We could’ve taken the easy way out and cranked out another article on camping, shopping for camping, preparing for camping, etc. But for a break, we thought it might be nice for you to sit back and read something purely for your enjoyment of a seasonal tale. So, without any further introduction, we hope you enjoy this original short story…
It’s in a Butter Place Now
-a short story by your friendly Timber Ridge writer
The holidays can hold special moments for all members of the family, from the frail ones to the furry ones. One such December, I can recall my own family gathering together to celebrate the season, including the family dog Max. He was a cocker spaniel with an insatiable appetite for trouble. He didn’t mean any harm by it, and he usually got away with it, being the adorable furball that he was. And the family loved to play with him. Kids would snuggle him and rub his belly, and he couldn’t resist a casual scratch behind the ears from a wrinkled hand.
On this particular December night, all the stops were pulled out for a festive dinner. There were the usual culprits of overnight heartburn: the roasted turkey, the candied yams, tomato pudding, stuffing with sausage and chestnuts, etc. Most of my primary family did their part in the kitchen. I was in charge of the green bean casserole, my brother made stuffing, one of my sisters made the pumpkin and pecan pies. It was a real Norman Rockwell depiction of a meal.
Other family members had driven in from other states. My aunt, uncle, and cousins braved the winter highway from Ohio and made it just in time for our showing of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the family room, while Max walked around in the background. He seemed a lot more interested in the kitchen. One thing in particular stood out to him every time the refrigerator door opened. Fresh from the grocery store and perched on the second shelf door, there sat an intricately molded glob of butter in the shape of a turkey.
The gleam of light from the fridge bulb danced in his eyes with every swing of the door. However, with it being out of reach, he resolved himself to cleaning the kitchen floor of gravy drippings and stray marshmallows. He was a ‘good boy.’ Some of us were skeptical; he was too quiet…
Once the meal was all prepared, the kitchen counters were covered with a buffet of only the most artery-clogging seasonal delights. And the butter turkey was placed on the dining room table as a decorative spread for dinner rolls—because sopping turkey dripping gravy isn’t quite enough for a holiday coronary. We scrambled around the table laying claim to our chairs, while Max had disappeared. Someone said they spotted him in the kitchen, continuing to clean the floor with a ravenous sense of janitorial duty.
Everyone grabbed their plate and headed to the kitchen, where we all formed a circle for prayer, led by my mom. Max quietly stood in the corner, working on a half-dried puddle of cream of mushroom soup. Our heads were bowed, our eyes pinched closed as she spoke, “Thank you for the family being together, and for all of the blessings you’ve given us this year. We pray that others receive your blessings as we have, and we thank you for what a good boy Ma…” There was a pause. “Where’s Max?” my mom asked aloud.
We all opened our eyes and discovered that Max had bolted from the kitchen. My mom was the first to move. Like a fire alarm went off, she shot through the crowd and back into the dining room. We followed behind her and were jolted when we heard her yell “Maaaaax!”
We don’t know how, but Max had jumped up onto the dining room table and consumed, at this point, two-thirds of the butter turkey. The basket of dinner rolls behind him was untouched, as well as the bowl of gravy. He had gone right for the throat, and the head, and the wings, and the tail, and he was on his way to finishing it all. We stood in shock of a small dog destroying approximately 3,000 calories of butter in under thirty seconds! And then he looked up at everyone very casually, licking his lips with a look that could best translated as, “…What?”
What could we do? The whole room erupted with laughter. Dad grabbed the resentful Max off the table and put him in his crate while we dished up our dinner. He was let out when everyone was seated, and ironically went around to every chair seeking additional spoils of the family’s good nature. We sat and enjoyed the food and each other’s company. And in the middle of the dinner table next to the rolls sat a tub of what we could definitely believe was not butter.
After dinner, everyone relaxed in the family room, with Max plopped down in front of the fireplace. He looked content enough, and completely unashamed of the great butter turkey massacre. Mom giggled and said, “Well, Max got his holiday treat with that poor turkey.” One of my cousins of quick wit joked that it had gone to a butter place.
Happy Holidays to you from our family at Timber Ridge!