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Donald Duck or Bambi, for dinner?

Posted on August 8, 2011

Donald Duck or Bamby? For Dinner?

I must have been about five years old. The maternal side of my family usually gathered at my aunt’s and uncle’s house for Christmas.

The party consisted of my aunt and uncle at my mother’s side, my cousin, his grandparents at both maternal and paternal side, my maternal grandparents and last but not least, my uncle’s half brother Kamiel *
Since my cousin is my elder by 15 years, I always was the only kid present at the annual family do.

Auntie Hilda and uncle Rik always spent a lot of time and effort to make sure their house looked like a picture out of a fairy tale at Christmas. I will always remember their huge Christmas tree, full of the shiniest of decorations and all the presents neatly wrapped underneath the tree.

This may look like a traditional Season’s story judging by this prologue, but bearing in mind the protagonists, I know now that nothing could have gone as planned in the meticulous mind of my aunt… who always treated us with a 5 to 7 course meal, which usually left me with indigestion and one year with a real trauma.

First of all, there was the setting of the table and the placement of the guests… I admit that I do not recall who was sitting next to who each year, but I do remember that my maternal grandfather and uncle Kamiel always were an inseparable duo of natural stand up comedians… After the aperitifs and the hors d’oeuvres, their spirits would be high as ever!

Their show usually began straight after the starters had been served.
Much to my amusement and my auntie’s annoyance, they made a sport out of stealing each other’s food from each other’s plate whenever one of the two culprits happened to be looking the other way. This always lead, without any exception, to fake rows and even more stealing food and hiding hearing aids in between courses ….

In the end, they always managed to make up before the main course was served and all was well again, but not that particular year, which will be engraved in my mind ….

We had the extraordinary luxiourity of having the choice between ‘Game’ or ‘Poultry’, which left me as a five year old in a puzzle, so I remember myself asking uncle Rik which he thought I would like best…

My uncle Rik clearly did not know what he was about to cause as he answered: ‘You know the big park don’t you?’
I nodded ‘yes’…
‘You know the animals that look like Bamby and the birds looking like Donald Duck?’
Again I nodded ‘yes’, now getting in both suspense and anxiety over the answer …

He then continued: ‘Well, we went into the park yesterday and brought one Bamby and one Donald Duck home and especially cooked them for this dinner’ …

Needless to say that this answer left me horrified, in tears and devastated for the rest of the evening.

This was the year I stopped liking Christmas dinners, however nice the present was that I got. No present ever would be able to match Bamby or Donald Duck!


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One response to “Donald Duck or Bambi, for dinner?”

  1. Good! You landed. Welcome at WH. May the madness of the Great Mogwanians touch you gently on the forehead…

    luxiourity…   I like that. It has a nice, Freudian ring to it.  I’ve never heard it before, but never mind that. I know exactly what you mean.

    Good story, good style, good narrator’s technique. Building up the suspense.

    I think it is probably only with the benefit of reflection, that we realize how much our personalities and outlooks were shaped for LIFE by these seemingly trivial childhood events.

    Writing, whimsically, the way you do, about being young, is something I have done a few times. I’ll offer you "Going to Confession" which speaks of a bygone time, before the slow, steady, seemingly unstoppable advent of cynicism.

    I like your style very much. Don’t forget, if you want to post in Dutch, go right ahead, and I’ll reply in Navajo code!

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