A Soiree

Certainly we were all happy to find it much warmer outdoors this morning instead of it being like yesterday’s minus 5 degrees.  Someone mentioned today that this year’s November is being ranked as being in the top five coldest Novembers on record for North Iowa.  I’d say that’s certainly not something to brag about.  Whenever mentioning how unusually cold this month has been, I’ve found many thinking it normal, so I guess most don’t pay that much attention to what’s considered a normal temperature for given months in our area.  With our climate changing all the more noticeably, I dare say there’s no real “norm” to guide us.

My morning was nearly filled with appointments, and thank goodness they all went well.  Up until around 4:00 pm there were people calling the office along with drop-ins.  One of my visitors hand-delivered an invitation to a Christmas Party which was yet another reminder that the Holidays are fast approaching.   I also heard that there’ve been a few association and company Christmas parties dispensed with this year due to poor attendance and rising costs.  There’s a particular one that I heard having been cancelled which came as quite the surprise because they’ve always had them each and every year for as long as I can remember.  Many may think it’s the money, but I’m of the belief that all the more of our younger generation prefer not to attend old-fashioned functions like company-wide Christmas parties.  On the flip-side, we’re finding all the more like-minded people having small get-togethers of their own.  It’s a bit sad, but just another indicator that all the fewer people don’t like socializing with broader age groups who oft times have differing opinions which in the end, foster unnecessary heated debates.

It seemed to be a bad news day for me while over at Fareway to pick up a few groceries and then running into the children of people I’ve worked with over the years.  It made me very sad to hear of a broken hip, a botched back surgery, a heart attack, and the return of cancer. For sure, I absolutely must make some personal visits to those dear ones very soon.  There’s nothing worse than having serious physical issues during these cold and dark months–especially around the Holidays.

One of the main reasons for my trip to Fareway was to purchase a frozen duck and butter which were deeply marked down in price.  I was able to buy some butter, but all the quackers were sold out which came as no surprise.  Most don’t realize that Fareway does give rain checks on sold-out items, so off I went to the meat counter to get my rain check for not one, but two ducks.  Considering how cheap they were, I figured if one is good, then two should be better.  During my younger years of living on the farm, we raised and sold them, but always saved back about a half dozen for our own use.  I’ve always liked domestic duck as long as it’s prepared properly, but even to this day, I don’t particularly care for wild duck.  Geese are the same way, because I truly love domesticated ones, but will quickly pass on wild ones.  I’m now wondering what wild turkeys must taste like, and if they’re anything like pheasant, I’m up for a serving.

I may be sounding a little wicked when saying many of the hunters end up smoking their kills, which in my mind is only because smoking all those wild creatures helps to mask their “gamey” taste.  I remember listening to tales told by old farmers about the times their smelly old boars out-lived their usefulness and ended up getting butchered and smoked, just so to mask that “boar smell” enough to make their meat palatable.  To this day, whenever having bacon, there’ll be times when after eating a strip, I end up saying to myself, “Yup. Somebody didn’t keep that old boar in the smoking room long enough because I can still taste its smell.”

It sounds like there are going to be a number of people in our community who’re leaving town on Wednesday and returning on Sunday from far away Thanksgiving gatherings.  Someone said there’s another measurable amount of snow predicted for this weekend so I do hope our many Holiday travelers have safe arrivals and returns from their respective gatherings.

I had to meet some movers today at a property and let them in a home to pick up a number of sealed boxes and large pieces of furniture.  They ended up being there longer than I’d expected to where I stopped over late this afternoon thinking they’d forgotten to call me to lock the house back up, but as chance would have it, they were just finishing up with a few small pieces of furniture.   Thank goodness there wasn’t any visible damage done to the home and from the looks of it, they were careful not to track any muddy snow indoors.

If any of you are wondering what to do for the Holidays, why don’t you think about creating an annual gathering at a willing friend or relative’s home, and if it goes better than planned, consider inviting more people and rotating it with a willing homeowner who’ll host the following year. Don’t you think it’s a perfect time of the year for a soiree?

Tonight’s one-liner is:  It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense.

Joe Chodur

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