The two of us stand together, shoulder to shoulder, as if we’re mentally preparing ourselves to storm ahead yet we’re physically unable. Carla and Dean, mother and son, we’ve vowed to prepare a Thanksgiving meal to top all other meals of the past. My daughter usually dons the chef’s hat in this house. She’s amazing in the kitchen and has cooked a perfect meal for my entire extended family for the last few years. Never once has she pre-prepped anything aside from apple pie along with extra crusts the day before either, unless it was to marinate. Marsha insists that fresh is best, period, no argument accepted.
This year is different, and I have the feeling that we’ve bitten off more than we can chew. Dean, being the over-confident individual that he is, is completely to blame for getting us into this mess. Last Night, nonetheless, as Marsha was going over checklists and ingredients, double checking that she had everything needed to wake up and get busy, he had to go and say it.
“Anything you can do, we can do better.”
And that was that. Marsha smiled from ear to ear and told him, “Set your alarms then fella’s. You’ll need to be up by five to give yourselves enough time.”
I coughed, slightly choking on my wine, “Excuse me?” I protested. “Five?”
“Yep,” she beamed. “I’d start with the pie, so it can set up. Don’t do the turkey too early either, you don’t want it to be dry. Dinners at three, but you know GramGram will be here by noon with Aunt Charlotte, so you need all the finger foods finished and out by then to keep their hands out of the rest of the stuff. Trust me, you don’t want Auntie’s help.” She laughs, “not unless we want another kitchen fire scare.”
With that, Marsha handed me her checklist before she skipped off to her room, whistling an upbeat tune that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
“Shit,” I mumbled.
“Don’t worry, Mom,” Dean gave me a brute slap on the shoulder. “We’ve got this.”
He also wondered off. Leaving me on the couch alone, staring at a check off list that looked like something from a crime investigation office. Lines linked items from ingredients to time frames to certain dishes. What the hell is couscous anyway? I reached for a pen and cross that one off the list. I felt like an innocent bystander that caught a stray bullet. I sighed and went to bed, setting my alarm as commanded.
Now, here we are, standing around in our PJ’s, completely clueless. It’s 5:15 and all we’ve managed to do is make ourselves coffee and pull every single item of food from the fridge and pantry. It’s splayed out from one end of the room to the other, covering every inch of every surface.
“Hmmm,” I finally manage. “I’m blaming you for this.”
Dean only nods. “I know what we need,” he says and walks off. Again. Leaving me to stew.
I sigh, and start putting stuff back away. Not sure what we were thinking, but how the hell are we supposed to prepare anything without any counter space. Pie, she said pie. I line out five perfectly crisped pie crusts, and shout into the air.
“Alexa, how do I make lemon pie?”
My trusted friend without a face responds through a speaker on the coffee bar. I take a sip of my beverage and begin to fetch the ingredients Alexa tells me to. Dean comes waltzing back in with a couple of chef hats and aprons that he’d dug out of the Halloween bin in our basement.
“Wow,” I say. “That’s supposed to help?”
“Why yes, Head Chef Carla, it is.”
“Mom,” I say, “just call me mom.” I slip on a hat and snatch the more stylish apron as it’s covered in bread loaves and daisys.
“Not today, Mom. Confidence is key and we’ll never pull off this meal without it. You’re Head Chef Carla, and I’m Co-Cook Dean.”
He thinks about it with a proud smirk, then looks at me with one sturdy nod. I nod back with a stern face of determination and turn back to the task on hand. As Head Chef Carla, it’s my job to basically take over everything. So, I delegate the tedious task of constantly stirring one pie filling after another to my grown son in an apron, while I knead, mix, season and saute a medley of everything awesome. I really feel like we’re ahead of the game too… that is until Marsha finally decides to surface around ten.
I’m stopped in my tracks by a trail of high pitched noise coming up the hall. Co’Cook Dean gives me a nudge with an elbow. I force my eyes away from peeling potatoes on pause, to see his thumbs up approval and a grin that reads sheer pride across his face.
Marsha waltzes to the coffee bar, mixes some liquid and some creamer into a mug, still whistling whatever tune it was that must have jammed to yesterday. Likely, she fell asleep singing it and woke back up this morning to finish the sentence where she left off. This happens often. She leans against the coffee bar with her left hip.
She holds up a pointer finger, as if to help her count.
“Pie?” She asks.
“Check,” my Co-cook and I answer each time in unison.
“Baked mini pretzel roll ups?”
“Even the artichoke dip? That one you have to bake, so you’d need to do it before you put the turkey in, remember?”
At that comment my eyes widen. I look over at Dean to see his doing the same.
“THE TURKEY!” We both shout and begin scrambling around.
Together we’ve forgotten the turkey. I stand on a chair to sweep an arm across the spice cupboard, knocking them all onto the counter as Dean begins shuffling through them. Marsha chuckles and drops her forehead into her hand.
“Move aside fakers.” She says while rolling up her sleeves. “There’s still plenty of time to pull of an amazing turkey.”
I hope everyone had a very happy holliday week and month and the next month after that!!
This scene was brought to you by my characters in progress! For the second month in a row I’ve been able to introduce Carla and her twins to my blog! I’m SO excited about these WIP characters. This is the first time I’ve ever written a romantic comedy, and it’s been a blast!! My goal is to have the first draft finished by the end of the year, so you’ll likely be seeing much more of this fun family!!
A big fat THANK YOU to the Consistories Blog who participated in the challenge for NOV. WIP challenge! I absolutely love these characters they’re SO MUCH FUN!! Check out the scenes here: