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The 12 Days of Road Kill (A Different Kind of Advent Experience)

Sam’s stocking was handmade by genius novelist and sew-goddess Lydia Netzer. Maisy had a lovely one as well, but got lost somehow on a Christmas Travel, when she was about four. As an LPoQT (little person of questionable taste) she picked this emergency one out at Target:


Well. Okay. IN MY DEFENSE: Santa was imminent. She was distraught over losing her precious stocking, another handmade quilted sort of thingy from her grandmother. No other stocking in all of Target spoke (barked?) to her. No other stocking made up for her loss. Faced with a Christmas Eve where my weeping youngest hung a filthy tube sock, what could I do?

Reader, I purchased him. He has been her stocking, ever since.

He bothers me more, every year. It looks like we have HUNG a dog. As in, “by the neck until dead.” And while on some level I feel it serves as a fine warning to those who feel tempted to counter surf (*cough*Bagel*cough*) it is Not Very Christmassy.

Except, in my family, maybe it is. Did I ever tell you about MOO-EY the Christmas Cow? Moo-ey has a SONG and everything. Let me see if I can figure out how to get a recording of the MOO-EY SONG, and then I will tell you it.

It makes more sense if you know that in my family, Cows are the avatar of all that is good and right. Sam did this. His FIRST imaginary friend was a cow named Ontag who lived in the shed behind our old house out in rural Georgia. Ontag was The Best. Righteous and Mighty. Ontag smote the wicked who might rise up from the crick against our family.

Mostly pigs. Why pigs and not cottonmouths, I do not know. I HATE COTTONMOUTHS. I am a snake person, too, as in, I actively enjoy interacting with pet snakes up close and personal and with wild ones from a respectful, eyes-only distance. But. A cottonmouth in a crick where my kid’s play? No. Sorry, sir, your breathing privileges ought to be revoked. It would have been handy to have a superhero cow to perform this service. But no, Ontag fought pigs. Mostly.

CAREFUL, LADIES! IT'S A TRAP! (photo: Rob Purvis)

CAREFUL, LADIES! IT’S A TRAP! (photo: Rob Purvis)

My kids, to this day, play a game called HEY, COW. Whenever we drive past cows, these people (Now 17 and 12) both roll down the window and scream, HEY, COW! If the cow looks up and acknowledges the greeting, they are blessed with all kinds of Cowly luck. And should multiple cows or a BABY cow look up—well, that is a omen of such favor! Why, it is hardly to be imagined!

Dead dogs on the mantel? Not so great. I am going to try to tempt Maisy with a new stocking AGAIN this year, but I do not hold out high hopes. She has a yen for tradition, and in her memory, Wild West Justice Dog has been her stocking all her life.

Do you have any holiday traditions you’d CHANGE, if only you could?

11 comments to The 12 Days of Road Kill (A Different Kind of Advent Experience)

  • Jen the Goddess in VA

    WELCOME BACK AND LO HOW WE HAVE MISSED THEE! (That’ll be the title of my Xmas hymn if ever I write one someday.) I was just thinking of sending you an email expressing my hopes that family life was good and mental illness numbers were manageable and BY THE WAY your blog family misses you! Hee. Great minds and all that, apparently.

    I could live without the holiday card-sending angst, but I enjoy receiving cards and so I have to reciprocate. And if I could just hand people their non-wrapped gift and say, “Enjoy!” I would totally skip wrapping, which I LOATHE. Otherwise…honestly, I love buying gifts and I love the foods and smells and holiday visits and stories and songs, and my kidlet is only 2 so we have no hung dog (or hang dog?) stockings or similar traditions to hate. She loves the Grinch and Charlie Brown Christmas and all the old Rankin & Bass specials, all of which we have on DVD thanks to a generous Grandma, so it’s kind of like reliving my own Christmas childhoods all over again. CHRISTMAS IS SO FUN THIS YEAR is what I’m saying. Anyway. Moo-ey Christmas to you and your clan, and don’t stay away so long next time 🙂

  • JenniferG

    I think there is a typo in there because, surely, your babies are not 17 and 12 already!

