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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not recipes) (10/16/08)

TITLE: Turkey Traditions
By Carole Robishaw


“We all like our figgy pudding, we all like our figgy pudding” she happily sang, off-key, as she was stuffing the turkey. “Jim, can you give me a hand, please? Will you go out in the garage and get me my big roasting pan for the turkey?”

“Roasting pan? In the garage? Why do you keep it in the garage?”

“Well, where else, with our limited cupboard space, could I keep a pan that size that only gets used twice a year? The shelf in the garage is perfect. It’s out of the way, and easy to find.”

“Uh,” the muffled voice can back from the garage, “I don’t see it anywhere. Which shelf did you say it was on?”

“Here, I’ll show you, and you can get it for me. Then we can get the bird in the oven.”

Marabelle walked into the garage, careful not to touch anything with her stuffing covered hands.

“Here, it …oh, it’s not there. But, that’s where I put it after Thanksgiving. I put it in a clear plastic bag to keep it clean, and set it right there. I’m positive. Where could it have gotten to?”

They looked around the garage, Jim mumbling something under his breath about her compulsive organizing, and Marabelle pretending not to hear him. She wasn’t going to get in another one of “those” discussions, not today, of all days. Soon the house would be full to overflowing with family, kids and grandkids running around underfoot, and it would take all of her energy just to get them all around the table without any problems. She had her menu planned, down to the minute.

After several minutes of searching, Marabelle started getting frantic. It was Christmas morning, and she had to get that bird in on schedule. If the bird didn’t get in on time, then it would delay everything.

Suddenly she spotted the discount store bag that she had put the pan in. “There it is, now how…Oh, no, the bag is here, but where’s the pan?”

Just then Bobby walked into the garage, carrying her pan. “Bobby, what are you doing with my pan?”

“This?” Bobby shrugged, “It didn’t look like it was being used for anything so I put my bike parts in it to soak the grease off. Why, what do you need it for?”

Marabelle turned a little white, then red, and then she exploded. “That’s my turkey pan! You know better than to take anything without asking! How am I supposed to roast the turkey after you’ve used it for…for…” she spluttered, as the she ran out of steam. “This is just too much. Once a year, that’s all I ask for, just once a year we all get together at the same time for our Christmas meal.” She collapsed against the car fender. “Why, why, can’t I ever get this one day to go smoothly? There is always something that goes wrong. Last year your sister brought that clumsy oaf with her, and he dropped a whole tray of canapés on the floor. Now I can’t even roast the turkey. I’m a failure.”

Jim wrapped his arms around her, attempting to soother her. “Shh, it’s not that bad, surely you’ve got another pan you can use, I’m sure if we work together we can figure this out. Marabelle, you need to remember, it’s not just your day. This is a special birthday we are celebrating. I know you want everything perfect, but it’s not what’s on the table that makes the day special; it’s who we’re celebrating. It’s our being together and enjoying each other’s company. That oaf is going to be here again this year, and as he’s soon to be our son-in-law, you’re going to have to ease up.”

“Mom, I’m sorry, I didn’t know. Is there anything I can do that will help? I enjoyed hearing you singing,” his contrition showing through his grin.

Marabelle looked at his face, and burst out laughing, her love of singing, off-key or not, had long been a family joke. “You’re right, I think if you both help me, we can figure out a way to make this work.”

They headed into the kitchen, Marabelle pulling things out of the cupboard. “Here, it won’t look nearly as pretty, but I think if we cut off the drumsticks, and roast them separately, we can make the turkey fit in here. We’ll just have to start a new tradition.”

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This article has been read 883 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anne Harrell10/24/08
This is really cute. I couldn't help but to think about my mother and her issues on the holidays. But that is what makes the holidays special.
Joshua Janoski10/26/08
It's true that the stresses of the holidays often cause us to forget what we are really celebrating. This was a fun story, and I enjoyed reading it. :)
Celeste Ammirata10/28/08
What a wonderful reminder of how we can get so wrapped up with having everything go perfectly that we forget the true meaning of the season. The MC's voice was clear throughout. Nicely done
Leah Nichols 10/30/08
Great story! I love how she starts a new tradition rather than melting down about the old one. Only red ink I'd suggest is mentioning "her" by name in the first paragraph, and designating her son's words to him in the last couple lines. The pronouns can get confusing a little....not enough to not figure it out, but it would help a little. Nice work!
Heather Sargent10/30/08
You go girl! Moving up! This was a great story, well done.
Jan Ackerson 12/03/09
Carole, I'm going to feature this story in the Front Page Showcase for the week of December 21. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page, and congratulations!
Edy T Johnson 12/04/09
Congratulations on your "front page" story selection, Carole. This is a delightful read, and I can certainly identify with the mom trying to have everything go just like a Norman Rockwell painting. Well done, friend!
Carol Penhorwood 12/04/09
Great job! I could sure identify with wanting perfection on a special occasion!
Margaret Kearley 12/22/09
Great to just read this on the front page showcase Carole. Wonderful writing and a fantastc reminder to 'keep the main thing the main thing' this Christmas time. Have a joyful and blessed Christmas. Margaret
Amanda Brogan12/22/09
Don't we all want everything to run perfectly? :) I love how her husband lovingly points her back to the real reason for celebrating, and how you add a little humor to the mix. Great story!
Kathleen Bieke12/24/09
George Parler 02/25/10
The dialog flowed well and the frustration and resolve of your MC is felt by the reader. Nice job of fleshing out the stress the holidays can bring. Well done and congratulations.