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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)

TITLE: Pot Roast and First Impressions
By Nancy Quinn


“No, this won’t do either.” I sat down on the bed and tossed the sweater toward the closet. It joined the rest of the rainbow of clothing on the floor that was also rejected. “It’s official. I have nothing to wear.” Pushing my toes into the white angora sweater closest to me, I warmed my toes as I twirled my engagement ring around my finger and reprimanded myself for being so nervous. What would they think of me? What would they think of their son for proposing to a hick from a farming town in Iowa? Kicking the sweater out of the way, I decided to wait for Jeff to come over and help choose my wardrobe. I’d never been to New York or flown in an airplane. I lay back on my bed and massaged my temples as a tension headache began to appear.
The steady hum of the plane soothed my nerves a little. Stowed safety in the cargo area underneath us was a bulging suitcase; my indecision had quickly filled the nylon bag. The tiny window soon framed the exciting scenes of New York. I was quickly overwhelmed with the sights of steel and concrete, and then caught my breath as a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty came into view. The plane bounced hard on the tarmac and Jeff patted my hand. Looking down, I realized my knuckles were white as they gripped the arm rest, so I slowly released my hold. I stood up behind Jeff and we patiently waited to enter the aisle to leave the crowded plane.

I grabbed Jeff’s arm as the sudden wall of people began to rush by us through the terminal. We slowly made our way to the luggage area and Jeff began waving. I peeked around his arm. “Hmm, they look normal.” Relieved, I had expected people from the city to all be dressed expensively and not have a hair out of place. After hugs and greetings, the car soon took us to the entrance of the on-ramp. I was getting good at the white-knuckled grip; the traffic awed me that no one was getting into accidents.

Jeff’s mom talked a mile a minute and commented that she was making Jeff’s favorite pot roast meal that night. “All he talks about is your pot roast and thick gravy; I can’t wait to taste it too!” I assured her.

We soon pulled up to the sidewalk at the line of row homes in Brooklyn. The cozy apartment welcomed us with the scent of a home cooked pot roast. With the suitcases put away, I offered to help her with dinner. “Would you like to make the gravy?” She asked as she efficiently moved around the kitchen.

Suddenly panicked, all the memories of my attempts to make gravy with my mom came rushing back. My gravy either comes out lumpy or too thin. Of all things, she had to ask me to do the one thing I couldn’t do. I would look so bad in front of her. I can do mashed potatoes. Why didn’t she ask me to make the mashed potatoes? She’d think I wasn’t worthy of her son. My rambled thoughts were soon interrupted. “What?”

“Honey, I said here you go. Just put it in that small pot on the stove to heat it up.”

“Oh, Ok, thanks.” Suppressing a laugh, I turned the gravy packet over and read the instructions.

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This article has been read 821 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Phyllis Inniss05/15/08
The ending caught me by surprise and I had to smile. You got through that build-up to meeting your in-law very nicely and you gave just sufficient detail to convey your tension. You did a very good job.
Sara Harricharan 05/15/08
Heehee! Good job with the suspense here, I liked how you showed how worried she was, and especially how you stayed within the POV. That was great-the ending was even better where it turned out to be a 'gravy packet'. Cute! ^_^
Debbie Wistrom05/15/08
This flowed smoothly. You conveyed your MC's emotions very well.

Bet she goes out and buys gravy packets to take home. ;}
Scott Sheets05/15/08
It's amazing how nervous we can get about certain situations when we don't need to. I certainly felt nervous with you in the story.
Mary McLeary05/15/08
As a country girl I identified with your character. I also felt immediately at ease when you got to the in-laws house- his mom and the smell of pot roast. Goodood job!
Lyn Churchyard05/17/08
Well written story, I liked your MC's voice and felt her fear and tension. I'm also grateful for packet gravy. Well done.
Beckie Stewart05/18/08
Clever ending...after 23 years of marriage and I still can't make gravy as good as my MIL.