Pálinka for St. Huberto's Feast

After the avalanche, the lodge stayed covered in snow for months, but I found an entrance at the back.  Two days later we have the St. Huberto’s holiday in Slovakia. So my friends invited me to the celebration.

To get there I cut a tree to put over this stream, a stream of water that goes around the Roztoka, to get on the other side and down to Slovakia.  I went and cut the tree for the bridge, I used the axe to cut steps and now I have something with steps and so on, like a bridge over the river.  Heh, Heh.  And Eh.  And so I crossed the river and went to celebrate the St. Huberto’s holiday.*

St. Huberto’s holiday was on the Slovakia side of the Tatra Mountains. So first of all, when I got there I saw two big kettles, one full of pálinka.  Pálinka is a vodka, very strong.  I guess here it would be about 160 American proof. I like pálinka very much. The other kettle was boiling with the meat of the deer – venison.  The meat was very good. 
So everybody gets a pint of deer, and a pint of pálinka.  And we’re eating and everybody is happy.  We are singing songs and happy. On the second pint of pálinka, only a few are singing. Some of us just sat there thinking about what we lost during the war, and crying, tears rolling down their cheeks. I was crying too, when I thought about the war. 
They encouraged me and kept cheering me on with a third cup of pálinka. “Go on. Go on. You’re a young fellow, you can drink!”  

When everyone got quiet, I sat off by myself and decided to go home.  I think I had three or four cups of pálinka.  I went to the river, and looked all up and down but I couldn’t find my bridge. So I said the hell with it and just walked through the river and went home. I got home, laid down in my clothes and fell asleep right away. 
In the morning I woke up but I cannot move.  What the hell?  I tried to sit up and I saw what happened.  My legs were frozen on the outside – frozen and that’s inside the lodge. Inside (myself)  I was still warm from the pálinka.  I didn’t feel too good, but I was alright enough. Again, I was lucky – no frostbite or anything. You know – in Poland in the winter it’s so cold when you spit it’s frozen before it hits the ground. 
I like pálinka very much. And I have something else I like very much:  potato vodka. – Henry Zguda
*According to two Catholic web sites, St. Hubert, or Hubertus, or for Henry Huberto is the patron saint of hunters.  His feast day is November 3. 
And for totally unrelated trivia, (again if you trust Wikipedia) the label on Jaigermeister, a German alcohol my father used to favor, also features all kinds of hunter symbolism.  Jaigermeister literally means ‘master of hunters’ in Germany.  The label features a Christian cross over stag antlers – the symbol of St. Hubertus. Jaigermeister was introduced in 1935 during the Third Reich – not far from Slovakia.  At the time Hermann Göring also held the title of  Reichsjägermeister or literally ‘Imperial Gamekeeper.’ Thus the alcohol was initially nicknamed “Göring-Schnaps.”  
So I accept that hunters, and St. Huberto, as patron saint of hunters, is very honored in that part of Europe.  And I readily admit I doubt I’d last past three sips of Pálinka. Henry always offered me a shot of vodka when we’d meet – maybe because we usually met at 9 am, I never accepted that shot of vodka!

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