Mid-November, Roscoe, a spring pig, kicked off the meeting in the Anderson’s barn. “Please everyone, quiet down.” He looked over his glasses at his notes. “It looks as we’ve only one thing on our agenda this week.”
“Yahoo,” everyone cheered as Roscoe cleared his throat, continuing. “As you know we had quite a few problems with our Christmas gifts last year.
“Tell me about it,” some mumbled.
“All I got was a used pink scarf,” Julie, a goose, smugly whispered to her best friend, Madge. “I don’t care what anyone says, I know I saw the Anderson’s daughter wearing the same scarf just before Thanksgiving; and I know she lost it bobsledding down by the creek.” She waggled her rump. “Harrumph, and then someone gave it to me.”
Roscoe held up his hooves. “Okay. I know you all got stories. But it was hard year last Christmas, so not everyone could give as much as others”
“Well it ain’t been no do-si-do this year either year; case you didn't noticed,” someone offered.
More mumbling from the crowd followed and Roscoe went on. “So, this year,” he paused, “we’ll be doing a Secret Santa.”
“What a wonderful idea,” everyone cheered.
Roscoe nodded. “I agree; and Hazel here will be writing down everyone’s name to draw later.”
“Hazel? Julie whispered to Madge. “Why her writing looks like pigeon scratching. No one’s going to be able to read it.”
“Hazel is a pigeon, so of course that’s what it’ll look like. Now shush so we can hear what’s what.”
But Julie wouldn’t be shushed. “Rhoda would have been a better choice, you know.”
“She’s a hen and her scratching’s not much better than Hazel’s.”
“But I just know Hazel’s going to mix my name up and whoever gets it will think it’s that fancy-schmancy, Guernsey, Junie who spells her name funny and not Julie. Just wait and see - she’ll end up with two gifts and I won’t get any.”
Later that day, Hazel came around to write their names down. When she got to Julie, Julie, thinking herself clever, said, “My name is Julie Ann. That’s two words, you know. Mother was into arithmetic and she gave her goslings two names.”
Hazel smiled and dutifully wrote down Julie Ann and continued around the barn collecting names for the drawing that evening.
Watching her, Julie turned to Madge. “I wonder who will pull my name. Maybe I’ll even get two gifts, because I’ve two names.”
“And what gift will you give?”
Julie put a wing over her beak so not to be heard. “I thought about those hideous red-rubber galoshes I got last spring from Prissy. But I already gave them to … well I can’t remember. But I do know she got them from Mandy. Can you imagine?”
“The ones with yellow umbrellas? You gave them to me - for my birthday!”
Julie blushed. “Well they are practical; and red is such a good color for geese, you know.”
Madge raised her beak. “Well, anyway, Roscoe did say no re-gifting.”
“One can only hope,” Julie honked.
They then went about their day until the drawing, which was done with much fanfare and excitement. Everyone wondered who got their name and what gift they could give in kind.
Christmas Eve arrived. All the gifts were neatly wrapped and placed around a hay pile that had been artfully shaped with bailing wire to look like a straw Christmas tree.
Roscoe called out names and each opened their gifts with glee and thankfulness. When Madge opened hers, she stared at Julie in disbelief.
Julie spoke up before Madge could utter a word. “It was so hard not saying anything; and honestly, I was surprised as you when I pulled your name. I know Roscoe said no re-gifting, but since it was you; and you said you admired the scarf…”
Madge’s feathers ruffled. “I said no such thing...”
Just then, Roscoe called out Julie’s name and sure enough, there were two gifts.
“Can you believe how lucky I am?” Julie beamed, waddling up to receive her presents.
“Open them,” Madge urged.
Julie ripped open the first gift. Her eyes widened with surprise. And, then she opened the second, only to find it identical to the first, but rather a left than a right.
“They’re from me.” Madge smiled. “I knew you wouldn’t mind; and, red is such a good color for geese, you know.” And with that, she waddled away, flipping the pink scarf behind her.
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