The leaves have all fallen and it’s snowing outside as I write this: It’s December! In what is fast becoming an AAIG tradition, here is a past holiday card from the Geren household to help set the festive mood.
No, the irony of my name so closely resembling “German” isn’t lost on me. In fact, it kind of adds to the flavor, the “Christmas spice” if you will, that leads to the creation of these cards in the first place, and last year’s card was no exception.
Like most law-abiding, tax-paying, and clothes-wearing adults, Eve and I have a healthy fascination with werewolves.
Wait. You don’t? How odd. You should probably keep that to yourself, you weirdo. Now go put on some pants.
Anyway, because we live in Germany, the mecca of medieval werewolf lore, and because it was our first Xmas with our son Sam, it was only fitting that we created a card involving Sam, a medieval castle, and – you guessed it – werewolves. Naturally, we decided to create beer labels. But not just any beer labels, mind you: Burg Bier’s Weihnacht’s Ale (Castle Beer’s Christmas Ale) labels.
Burg Bier is, of course, a fake brewery we created as we live in a Burg up on a mountain. Everyone’s “home is their castle” as the saying goes, but ours kind of is: It’s made of stone block, has a wall, and sits on a mountain.
Okay, every house in Germany is made from stone, our wall is short and has a gate so the postman can deliver us the stuff that we are too agoraphobic to buy in town, and the mountain is more of a large hill. Tomato, Tomatoe.
Like the wine bottle labels from five years ago, we also created actual folding cards as you cannot ship alcohol to the US. Too bad for those Stateside: It was a delicious and rather hoppy Pilsner, just bitter enough to take the blame of your grimace that was actually caused by your uncle’s foot-breath. He gets much too close when wishes you “Frohe Weihnachten”, doesn’t he?
Also, and as too was the case with the wine labels, I wrote a poem for the backside. Unlike with the wine labels, this particular poem explains the creation of the beer itself. This is important so that people (A) don’t think that we actually don medieval dress every day (only on Saturdays, really), and (B) don’t think that we are stranger than we really are. Sam will have to attend school here eventually and we’d like him to have friends. Okay, a friend. That also wears chainmail.
As it will be hard to read, even when opened in a separate window, I have pasted the poem text below
“In a time long ago, in ancient Germany,
A royal family did live, though oft filled with anxiety.
Though normally happy, a secret they kept,
By day they smiled, but at night, rarely slept.
The secret they hid? They all shared a curse,
As the full moon drew close, it grew steadily worse.
This family were werewolves, passed down over time.
There was nothing to do, it was in their blood line.
In means of defense, they built a burg on a hill,
Not to protect themselves; to hold them against their will.
For as the full moon drew close, the curse they were under,
the walls kept them from tearing peasants asunder.
For further safety, they got a lion for a pet,
To keep them inside, so no blood could they let.
With powerful jaws it would bite, if they deigned to stray,
another benefit was that it kept salesmen away.
But their true salvation, what kept the curse at bay,
Was a special elixir, conceived on a cold winter’s day.
Twas the 24th of December, and as the father turned,
His wife fed him a drink; away his hunger it burned.
One sip of this concoction, the change it did stay,
He looked at his wife, but then looked away.
“What’s wrong”, my love, she did ask with a frown.
“Our baby’s to young to drink; he’s crawled into town”.
That night there was mayhem, as the baby did feed,
On the townsfolk and livestock, with slobbering greed.
That was the birth of Burg Bier, the truth I’ve let slip,
This is why Germans sometimes give their babies a sip”.
And so that is the tale, folks. As anyone who has one knows, rearing a toddler can be like raising a werewolf: They both bite, howl as if possessed by Satan himself, and drool uncontrollably.
The next time your little demon experiences these symptoms, go ahead and give them a sip. Sure, maybe they are just being the tiny insane creatures that all toddlers are, but maybe, just maybe, they are about to transform into tiny insane creatures with a lust for blood. You’re not a bad parent; You are a saver of lives.
Did it work? Of course it didn’t. I was just kidding. Didn’t you read the part where the baby doesn’t drink because it’s too young? Besides, your kid isn’t really a werewolf. It’s just a poem I made up, and you clearly didn’t get the allegory. In the story, the father takes a sip to prevent his transformation, and not into a werewolf, but into that snarling parent-beast that has lost both his patience and his grip due to the havoc wreaked by every young child. If music soothes the savage beast, then a couple swigs of good strong German beer makes it roll over onto it’s belly and purr.
Now, I hear that you are hosting Weihnachten this year. Fret not, fearful father; you have some Weihnachts Ale on hand. You’re covered.
Wait. Your in-laws are sleeping over? Dear god, man! Quick! Stock the fridge! Now by a second one and stock it!
Why the panic? Because your in-laws will undoubtedly bring their little lunatic lycans, and you’re going to need all the help you can get. One is hard enough to contend with on its own, but the sinister shenanigans of wee wolves multiplies exponentially when they are among their own kind.
They are pack hunters, and your sanity is their prey.