At the funeral reception last Sunday, a life celebration they called it, people were instructed to keep it short and sweet, no more than five minutes and no tears. And everyone took longer than five minutes to express why they adored the guy. And everyone choked.
A gruff old dark somewhat off-putting man of substantial weight and lumbering movement rose the steps to the stage and said, "I've probably known Bill longer than anyone else in the room." How presumptuous, all of us have known Bill most of our lives. He continued, "We met in late 1950's when we were both working on advanced degrees at Berkley."
He went on to say that his his sister, or Bill's sister urged him not to relate this story because it's too damaging to their characters and it turned out to be the best story of the day. He took us back to a time when not everybody had freezers, instead they used a town ice house were space was rented enclosed in cages secured by small locks. The man spoke of hunting trips that bagged quite a lot of birds. So many they had to be stored in an ice house. Getting to their locker they had to pass other lockers filled with farm food prepared and frozen, like a very large assortment of pies. They were college students with a superabundance of geese and a paucity of pies. They picked the locks and to assuage their guilt they left a goose in exchange for a pie.
When the dark old man choked he became human and vulnerable and sympathetic as a little boy.
On the drive home I mentioned neither the speaker nor Bill majored in economics and it showed. A goose for a pie is a terrible lopsided exchange. It should be more like ten or fifteen pies for a goose. I made my statement but didn't defend it. Others tried to explain why that was a reasonable choice.
You cannot buy a goose just anywhere. Right there is a specialty thing. The last one I saw at the general grocery store I think was $60.00 frozen and that was not a whole goose. This is Whole Foods territory, and Tony's Market and Marczyk will be even more expensive. Whole Foods uses Kristina's Natural Ranch Market for their geese. Here is their goose page, $150.00 for 10-13 LBS and $120.00 for 7-10 LBS.
That's not so bad if you're imagining preparing a fantastic and memorable meal. Something to keep in mind.
That's what I'm talking about driving me out of my mind visualizing the guys dropping a whole goose to compensate for their pie theft. They know that's a sin. But that's pie with extreme penance. Extreme interest at extreme usury level. Extreme atonement. Pies are $10 or $11.00 usually. They should have left a goose and taken fifteen pies.
Everyone thought I was being comical.
But I'm glad that I bothered checking. Because it led me to Maple Leaf Farms Duck site. Their page for whole ducks shows roasted duck but they're selling raw ones. They're priced whole at $16.00 to $22.00.
Now that is reasonable.
And you think, oh man, shipping is going to be a drag. You must buy a lot of product for the shipping to be worth it. They ship in Styrofoam containers with dry ice and that right there seals the deal for me right now. I need dry ice. Now. I'll buy it just to experiment with the dry ice. I want to use it to refill my Sodastream canisters.
One last thing about that life celebration. A slide display ran on loop as people mingled before and after, recycling some two hundred photos thereabout so that the man's entire life is recalled in photographs including groups of family and friends and all those years doing things together and involved with each other's projects and trips together, and although I did notice some faces repeating in the photographs, faces of people no longer alive, not a single photograph with me. And I realized I don't really count for that much.
There were a lot of young women that I never met. They all turned out to be nieces. All nieces and no nephews. All of them, some eight or so, each one wanted so much to express what made their uncle so fantastic. Their stories revolved about time spent together in all that goes into a hunting trip together and all the time spent in direct contact in duck blinds. That was his way of having a great relationship with each one of them. The lesson I took from that is to try to find such activities and make the most while there is time.