Holiday Follies



The kids didn’t seem to be taking the hint.

Let me explain.

This last Thanksgiving started out as a beautiful day. The house was cleaned up the day before and I awoke to some minor tasks. My husband was off doing a ‘Turkey Trot’ and had left me with the task of stuffing the bird and putting it in the oven. The bird was cleaned and on a rack in the fridge and he had left extensive, clear directions, all laid out in a list on the whiteboard. The bird needed to be out of the refrigerator at 8, the oven should be turned on at 8:30. I just needed make the stuffing and follow the directions.

And it was going fine. I got the bird out on time and turned on the over and stuffed the bird and then…

I did turn on the oven, it’s just that I turned on the small upper oven as opposed to the big lower oven. Phooey! I thought and quickly turned the dial to off. Then I carefully pressed the right sequence of buttons to start the lower oven. I could handle this…no one would know.

But, as I watched the read-out, I realized that the oven temperature wasn’t going above 100. I re-did the sequence…several times. Then I bit the bullet and called my husband…several times but he didn’t answer (stupid ‘Turkey Trot’). Then I realized that I’d turned the upper dial to clean instead of off.

I fixed it, and carefully explained the sequence of events to my husband as he was in the car driving home.

“Yeah, yeah.” he said. At home, he went through the same steps as I had taken. Several times. The temperature still wouldn’t budge.

“The oven’s broke.” he declared. “This party’s movin’ over to Greg and Ellen’s.”

“Surprise!” we hollered gaily, as we arrived with an uncooked turkey and a bag of potatoes.

The children actually took it very well. My daughter-in-law added appetizers as well as heavenly pies to her resume, and we all found places to sit. Miraculously, the turkey came out on time, and the side dishes were uniformly wonderful.

“Remember the first time my mother came to Thanksgiving at our house?” I reminisced to my husband. “She told me that the holiday seemed so much more relaxed at our house. I’d wanted to shout at her. “Of course, it seems more relaxed! I’m doing all the work!”

I turned to my daughter-in-law.

“The holiday seems so much more relaxed at your house.”

It may be fortunate that my daughter-in-law possesses a permanent inscrutable expression.

We had hoped that Christmas would turn out better. Once again, my husband had planned an elaborate meal. And pumpkin pie. My daughter-in-law was going to prepare a pear up-side down cake. Everyone had also taken the additional precaution of banning me from the kitchen. I was OK with that.

But our new high-tech oven apparently is haunted. (As tech savvy readers may have already realized, that evil oven had not actually broken at Thanksgiving, it simply shut down as a result of my turning the dial to clean rather than off.)

Our Christmas began with pop-overs in the morning, followed by presents, followed by card games. The main meal, a pork roast, was due to go in at around 2 and come out at 4. Everything went quite well until 4. At that point, my husband realized that the oven had mysteriously turned off.

“Oh.” I purred. “My husband is being a gentleman so that I will feel better about the whole Thanksgiving thing.”

“I think the ghost of Aunt Ellen is messing with us.” speculated my cousin.

“Something was beeping…everyone was ignoring it…and I may have turned something off.” confessed my son.

But I think it was an angry ghost. Because the oven turned off twice more during the course of the holiday. Once again before the pork came out, at 6:30, and then a third time while my daughter-in-law’s pear up-side-down cake was supposed to be cooking. At that point, we all noted that there are some occasions when her face shows expression.

“Well, you know what this means.” my husband said to the kids. “It means it’s time to move the holidays to your houses.”

At that point they all clamored to assure us loudly and repeatedly that the party had gone just fine.

“We all had cheese and fruit. And cheer…and more time to talk and play cards! The party was a smashing success!”

We sighed. The kids just didn’t seem to be taking the hint.

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