  • Jennifer, when I started blogging, I called my daughter BEAUTIFUL MAISY WHO IS BARELY TWO. Wow. SURELY not. Except they are.

    JtGiVA — I love unwrappign though. Love RENDING. Almost do not care what the present is. I mean, if it was a dead squirrel, I would be upset, but I would be pretty happy to unwrap GUM.

  • Brigitte

    Urgh, I must agree on the cards. Especially as I haven sent any out yet.

    Meanwhile, I think “cowly luck” will make me happy for a long time, especially as this town is very dairy-farm oriented. 🙂

  • Linda J

    The thing I would change is taking the tree down. I LOVE getting out the boxes and deciding what color theme to go with this year. I LOVE the decorating and seeing magic appear before my eyes. I definitely do not love getting those boxes out again and taking down all the bows, garland, and ornaments. Why isn’t there a service to do this for me? Take it all down and put it away just the way I like it.

  • Linda J

    P.s. I see Mosey! Welcome back!

  • Jessica (the celt)

    This is the point where I realize your son and my oldest niece are the same age, and I think to myself about both, “There is no way that these children are almost adults! How in the world did this happen?” My niece is the age I was when she was born! How does that even work?!

    Anyway, if I could change any tradition, it’s all of the travel associated with going back and forth to different families. I also would do smaller groups and no large-group meetings of anyone, anywhere. I’m fed up with too many people in a small space. Blech.

  • We had that same moo-ey cow, I think! He sings Deck the Halls, but with moos? When my son was two-ish, he called all cows “poes” and so my husband dubbed our moo-ey cow Edgar Allen, as in Edgar Allen Poe. I’ve always had an affinity for cows, too, since my grandfather owned a dairy, so your children’s game strikes a chord with me.

    As for traditions I wish I could change, well, it’s somewhat newly acquired, but I still wish I could change it: the wrapping of Santa’s gifts. Growing up, my Santa never wrapped, but apparently my husband’s did. We got into a huge fight one year and now Santa wraps everything. Excuse me, I mean MRS. CLAUS wraps every thing. Ahem. People tell couples that they need to discuss religion and politics before they get married to make sure they’re compatible, but I think they need to discuss Christmas traditions.

  • Hooray! You’re back! I’ve been missing my regular dose of Faster than Kudzu goodness. Hope all is well with you and yours.

    We are actually in the process of changing a Christmas tradition at the moment. My youngest is 11. I’ve never asked him if he still believes in Santa, and he has never offered the information, but he’s at that age where you think “surely he must realise?” Sad as it is to let go of the whole Santa thing, there comes a time when you really have to, lest your babies be laughed out of high school for still believing.

    So this year, instead of hiding everything till they’re all asleep on Christmas Eve, we are putting some presents out under the tree already. That’s fun too, in a different way, as it builds up the anticipation more. Some people have even been known to pick up gifts and shake them. Totally not me, of course. I’m way too mature. Ahem.

    So no carrots for the reindeer and glass of milk for Santa this year, but that’s okay. I kind of like acknowledging that we are buying gifts for each other because we love each other, and enjoy choosing something we think the other person will like. It’s a more grown-up way to enjoy Christmas, and still magical in its own way.

    But yeah. How on earth did my baby boy get to be eleven???

  • edj

    When my kids were little, my mother (now departed) bought them Christmas stockings rather like Maisy’s, except at this little booth at the mall. The oldest’s is ok but not great–just a teddy bear head attached to a red stocking. But when the twins came along 2 years later, they didn’t have teddy bears, so they got Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger. And they are Disney Winnie and Tigger, and I will go so far as to say I HATE what Disney has done to A.A. Milne and I did my best to never allow my children to even know of the existence of Disney Winnie and his terrible dorkyness. (sorry, but my feelings are my own) Now the babies are 19 and 17 and we still hang those terrible stockings every year because those are their stockings and they have all this tradition in them. Sigh. We are stuck.

  • edj

    I didn’t even mention how the heads move disturbingly as if they were separated from their original bodies at the neck.