but goose was never on the menu at our house again.