Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not recipes) (10/16/08)
TITLE: WHO'S COMING FOR DINNER?
By Emily Blakely
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Every time I turn around another one or two are added and I feel like Iím starting to spin around too. Itís Christmas Eve. Where will it stop? Sharon is feeling stressed. I canít answer another phone call and Iíve got to concentrate on getting the food ready or thereíll be an unhappy bunch at my table.
She glances through her recipes for do-ahead ones and decides to work on pies. Pecan pie, Johnís fav. Going to the freezer she digs through, looking for the pecans. Now, where did the pecans go? I know I didnít use them all last time. More digging, no finding! Johnís grandma aalllways had pecan, and blueberry, chocolate cream, lemon and on and on. Iíve heard it, seems like a hundred times! How can I face him with no pecan pie?! Ok. Iíll do up some baked pie shells so at least they will be ready to fill.
Reaching for a bowl, flour, shortening....Oh no, I knew there was something I forgot from the store! No shortening. Use margarine? Iíve never tried that before and Iíve never even heard of substituting all margarine in pie crust, probably wonít turn out good. Perspiration beads on Sharonís forehead. An idea creeps in of making a mad dash to the store, not to buy shortening but to buy pies.
She looks at the clock, seeing the late hour and wondering what store might still be open. ďWhat if there are no pies left???Ē On prior holidays she had seen store shelves pretty bare even earlier than this on the eve-of-whatever. Maybe I should just borrow some shortening. That would be quicker than going all the way to town or waiting for John to get home.
Reaching for the phone, it rings. ďOh, hi Honey....couple of friends....John, there are no places for more people to sit...pleeease Honey...You already invited them?...Ok, you can figure out the seating then. Please come home as soon as you can, I need help with things here...You have to work late?...Well, I guess Iíll get byĒ or just die!
She dials a neighborís number...ringing...ringing...ringing...no answer! Squinting through the window and seeing no car on the drive, she then remembers that her nearest neighbor had planned to be with family out of town for the holiday. Oh, no! A loud groan rumbles from her throat.
The neighbors may all be gone! Panic creeps in, causing Sharonís lips to go numb, which she is acutely aware of. Numbness seems to radiate from her lips to cheeks and up the nose.
Deep breath...deep breath. Gasping, Sharon reaches in a cupboard for a brown paper bag and funnels it to fit her mouth. Taking in a slow breath, she exhales into the bag...then inhales...exhales...Going too fast! Slow, slow, she moans loudly.
ďSharon!Ē John yells, shaking her. ďWake up! You were moaning! Itís 2 AM. Whatís wrong? Itís Christmas Eve!Ē
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