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Tis The Season
We had just moved to Alabama a few months before Christmas. My husband returned to Kentucky to bring our daughter home from college for the holidays and he also brought my widowed mother, his mother and her husband. They were to arrive in the early afternoon so I had the morning to prepare the turkey and dressing.
Not bothering to dress while cooking, I was wearing a faded chenille robe, floppy houseshoes, no makeup and had my hair in rollers. Things were going well as I attended other tasks while the bird basted in a plastic brown-n-serve bag. The stove timer alerted me that the bird was done and I removed the roasting pan and placed it on the stovetop. I was eager to get those succulent juices into the bowl of dressing I was mixing, so I attempted to move the pan to the counter across the room. It was heavier than I anticipated and the bird started sliding and ended up on the kitchen floor.
The bag burst and turkey broth spilled onto the floor and my fuzzy slippers while I stood in horrified shock. Then I went into action, grabbed a roll of paper towels and mopped up as much as I could. I managed to get the turkey back onto the pan and hoisted it to the counter, lamenting the loss of that essential broth.
While I mopped, I had a few choice words for Tom Turkey and the bag he browned in as I tried to figure out the best way to save the day. At least, this disaster had occurred while I was alone in the house and still had plenty of time to clean up the kitchen and myself. It was a moment before I heard the sound of a car horn in the driveway above my dark mutterings. And just then my husband stuck his head in the kitchen door and said with a wide grin, "Surprise. We got here early."
"Go drive around the block!" I snarled, as he crossed the kitchen with open arms to greet me with a kiss. Instead he slipped on the still-slick floor and clutched at me to steady himself, bringing us both down in a tangle. And we were thrashing about like two lovers in the throes of passion when the others appeared in the doorway.
"Don't come in," I yelled.
"Well, did you ever?" my mother-in-law said to my mother as they stopped in the doorway in shocked disbelief.
I finally disentangled myself and struggled up, while I tried to explain the situation. My daughter led her grandparents to the front door while my husband got a mop to clean the floor. I went to greet the family properly, then got dressed and returned to cope with the situation. I found some chicken broth in the pantry and my mother mixed the dressing while I grappled with the bird. He was nice and brown and looked rather regal when I placed him on a platter.
"Did you remember to take the giblet bag out of it?" My M-I-L asked as she eyed the bird with suspicion.
"Oh, yes, I did." I would have thought she'd forgotten that incident from my early marriage by now.
M-I-L made slaw while my daughter set the table. The men brought in the luggage and presents while we finished dinner preparations. I reminded myself that all's well that end's well as we sat at table savoring the holiday feast. But I couldn't help but notice that my M-I-L was eating dressing without any turkey.
Linda Swift divides her time between her native state of Kentucky and Florida. She has been writing since she was ten and is an award winning author of published poetry, articles, short stories, and a TV play. Her first two books were published by Kensington.
Linda's holiday ebooks are THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, Awe-Struck, and LET NOTHING YOU DISMAY, The Wild Rose Press. CIRCLE OF LOVE, TWRP, and HUMANLY SPEAKING (prose poems), Willow Moon Publishing, are available in ebook and print. Her Civil War historical, two contemporary fiction and one Haiku collection will be released in 2011