The Freeware Hall Of Fame


New Year's Eve at the Boar' Head Inn
- A McKinley Morganfield Mystery -


Some years ago during a treasure hunt I found this manuscript taped to the underside of a concrete bench behind the old library. It told an interesting story of a local prank that may or may not have happened. But it sounds plausible.

At one time a group of central Virginians used to meet for occasional dinners at each other's homes and at finer dining establishments here.

Some of the members were chefs at restaurants and hotels; others were lovers of fine food and good judges of it. These soirees eventually turned into informal contests to see who could prepare the most interesting meal.

One year the Boar's Head Inn chef's time to host this group was New Year's Eve. That was perspicacious, for on New Year's Eve this group always wore formalwear. At the area's most sumptuous and splendid inn, formal dress would be appropriate.

Early in the day as plans were being made, it occurred to someone that in his freezer was the severed head of a large pig left over from the autumn pig roast. It had been placed in the freezer awaiting an auspicious time to re-enter society.

"Tonight we bring the pig," and no one thought otherwise.

While pondering how to get a huge porcine head into the inn undetected, the lasagne master volunteered to hide it under her crinoline skirt and carry it between her legs. The head was removed from the freezer to seek room temperature.

Eight hours later the group arrived at the inn dressed to the nines ready for the banquet. The men waited in the lobby while the women went off to the ladies, then they took their seats in the dining room.

"Uh ... where is it?" someone asked. "You'll see."

A few minutes later the chef delivered his welcome and the menu, and the group got a glimpse of treasures soon to be served. There was just enough time to see that the first course was oysters Rockefeller when a shriek, a bellow, then screeches were heard coming from the lobby down the hall.

The group glanced at each other, a tall blond chuckled, and they went back to their menus.

Eventually an explanation of the disturbance filtered back to the dining room by way of staff.

It seems a guest entered the women's powder room and, in search of smaller, private quarters, had entered a stall. There, according to her, she found a large, hairy animal climbing out of the porcelain facility.

She screamed and fled to the lobby, shrieking and bellowing. Staffers rushed to investigate.

The group never learned if staff tried to explain to her the difference between an aggressive, live animal and a dead one. Nor was it ever determined what became of the head. Nor did inn owner John Rogan ever learn how this occurred or who caused it.

It was decided not to involve the chef.

He did a great job with the meal, turned out a terrific rack of lamb, and the group ate and drank into the new year. It was superb fare and was voted No. 1 for the year.

How this manuscript came to be taped under a bench behind the old library and who wrote it we do not know. It was unsigned. As to whether fact or fiction, who can say.

But it's true there was a congenial gourmet group here in the 70s and 80s fitting that description, one of the members was a lively tall blond who specialized in lasagne, and they held pig roasts in the fall. That adds up to, as the fuzz would say, motive, means, and opportunity.

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