Roll over Rudolph, you’e been upstaged

We recently carted three of the grandchildren to a library Christmas program billed as one of Santa’s elves bringing animals from the North Pole, including a live reindeer.

A skeptic in our group voiced concern it might not be a real reindeer. Her exact harsh words were, “I didn’t buckle an infant and two toddlers in car seats to see a dog wearing antlers.” Such cynicism. At Christmas no less. And only age 29.

It was a real reindeer, a reindeer so real that it made a deposit of chocolate chips shortly after the animal handler, dressed like an elf, led it into the room. The kids were thrilled and the room was fragrant.

The reindeer was a fine creature, but it was too late. The reindeer had been upstaged. What everyone will remember was the parlor roller pigeon.

Pay attention here because, if you haven’t had the (pick one) joy, fright, or shock of witnessing a parlor roller pigeon in motion, your holidays have been incomplete. Unable to fly and bred to roll, a parlor roller pigeon transports itself by curling up like a large softball with wings and propelling forward.

As demonstrated by the elf, you take a parlor roller pigeon in hand, assume a horseshoe toss position, draw back slightly, then let ‘er roll.

The story goes that years ago, before people bonded at large family holiday gatherings by texting, tweeting, checking e-mail, gluing themselves to their cell phones and posting on Facebook, they played parlor games rolling pigeons across the floor.

So the meal is over, the dishes have been done, and Grandma and Grandpa shuffle to the parlor to push large furniture up against the walls. The roller pigeons are about to commence. The winner of the game is the parlor roller pigeon that rolls the longest distance. And to think this family pastime would one day be replaced by video games.

The elf rolled a parlor roller pigeon down the center aisle as kids and adults shrieked and screamed. Kids screamed in delight while others like myself shrieked at the thought that the agents who shut down Michael Vick would be busting through the doors of the library. I pondered the possibility of having to use booking mug shots on our family Christmas card. On the upside, it’s never been done before.

Having a rolling bird with flapping wings hurtle into your path is a different sort of holiday exhilaration that takes you beyond “Fa-la-la-la-la” and into the realm of “AIYEEEEEEEE!”

When the bird stopped rolling, it stood, then took a few staggering steps. If the pigeon had exited a car like that it would have been subjected to a breathalyzer test.

You can certainly see how parlor roller pigeons would take the edge off of the holidays. Can’t listen to Uncle Irv’s stories one more time? Why don’t we race the parlor rollers?

Those kids yelling, running and slamming doors have you wound tight? Hand them a parlor roller pigeon and send them outside.

This year, if anyone asks, “Where did Lori disappear to?” someone should listen for the sound of furniture moving in the family room.