Dave Cooks the Turkey, by Stuart McLean. Pub 2005
A gift from Christmas 2021 (thanks, Mom!), this seemed like a good holiday read for this year. Although very brief, it was a delight.
For more than 20 years, Stuart McLean was the creator, writer, and host of a Canadian treasure called The Vinyl Café. Part story-telling, part variety show, the radio program and accompanying touring show featured McLean’s signature creation: the misadventures of Dave and Morley and their family and friends. Their experiences were at once familiar to many, and McLean had a knack for taking those familiar misunderstandings and mishaps of life and making them humorous and touching and memorable.
“Dave Cooks the Turkey” is a quintessential Dave and Morley story, wherein a seemingly simple Christmas activity – cooking the turkey – becomes fraught with slapstick humour and family pathos. No spoilers here; suffice to say, it all works out in the end and becomes legendary for Dave and for all of us. Many of the Dave and Morley stories are funny and poignant, but the Christmas ones are real gifts to us all.
While the story itself is a treat, it is made even better by reading aloud, as recommended by McLean himself in the introduction. Better than that even is to find a version of McLean himself reading it at a live event.
Fate: I will hang on to this one, keep it with my Christmas cards and decorations, and enjoy it each Christmas.
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