Christmas Day for me has become a pattern of recreating traditions I love so dearly and creating new ones. As the memories of my childhood will never be quite the same again, I have decided that I must take them with me no matter where I am in the world. Since my parents deaths I have spent Christmas in Jordan, Costa Rica and in the Green Bean with my tree and wonderful friends and family. Spending Christmas with another family, experiencing their traditions, always makes me a bit melancholy for my own loss but I always find wonderful moments.
This year I am in Ireland with a most exceptional family. Six generations have farmed the land that I am now living on and a new generation has begun.
I awoke, as I always do on Christmas morning with a little sparkle in my eye. I love this season. I took a hot bath (no shower in my little flat) and prepared for my introduction to Black Velvets, Champagne and Guinness. I had also had a bit to drink the night before and volunteered to jump into the Atlantic for fun….ugh! I made my way down to the sea with Fingal and his family who only had one bit of wisdom, “You’ve done it now girl. Better get in, get out and find a nice bit of whiskey.” Noted. The jump was invigorating! the sun was shining and as i unwrapped myself on the pier, the adrenaline around me, kept me going. Santa threw out insults from the warmth of his fat red suit and we all took a running jump. HOLY SHIT! when i started breathing again, i realized how fantastic this all was! I was bobbing around in the ocean at the bottom point of Ireland on Christmas day. Wonderful.
I located my shot of whiskey from a kind old man, jumped out of my suit and into my warm woolies and back to the house to learn about the Christmas goose. I knew the goose has been killed a couple days ago and was hanging somewhere. When we returned from my dip, I found Tom sitting in an old wooden chair in the barn, Christmas tunes belting out of the speakers overhead. The goose was sitting in his lap and feathers were everywhere. Being raised on a farm is such a way to raise your children! Life, death, sex, it is respected and understood and not overly dramatic. Oliver and Olan jumped straight into plucking and poking. Olan was most interested in eyes while Oliver was actually more interested in chicken coops and tractors.
As for me, this was my first goose, first plucking and gutting. Tom was a marvelous instructor. He pulled out bits and pieces, showing us, letting us touch and process. After the gutting came the burning to get the fluffs off before I was delegated to stuff him with mountains of sausage and stuffing.
That evening we dined on goose and ham, duck fat potatoes, bread sauce (my new favorite thing) every vegetable imaginable, flaming puddings wtih brandy butter, lemoncello, wine, whiskey…on and on and on.