Read part one first.
On that fine Christmas Day, there was poor man, a just and upright man, an unappreciated man who went by the name of Bear. On that fine Christmas Day, Bear was, with a patience worthy of Job, getting his wife and children out the door to go and visit his mother and brother and sisters.
"But why do we have to get there now?" whined his Elder daughter as she languished her way to the car. "What's so important about getting there on time?"
"If we don't get there on time," explained Bear for the umpteenth (read: "billionth") time in the last half hour. "We won't get dinner."
"But what's so special about dinner at Grammy's?" she asked for the googolth time.
"Because it's Christmas dinner," Bear said, yet again.
"So?" said Bear. By now everyone was in the car at last. The gifts were in the car. He started the engine. "So? This is the best dinner of the year. There's going to be turkey..."
"We've had turkey before, Dad," muttered Elder.
"But this is special," said Bear. "It's huge, and it's fresh. You can't believe how much better a turkey taste when it has never been frozen. And it's huge. You can go back for seconds and thirds and fourths and fifths. We can come back tomorrow for sandwiches... and the day after... And that's not all. Sis 2 has made her stuffing... there'll be about seven pounds of it..."
The drive to Bear's mother's house took roughly half an hour. The entire way, this good, upright, honest and caring man went on and on to a family who just didn't fully appreciate the wonder of that which he spoke. Yet tirelessly, he went on and on, trying to instill in them a true appreciation for what was about to happen. He was still going on as he made his way up the driveway to his mother's house.
"Yes sirree," he said, turning off the engine and stepping out of the car. "I have been waiting all year for this." He opened the door and stepped into his mother's house. He breathed deeply, and took in the smell of roasting fowl. "Ahhhh, smell that," he said as he walked into the kitchen, savouring the aroma. "This makes it all worthwhile." On the kitchen table stood the great roasting pan, fresh from the oven. Bear went to it, and placed his hand on the lid. "This is the moment of truth. Look at this," he said, removing the lid....
I should take this moment to explain how Sis 1 and Sis 2's shopping trip went. In a word, not well. The odds of finding an open supermarket that Christmas was about zero. Their only hope lay in quik-e-marts, and the chance of finding a turkey in one of those could only be calculated through the use of excessive decimal places. But they did find something. They took it home, and set it aside, because it would not take that long to cook. Meanwhile, another cousin dropped by and left their gift, a basket of stuff that contained, among other things, a small black forest ham. When the time came to prepare Christmas dinner, they rammed about one tenth of the stuffing into what they had bought at the store, and tossed in a bunch of potatoes and the ham to boot. The ham was still in the oven, but what they had bought at the store had just come out of the over, and that was what Bear was uncovering.
"This is the moment of truth. Look at this," he said, removing the lid, revealing a small two pound chicken.
"I thought it would be bigger," said Elder.
He stared at it for a moment, blinking. "What the hell is this?" he said at last.
"Bear, don't speak like that on Christmas Day," admonished his mother.
"Sorry," he said. "What the heck is this?"
"Dinner," said Sis 2.
"For thirteen?" demanded Bear.
"No," said Sis 1. "We have a ham, too."
"A ham," repeated Bear. "Where's the turkey?"
"Shhh," said Sis 1 and 2 together. "You don't want to start that again."
"Start what again?"
Sis 2 explained.
"You guys left one of the finest turkeys in all of creation rot on the veranda during a warm spell? What are you, morons?" said Bear. "I haven't eaten all day. I've been saving myself for this. I even wore track pants, so I wouldn't have to unbuckle my belt. I passed over a meal at my in- laws so I could gorge myself here..."
"But you don't like my family's cooking," said Puff.
"Shhh," he explained. "The point is, I came here to eat..."
"Well, don't eat so much," said mother. "Make sure the kids have enough first."
"They already ate!" said bear. "I'm the one that's hungry."
"It's Christmas, dear," said Mother. "Be grateful for what you have."
Bear looked over at the two pound chicken. Gratitude was not exactly what he felt. He went over to the phone and started dialing.
"What are you doing?" asked Sis 1.
"The obvious," said Bear. "I'm ordering a pizza."
"One won't be enough for everyone," said Sis 2.
"The rest of you can have the chicken," he said. "Make sure the kids get their share first."
Believe it or not, the same thing happened the next year. After that, our cousin stopped giving us seventy dollar turkeys that just went rancid on the front porch for lack of a fridge. We went back to buying our own smaller, frozen birds, and defrosting them a day or two before the holidays. You didn't get a week of sandwiches, and they didn't taste as good, but at least you tasted something, and there was peace in the house, or at least as much peace as you ever got in that old house.