Remember the song “Grandma got run over by a reindeer?” It’s a holiday anthem dedicated to the violent demise of a beloved relative by the crushing of caribou hooves.

Despite the song’s catchy beat (and homicidal message)…I have to confess that I’ve never been clear as to the moral of the story. It could be any one of the following:

• Don’t let grandma drink eggnog and walk home unsupervised.

• Beware of Santa. He is a vicious bloodthirsty criminal, and not to be trusted under any circumstances.

• If someone passes away during the holidays, it is best to prethink the ethics of the gift policy as the dilemma to keep or return unwanted trinkets can be overwhelming. OR…

• It’s time to get new relatives when one’s grievance period includes football and drinking beer with Cousin Mel rather than planning a lovely memorial service. It was GRANDMA, for goodness sake!

So what does a savage Christmas song have to do with the latest Iowa Roadie adventure? Perhaps nothing…except remind me of another four-legged horse-like creature. Or rather, in this case, a THREE-legged horse-like animal named “The Wonky Donkey” who not only is missing a leg but has some serious hygiene and behavioral deficits as well.

The Wonky Donkey is both a best-selling children’s book and a song, and the Iowa Roadie was excited to discover that this misfit burro was being honored at The Lucky Donkey Bar & Grill in Boxholm, Iowa with its very own “Ugly Sweater Wonky Donkey Party.” (Seriously readers…what part of that description does not scream good ol’ fashioned Christmas fun?) So donned in a hideous vest bearing poinsettias and gold sparkles, the Iowa Roadie and her husband (dressed in normal clothing bearing neither flowers nor sparkles) paid a visit to The Lucky Donkey for its festivities.

Prior to the Wonky Donkey party, I had considered Festivus the pinnacle of holiday fun. For those of you unfamiliar with Festivus, it is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the focus of a 1997 Seinfeld episode. This holiday celebration includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength”, and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles”.

After attending the Wonky Donkey party, I may categorize its celebration as a Festivus miracle. What joy! What fun! An adult read-along disguised as a drinking game. How it works is that everyone receives free donkey punch. (FREE donkey punch…Another Festivus miracle!) Every time the reader said the words “Wonky Donkey” (which is every page), one got to take a drink. There was also an element of audience participation, as party-goers were selected to hold up signs bearing adjectives used to describe our decrepit donkey, (The Iowa Roadie was honored to flash the word “cranky.”) and everyone got to hee haw in unison.

Spoiler alert…I will now share the last page of this gripping barnyard tale with you. (If reading this at home, you may prepare and raise your own cup of donkey punch.) Here goes…

“I was walking down the road and I saw a donkey, HEE HAW!

He only had three legs,

One eye,

He liked to listen to country music,

He was quite tall and slim,

He smelt really, really bad,

That morning he’d got up early and hadn’t had any coffee,

He was always getting up to mischief…

But he was quite good looking!

He was a spunky, hanky-panky CRANKY (insert Iowa Roadie holding up sign) stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey!” (take a drink of donkey punch)

Kudos to Wonky Donkey author Craig Smith for these clever lyrics. Although originally written for children, they are equally suited for middle-aged bar patrons wearing Christmas onesies and drinking donkey punch. The diversity of this book is another Festivus miracle!

In fact the Lucky Donkey seems to hold an affinity for youthful activities. Its one- year anniversary in March features Pin the Tail on the Lucky Donkey. Every hour on the hour, there will be a pin the tail on the donkey game and the person who gets the closest wins a free drink. The Iowa Roadie is already planning future child-themed events. What harm could come from playing Twister or Duck Duck Goose with intoxicated adults?

I feel compelled to backtrack a bit with this Iowa Roadie adventure. When we arrived at the Lucky Donkey, we broke our self-prescribed rule and did not sit at the bar (as it was full). Instead we seated ourselves at a little pub table where we engaged in a lovely conversation with a group of regular LD patrons including owners Kevin and Heather. Kevin was wearing an ugly Christmas vest with a headless Santa body. Heather wore a similar vest with a headless elf body AND beneath that, she wore a donkey costume. The couple were quite friendly and even gave us complimentary Lucky Donkey koozies. (Another Festivus Miracle!) Quick word of caution for Heather…Think very carefully before donning your donkey costume at the upcoming Pin the Tail on the Donkey event.

Besides the donkey punch, we were treated to a drink called Lucky’s Lil’ Beers. (I may rename them as “A Shot of Heaven” or “Just Plain YUM.”) Lucky’s lil beers are served in shot glasses that look like mini beer mugs. Licor 43 is poured in the glass and then topped off with heavy cream. The result looks just like a mini mug of beer with a foam head, but tastes like cake or another equally scrumptious dessert treat. These were so delicious that the Iowa Roadie’s husband has since purchased a bottle of Licor 43 (found at Hy Vee) and ordered via amazon prime a set of 12 mini mugs (11 more than we realistically will ever need).

The Lucky Donkey also serves another drink befitting unicorn porn. With the purpose of keeping this writing PG, I can only say that the drink’s innocent pink tint and tropical coconut flavor conflicted with its name defiling the mythical single-horned creature. We later discovered that the second floor of the Lucky Donkey used to be a brothel, so perhaps the X-rated unicorn drink was simply a tribute to the bar’s scandalous history. I want to clarify that the bordello has not existed for many years, and that the Lucky Donkey in no way operates such an establishment. They only serve naughty unicorn drinks…as well as a delicious chicken sandwich and pickle pucks, the source of any number of food-related tongue twisters.

For example…Peter picked a peck of pickled pickle pucks. Try saying that five times fast. OK…now try saying it after drinking donkey punch or the naughty unicorn drink. The result is not so much a wonky donkey…but a tipsy ass. Hee Haw!

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