I know what you’re thinking: what’s a beautiful, successful New York gal like me doing in a Podunk town like Blamperville? I asked myself the same question when I first got here. Being a beautiful, successful New York journalist with unlimited vacation days, I came back home that early December to help my aging ferrets move out of the cardboard box they had raised me in – the only box I had ever known.
“We need a smaller, more practical box, Selina,” said my dad ferret. “Your mother and I just can’t shred newspaper like we used to.” And then he crawled up my pant leg.
None of my beautiful, successful New York friends know I was raised in Blamperville by ferrets. I mean, it’s embarrassing: Blamperville! And I have to admit for the first few days, I put on airs around the Blampervillians with their small-town ways like “saying hello” and “walking.”
“I just need to get my parents settled into their new box,” I told myself. “Then I can get back to the Big Apple, which is what we beautiful, successful journalists call the New York.”
Every day, as I walked from the rooming house owned by a little old lemming to my parents’ new shoebox, I passed a Christmas tree lot. And every day, I would see a particular tree, a handsome tree: six-foot-five, strong limbs, nice trunk. And the tree would call out to me. Not literally; it was a tree.
Still, I was here for my ferrets, not romance. I wasn’t looking for anything seasonal. Don’t get me wrong; I like evergreens: pines, firs, spruce. But not yews. I’m just not that into yew.
One morning, I walked into the local grocery run by a gerbil I went to high school with, Marguerite. “Oh, Selina,” said Marguerite, “you’re so successful and beautiful, not to mention human. What a life you must lead in New York or… what do you call it? The Big Celery Stick?”
“That’s right, Marguerite,” I said, not wanting to embarrass or step on her. “My life is fulfilling and adventurous.”
“Remember how we talked about kids? You wanted four and I wanted none? And look at me now: seventeen little ones, and you, you’re stuck in the…”
Marguerite stared at me, hurt. “You’ve changed, Selina,” she said. Or at least I think that’s what she said, because she had by then stuffed her mouth with five pounds of sunflower seeds.
I was mulling what my old friend had said when I walked past a freezer tub, and there I saw the most gorgeous frozen turkey: skin-tight wrapper; plump, meaty legs; containing up to 9.5% of a solution of turkey broth, sodium phosphate and flavouring. I found myself picturing his giblets.
Never go shopping hungry! I told myself. But I couldn’t help it. “Hello,” I purred. Nothing; that frozen turkey gave me the cold shoulder.
Flustered, I left the store. I walked past the Christmas tree lot again. My tree was still there. Such cute cones. Smelled nice, too. “See you later, tree,” I cooed to his waving branches.
I couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that turkey. The next morning, as I was bringing shiny objects to my ferrets for their new box, I stopped in the grocery again. Marguerite darted underneath the cereal shelves, clearly still upset. But I didn’t care; I just wanted my turkey. I couldn’t wait to take him home and pry his neck out of his cavity, if you know what I mean.
The next three days were a blur, just me and my turkey, cuddling. He pretended to be tough, but before long he was thawing in my arms. “Come back with me to the New York,” I whispered. He got goosebumps. Well, technically turkeybumps.
But after three days, he began to turn. “You’re not the turkey I fell in love with,” I cried. “You’re bad. You’re no good for me. You’re no good for anyone.” Tears came to my eyes, possibly due to the smell. “I think you should leave,” I said. He didn’t budge. “I said you should go!” Still he didn’t move. Because he was a thawed turkey. “Fine. I’ll go.” And I left, without dressing.
Not knowing where I was headed, I found myself at my Christmas tree. “You’ve always been there for me,” I sobbed. “Or at least, for the last week. You’re what I need in my life. Something solid. Something I can stick with. Because of the sap.”
And so I hugged that tree as the people of Blamperville cheered. I’m not sure where they came from or why they were so interested but it was beautiful. Mariah Carey sang.
I brought that tree to my ferrets and set it up right beside their new box, where they could scamper up and down it for the rest of their lives or until all the needles dropped off. Even Marguerite and her seventeen little ones joined in.
And me, I never did go back to the New York but became a successful Christmas tree farmer. Still no children, but I do have a nursery.
And what does hollandaise sauce have to do with anything? Nothing, but it was a good title, and that’s the true meaning of Christmas.
Since you made it this far, don’t forget to order your copy of A Jerk in Progress, an ideal stocking stuffer if you have a particularly odd-shapped stocking to stuff. Pretty good turkey stuffer, too, to be imperfectly honest.