The week before Thanksgiving was spent cooking and cleaning, and by the time the big day came, I was prepared. The turkey was thawing in the refrigerator. The gravy was also thawing in the refrigerator. The green bean casserole had been made. Ditto for the yeast rolls. The house was dusted, scrubbed, and vacuumed. All that could be done ahead of time had been done.
Then came the call from Shannon on Thanksgiving Day. Her dog, Holly, was sick. Very sick. Perhaps it was a flu, perhaps Holly had eaten something she shouldn’t. Whatever the case, Holly was too sick to bring and too sick to leave alone for that length of time. Therefore, Mike and Shannon wouldn’t be coming over for dinner.
Because Dee was with Shannon in South Portland, this meant that Clif had to pick her up in Topsham—halfway for both Shannon and Clif. (Mike stayed home with the dog while Shannon brought Dee to Topsham.) While I had done all that I could ahead of time, there were still many last minute things to do, and I was counting on Clif to help me. But there was no way around it. Clif had to fetch Dee, and I had to finish the last of the getting ready by myself.
Nevertheless, all seemed to be going well. Clif picked up Dee. Our friends arrived and settled in the living room with wine, nuts, cheese, and crackers. Then chaos descended as the turkey came out of the oven, and various dishes went from the microwave, where they were heated, to the oven, where they would stay warm. As Dee mashed the potatoes—mounds and mounds of them—bits of potato flew onto the counter and onto her sweater. I juggled dishes from the microwave to the stove and finally to the sideboard in the dining room. Was the candle lit? Yes. Did everyone have water? They did. And more wine as well. Olives, pickles, squash bread? Check, check, check.
We gathered together around the table, and I actually sighed gratefully. Everything tasted good. The food was even vaguely warm.
But later that night, after everyone had left, Clif said, “I didn’t have any stuffing.”
“Oh?” I replied. “Well, maybe your plate was too full and you didn’t have any room.”
Then I started thinking about my own plate. Had I eaten any stuffing? I couldn’t remember that I had.
We are a family that loves stuffing, and I had actually made extra, in a casserole dish, as there is never enough in the turkey.
I had a sneaking suspicion about that stuffing, and when I checked, my suspicions were confirmed. Both stuffings, two huge dishes full, were still in the oven, pushed to the back. They had never made it to the sideboard.
And here’s the funny thing. At dinner, our friend Jill had commented on how during a big hectic meal, dishes sometimes were forgotten in the oven. Did Jill miss the stuffing? She didn’t mention it, and I think she would have done so had she noticed its absence. Nevertheless, it was a funny coincidence, especially since it was the first time I had forgotten anything in the oven.
Ah, well. We feasted, we talked, and thanks to the dishwasher, clean up was pretty easy.
And along with all the other leftovers, we had lots of stuffing. Plenty to bring to Shannon when we visited on Saturday, where an almost fully-recovered Holly was happy to see us.
Now, onward to Christmas!