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Gary Brown: Eat mincemeat pie for a good 2010

Gary Brown

"As many mince pies as you eat at Christmas, so many happy months you will have.”

That’s from the 2010 version of the Old Farmer’s Almanac. So if you’re superstitious and want to guarantee an entire year of happiness, you might want to start eating pies soon. There’s not much more than a couple of weeks left before Christmas, and unless you eat mincemeat earlier than the rest of us, we’ve all still got a dozen pies to down before the holiday’s over.

Actually, we should be eating 13 mince pies apiece if we want to make sure that we have a happy December. Call it a pie baker’s dozen. You see, the 2010 Old Farmer’s Almanac doesn’t just cover next year’s months. It gives us information for November and December of the year we’re in when we buy the almanac.

That’s what I like about the Farmer’s Almanac people. They’re forgiving. If I didn’t buy last year’s almanac, they don’t seem to hold it against me.

November is gone, of course, so we wasted any information supplied on that month’s calendar. Folksy advice such as “Don’t turn up your trousers before you get to the brook” and “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” technically doesn’t apply anymore. Still, geese are more Christmas menu items than Thanksgiving entrees, so maybe many of us will be saucing up goose or gander leftovers through the end of December.

Much of the Farmer’s Almanac is similarly lasting. Poetry turned into a weather report for November really is only a preview of the expected coming of the winter season.

“Yet again it’s cold and storming;

“Whatever happened to global warming?”

The Farmer’s Almanac people are witty weather forecasters, albeit maybe not terribly specific about it.

“Watch for sleeting, even rime,” the December calendar advises in its own rhyme, which starts to apply about this time of month. “Snow turns rainy, then sunshine!”

That about covers every weather condition. But, we don’t really read the Farmer’s Almanac for a forecast, do we? We read it for entertainment. We read it for country wisdom, fascinating folklore and  homespun tips.

We read it, I’m finding out, for helpful warnings about pie-related happiness.

Days are dwindling. I’m not going to mince words here. We need to start eating pies today if we’re going to eat enough of them this Christmas to carry our happiness over to the next holiday season.

Part of me wants to say that this just is a silly old farmer’s tale. I’m sure you’ll have happiness whatever months you’re meant to have happiness next year, whether you eat mince pies or not.

But, the part of me that likes mince pies remembers that my family had them every Christmas. I haven’t had a mince pie for years. That part of me isn’t going to waste a perfectly good — and pretty tasty — reason for resuming a tradition in mince-based gluttony. I may even buy ice cream and have superstition a la mode.

Gary Brown writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at gary.brown@cantonrep.com.