Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's a Mystery


Mmmmmm . . .
Every family has customs at Christmas.
Some are fun.
Some funny.
Some weird.
Our family has several that fit into this last category.
One is Christmas stockings.
Okay, yes, I know that many, many families enjoy the custom of stuffing a stocking for each family member.
It's what goes into said stockings that sets our family apart.
Maybe I should explain . . .
On Christmas, after the kids have been shuttled off to bed, Mom and Dad (Spoiler Alert: Alias Santa) bring out the loot.
Erm . . . gifts.
Each stocking is laid out and stuffed full.
I look after the common, everyday, run-of-the-mill gifts:
1.Toothbrushes.
2. Socks.
3. Underwear.
4. The orange in the toe.
My Husby looks after the strange and bizarre:
1. Various styles of catapults.
2. Magnets.
3. Quirky -- ie. strange – books, puzzles and games.
4. Expanding T-shirts. Just add water.
5. And little tins of meat.
I know what you're thinking.
Why on earth would someone give his kids catapults.
You weren't?
My mistake.
Sooo . . . tinned meats.
Every year, each of our children finds a tin of . . . something . . . stuffed into the inner reaches of his or her stocking.
And I'm not talking tuna fish here.
These are tins of something fancifully called: Vienna sausage.
In various flavours.
All neatly and brightly and attractively packaged.
And yes, I realize that there may be people around the world who love Vienna sausage.
My kids were raised on the prairie.
And served beef three meals a day.
With the occasional foray into the world of chicken or pork.
If the animal didn't originally bellow, oink or cluck, they regarded it with deep suspicion.
Or outright revulsion.
Okay, the ingredients listed on the Vienna sausage tins said: beef and/or chicken and/or pork and/or meat.
But it was mechanically de-boned and mixed with . . . other stuff.
So in the words of my kids, mystery meat.
Need I say that my Husby's gifts weren't received with gladness?
Probably not.
Oh, they tried it.
The very first year.
It . . . wasn't popular.
No tin was every willingly opened again.
And when the detritus had been cleared from the front room after the all-important opening of the gifts, the only things remaining were several tins of meat.
Left where they had been dropped upon being discovered.
Husby immediately scooped them up and stowed them carefully away.
Only to bring them out and drop them into another stocking the next year.
One particular tin of sausage re-appeared six years in a row. The last a couple of years ago. In Argentina (where our youngest son was living at the time).
His roommate ate it.
Something we didn't think was possible.
One of our kids asked their father why he kept putting those little tins of -to them- inedible meat in the stockings.
His answer surprised all of us. “Because I want you to appreciate that we live in a place where we have plenty. That tiny tins of mystery meat can be laughed over and disregarded. We are very blessed.”
We truly are.

12 comments:

  1. A strong message delivered with a sense of humour.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a wonderful lesson to come from a can of Vienna sausage! I'll never see them on the grocery shelves again without thinking of your husband's wise words.

    Notice I said on the grocery shelves. Because, yeah, Vienna sausage. Not for eating. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uh-oh! You're gonna hate what I sent you for Christmas! (Kidding!) :)

      Delete
  3. Great post! New follower via SMS, please return the favor
    www.fashionphases.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy to meet you, Glenda! I'll head right over!

      Delete
  4. After Mum left us, my Dad used to buy Vienna sausage, we'd cut it up into chunks and add it to baked beans, heat them on the wood stove and serve in a bowl with buttered bread rolls on the side, or serve over toast on a plate. Years later, we used cocktail frankfurts, but when I tried this "cowboy" food on my kids they didn't like it. Unfortunately they didn't tell me for years and years, so I kept serving it, (not every day!) and they kept eating it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never tried them this way - this sounds like beans and wieners ... hmm, maybe worth a second try! I do like beans and weenies.

      Delete
    2. Add a little ready made mustard to the baked beans for a little extra flavour.

      Delete
    3. Our family LOVES wieners and beans. Hmm. You're right, Jenny. Worth a second look . . .

      Delete
  5. I loved the story and expeciall the reason for the can of meat.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks LeAnn. Husby often takes us by surprise! :)

      Delete

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