by Joe Creedon

At the sound of the first gobble ,gobble, gobble  from the Friday village market, our glad hearts awaited Christmas. The post office ceiling was hung with pudding bowls of plumb pudding, cheek by jowl with smoked hams and saltling . The rush was on. Months of raising turkeys was coming to a happy conclusion. John P had given up on his lazy turkey cock and had hired a taxi to transport his hens to a livelier foul in Leath Geneeve.

Mail time was a buzz - turkeys ready to be sent to Inchigeela folk in England and in Cork and Dublin - mother deftly parcels and addresses the consignment in brown paper parcels in time for the 4 pm mail car. In turn the Christmas post brought badly needed cash - Grandfather told the story of the envelope bearing dollars, getting a great welcome and an enquiry about the post mark - Silver City Missouri – What a great name they gave that city! .

In the last remaining days turkeys came on foot - one very cross black turkey lurched out in attack from under the table at any one venturing in to the back kitchen.

Fr. Bernard the PP gave a parochial blessing to his present of a live turkey and suggested that he would be even more pleased if the turkey could be oven dressed and sent by post to his sister in Dun Laoighaire.

In later years - with air travel grandparents often went to visit families in England for Christmas. One such jolly grandmother having checked in to Cork airport for her flight decided some Brandy would provide some comfort for the journey. Turkey came too as neatly parcelled hand luggage. Just then, a family seeing their grandfather off, joined her at the bar with a parcelled goose. In no time at all both parties had agreed to be travelling companions. Some Brandies later a bemused airhostess showed her passengers to the aircraft, jokingly she asked if they were newlyweds! The merry pair soon airborne and grandfather got his air legs for the first time, So relaxed was he that he enquired if they would be stopping anywhere along the way!.

Another inebriated company at the bar counter in Inchigeela wished one another the compliments of the season and enquired if every thing was ready for Christmas dinner. To be sure the hams stuffed and the turkeys boiling!

The Wren , the Wren the king of all birds,

On St. Stephens’s Day he was caught in the furze.

Although he is little his family is great,

I pray you good lady to give us a treat.

My box it would speak if it had but a tongue,

But a penny or two would do it no wrong.

Sing holly, sing ivy, sing ivy, sing holly ,

A drop just to drink would drown melancholia.