Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Comedy of Errors (not about the play) (08/18/11)
TITLE: A Thanksgiving To Remember
By James Robbins
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It’s not that I don’t have wonderful in-laws. I do. They are two of kindest and most generous people I’ve ever known, but there was just something creepy about visiting their house and sleeping in her room that set my teeth on edge. It was a horrifying experience.
We arrived late on Wednesday evening that year. I can still imagine the dread that fell over me as we pulled into the driveway. My in-laws are the late night, coffee drinking types so I already knew that a long night of enduring pleasantries lay ahead of me. All I wanted to do was hide out in the quiet and safety of the back bedroom and bide my time until it was over.
My plan was simple - ride it out until the onslaught visiting relatives was thick enough to hide within their ranks. Once the game started I would be in the clear. I was sure that the Cowboys and Dolphins would draw their attention just long enough for me to finalize my plot to escape.
We FINALLY made it to bed around midnight. I was exhausted, but way too wired to sleep. My wife was home again. She had no trouble drifting off to La La Land the moment her head touched the pillow. I, on the other hand, tossed and turned for what seemed like an eternity before eventually managing to fall asleep - I think. The next thing I remember was fumbling for the clock on the bedside table. It was only 3 am and I was wide awake – AGAIN.
The house was still and dark so I decided to take a chance and venture out into kitchen for a snack. I’d remembered seeing a pie on the counter when we arrived and I needed to know what kind it was! I couldn’t sleep so I figured that I might as well eat. My mother-in-law might like to talk more than I like to listen, but she sure has a way with desserts!
I followed a dim light down the hallway toward the kitchen. It was open season for pie and I had a license to kill! There was just one problem – no pie. I searched that kitchen high and low, but it was nowhere to be found. Someone had eaten my pie and I wasn’t happy about it.
I was just about to give up the hunt when something caught my eye. It wasn’t a pie, but it was the next best thing. A small pan of what appeared to be berry pie filling was left on the back burner of the stovetop. To my surprise – it was still warm!
I carefully pulled open the silverware drawer and quietly extracted the biggest spoon that I could find. I gave that glorious concoction a gentle stir and leaned in savor its luscious aroma. Then I opened my mouth wide and shoveled in the biggest bite that I manage, but something was horribly wrong.
My mouth went dry and my eyes began to water. My tongue started to sting and my lips became numb. The sweet perfume of berries and spices overwhelmed my sinuses. I had no idea what was happening to me. I just stood there - terrified – alone – in the dark – with berry juice oozing down my chin.
I was sure I was having a stroke or anaphylaxis or worse. Thankfully, shock prevented me from swallowing. I reached for the pan with every intention of spitting that filling right back from whence it came when I realized what had happened.
Suddenly, I was overcome with a barrage of emotion of which I have never experienced before and will likely NEVER experience again – joy, sorrow, relief, anger, fear, pain, shame. It wasn’t berry pie filling. It was WILD BERRY POTPOURI! To this day, I cringe at the thought of it and I approach all pies, jams, jellies, preserves, and anything else that remotely resembles a fruit filling with a new found sense of caution and respect.
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