The Christmas Goose
by Edith Wallace
In the fall of 1947 I started to work at Camp Dolan, Headquarter Building of the 15th Constabulary Squadron in Schwaebisch Hall-Hessental. I worked in the office of the communications section. Next to my office was the radio room, where all day long I heard Morse code messages sent and across the hall was the message center, part of our unit. There were 25-27 men in this platoon, almost all over 6’ tall. What a place! Although I made it my policy not to date anyone I was working with, eventually I did change my mind.
After one weekend, shortly before Christmas I came to work not too happy. When Sgt. Wallace came in and asked me how I was. I answered him, “Not too happy.”
“How come,” he asked. I told him that I had spent all weekend going from one farm to the next, trying to find a goose for our Christmas dinner. I told him that nobody wanted to let go of any of their fowl because times were still bad in Germany and everything was still rationed. He left and after a while he came back with a piece of paper on which was written “Gaense”. “Is this what you want?” he asked, and I said, “ Yes, but only one of them; you have the plural written on your paper. “I’ll get you one,” he said and left. I said to myself, sure you’ll get one, I wonder where. I only looked all weekend and went to a good 20 farms and I can speak to the people, but you, you are another one of those bragging Americans that can do the impossible.
I went back and did my work. Days went by and Christmas was coming closer. Saturday Wallace came bursting into the office and said: “ Do you know how to kill a goose?” I replied, “Of course not and what do you mean?” He said, “You will not believe it, but I have a live goose in my quarters! Fritz brought me a goose and the damn thing is still alive!” I said,“ You are kidding.” How did he ever get it inside the Post? Wallace left because inspection of the barracks was about to start. Soon another soldier came in and said, “That Wallace has a live goose in his barracks and it got out of the sack and is crapping all over the room”. I began to feel guilty for some reason. I started to work really hard and buried my head in a bunch of papers. I expected a blow up of sorts any minute now, but all was quiet for a while. Soon, Sgt. Gib came in and said, “My God, Wallace has a live goose in his room and when the inspectors came, he shoved it across the hall into my room really quick and the goose did not want to go. Then, when the inspectors got near my room, Wallace went in and got the goose out and moved it back into his quarters, what a mess. But we all passed inspection.”
We only worked half days on Saturdays and it was getting close to noon. Suddenly the door opened and Wallace came in with a bundle under his arm. “What have you got there?” I asked. “Your goose,” he said. “Come on, let’s go”. I asked him if it was dead and he replied, “Yes”. Reluctantly, I asked, “You did not do it, did you?” “No,” he answered, “one of the guys over in the barracks is a farmer and he did it for me, there is blood all over the snow outside my window.”
We proceeded to walk to my home, which was about 3 miles away from camp, and my parents met Sgt. Wallace, my future husband. Besides the goose, Wallace also brought us some coffee, cookies and other goodies and of course we invited him to dinner. He already had an invitation to a turkey dinner at the Master Sergeant’s house in the afternoon, but he came to our house, too, and had his very first Christmas goose dinner. We also celebrated my 19th birthday. That was the last Christmas goose I had. Since then, we have turkey for the holiday. This is a true Story.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
from Edith and Les Wallace
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