Some of you may remember several years ago when I started doing weekly reports. I would occasionally write a short story, strictly mindless in nature, to sort of end the sometimes serious business of crime reporting with something a bit lighter in nature.
This is a rehashed article I wrote for the paper a couple of Christmases ago. With the impending holiday dinner on the horizon, I thought I would once again bring this story out of retirement.
Merry fruitcake, you nuts
As the Christmas holidays close in on us, we carry on the age-old traditions of our relatives. Among those traditions are scaring the hell out of the small kids with second-rate Santa outfits that make Uncle Gene look more like Nunda the Ax Murderer than St. Nick.
The money we spend on this holiday is obscene. Every year I vow to stop the madness, set an example and refuse to accept anything materialistic — until I see the cool stuff I want.
I like to listen to Christmas music during the holiday season. Where else can you get Burl Ives, Kenny G., Michael Bolton and Bing Crosby in the same set? Weird? Maybe — but it’s Christmas! Nothing has to make sense until the credit card bill arrives in January.
No Christmas holiday season is complete without the annual “Christmas Story” marathon and fruitcake. Nothing says Christmas like watching Santa push Ralphie down the slide and eating something that weighs more than your car. What is this fruitcake and how did it get here?
Fruitcakes — a historical perspective
Fruitcakes can be traced back to the middle ages. The name is from the Latin term “Fructus” combined with the French word Frui or Frug. (Initially the name was Spartacus, but there were copyright problems.)
References to fruitcake can be traced back as far as the Romans. They reportedly used them to sustain themselves over long periods of time, but I believe more than likely they used them for weapons. Here is an actual paragraph taken from the history books describing the Roman army:
A key moment in Roman history was the introduction of the census (the counting of the people) under Servius Tullius. With this, the citizens were graded into five classes. The most wealthy — the first class — were the most heavily armed, equipped like the Greek hoplite warrior with helmet, round shield, greaves and breastplate, while carrying a spear and a big ol’ fructus.
In the early 1400’s the British discovered fruitcakes.
The Lambert Family, England 1400:
My husbands ancestor Thomas Lyman, born in Navistoke, England abt. 1470, married Elizabeth Lambert born in High Ongar in 1474. Elizabeth’s father was Robert, son of Rolling Stone’s Keith Richards and Johanna Umfreville, daughter of Benny Hill. Richards was a real fruitcake. Loved to climb palm trees on holiday.
The British fell in love with fruitcakes soon after they began to receive dried fruits from the Mediterranean. (Sadly, the ships bringing modern dental-care techniques sank during a storm.)
The fact is that fruitcakes have been around for so long we accept it as part of the holiday tradition. And the part where you actually eat it has long since become insignificant. But, in case you’re interested…
You and your fruitcake — a holiday recipe
My friend J.W. Whitlock, owner/operator of the Pines Hunt’in Shack and exclusive distributor of Uncle “Buck” Nelson’s Artificial Doe Urine and other hunting supplies, has a big get-together during the Christmas holidays. Part of that get-together involves making his famous recipe for fresh fruitcake. The other part involves adult beverages and lawn darts.
What significance does this have?
A lot. That means some folks enhance the holidays with a bit of drink and fun fare. As long as you are not driving or operating heavy machinery (only light machinery), there should be no problem.
Here is a recipe for J.W. Whitlock’s Fresh Fruitcake.
The symbol (*) indicates you can add one ounce of grain alcohol in addition to the listed ingredient.
*Note: This is satire and I am mostly kidding because I don’t condone any irresponsible behavior involving alcohol or lawn darts, although it tends to produce some funny human behavior when funny humans drink. Drink responsibly, which may, in itself, be an oxymoron, but keep your silliness out of the car!