We had just moved to Alabama a few months before and my husband returned to Kentucky to bring our daughter home from college for the holidays. 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 house shoes, 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 landed 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 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 is a multi-genre author currently writing for seven digital publishers. Her available titles include contemporary and historical fiction, short stories, and poetry.
Linda's first books of fiction were released by Kensington. The Market House Theatre produced one of her plays on WPSD-TV.
In her other life, Linda was a teacher, counselor, and psychometrist in McCracken County and Paducah City Schools. She is a graduate of PCC and MSU with post-graduate work at U. of AL, Tuscaloosa. She and her husband now spend time in their native Kentucky and the Gulf Coast of Florida, stopping enroute to visit their children in Nashville. She gives credit to her supportive family for their technical help that enables her survival in Cyberspace.
Let Nothing You Dismay, set in Paducah, first published in a Kensington Christmas anthology, has just been released in print as a single title. Another holiday book, The Twelve Days of Christmas, set in Murray, is also available now in print. This Time Forever, a Civil War saga can now be purchased in print or ebook, just in time to commemorate the Sesquicentennial. For more information Linda invites you to visit her website at www.lindaswift.net
The Civil War brought casualties beyond the bloody battlefields as North fought South. Philip Burke, against his family's wishes, volunteered to defend the Union and became a prisoner of war who bartered his medical expertise to remain out of prison. When the Union Army invaded Tennessee, Clarissa Wakefield's antebellum mansion became a Confederate hospital. Philip was placed in charge and against propriety she volunteered to stay on and help nurse the wounded. Clarissa's husband was a Confederate soldier and Philip's fiancée waited for him in Oswego but the fire between them soon raged out of control. As the opposing armies fought for possession of Chattanooga, Clarissa and Philip faced their own battle. Caught in the passions of war and love, with hurt inevitable either way, would they be faithful to their vows or listen to their hearts?