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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not recipes) (10/16/08)

TITLE: Better than a Bag of Pretzels
By Allison Egley
10/22/08


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I sighed as I looked out the panoramic window overlooking the runway and saw the storm raging outside. "Stranded," I said to myself. I looked around at the passengers. I smiled as I realized there was more diversity in this airport terminal than there was in most cities. Some people far from home, some close.

In here it didn't make a difference. None of us were going anywhere; not by train, or car, and certainly not by plane. All flights were grounded. I felt sorry for the passengers. I was a flight attendant and could sleep in the employee lounge. Most of the people here would be sleeping on the floor or in chairs. They'd be lucky to get a blanket, let alone decent food.

It was getting late, and the airport restaurants had closed to allow their employees to get home before the storm hit. I thought about my family back home, and how they'd be cooking Christmas dinner without me. Then I got an idea.

I walked into the employee lounge and gathered some of my co-workers; pilots, captains, flight attendants, and ticket agents alike. I explained my idea, and saw eager faces before me.

"Does anyone have a key?" I asked.

"I've got the master here," one of the security guards said. "Let's do it!"

He unlocked the door to a restaurant. "Use anything you want," the guard said. "I called the owner, and he gave us permission to take full reign." We all filed into the large kitchen, then gathered in a circle. All eyes turned to me.

We were all well out of our usual domain here. "What do we do first?" I asked

"Let's see what we have to work with," one of my fellow flight attendants suggested.

"Okay. That sounds good. Pilots, check the freezers. Flight attendants, check the refrigerator. Everyone else, look for any other ingredients."

Soon random shouting was heard throughout the room.

"Meat!"

"Vegetables!"

"Bread!"

"Fruit!"

We gathered again and took full inventory. We had just enough to make a decent Christmas dinner, even if it wouldn't be very traditional.

"Now," I began. "Does anyone know how to make anything good without the use of a recipe?"

We glanced at one another, daring each other to be the first to speak.

"I think I can make my mom's pot roast," a ticket agent offered. "Or at least something edible that might resemble it."

"Oh, who needs recipes anyway, right? We all know how to fly by the seat of our pants, right?" I said with a smirk. "Have fun."

Soon a cacophony of smells filled the room.

"Look what I found!" One of the captains emerged from the refrigerator with a box of ready to bake cookie dough. "And if this is in there, there must be decorating ingredients somewhere."

We all broke apart again, determined to find the stash. We found decorations suitable for every holiday except Christmas.

"Arbor Day cookies, anyone?" I said with a shrug, as I held up the lone cookie cutter I could find; a very non-coniferous tree. Soon we had multi-colored non-coniferous trees. Blue. Yellow. Pink. Purple. Every color except green and red, of course. "Easter trees," I declared. "After all, the whole reason for Christmas is so we can celebrate Easter, right?

"Hey, where's the security guard?" I asked.

"Ho, ho, ho!" The guard appeared with a white beard and a Santa hat, and was soon tossing more hats to all of us.

"Where did you find these?" someone asked.

"A security guard does not reveal his secret stashes," he replied with a wink.

We donned our hats and turned on the lights to the dinning area, all of us carrying a dish. The smells soon found there way to the gates, and weary travelers approached the restaurant cautiously.

"What in the world?"

"Food!"

"REAL food!"

"Um... I wouldn’t say that until you've tried it," I cautioned. But my warning wasn't needed. After a long day, it tasted wonderful, and everyone else seemed to agree. Even the Arbor-Easter Tree cookies were met with enthusiasm.

Suddenly, a lone deep bass voice boomed out among the chatter.

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth...


We all joined in with the strangers we now considered friends.

Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices
Oh ni-ight divine, O night, when Christ was born.
O night de-vine, o night, o night divine.



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This article has been read 813 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amanda Ewing10/23/08
Christmas in the airport... love it!
Seema Bagai 10/25/08
Unique and memorable. I enjoyed reading this piece.
Debbie Roome 10/25/08
I've spent hours sitting in airports and can imagine what fun this would be - lovely.
Laury Hubrich 10/26/08
This was very unique. Great story!
Joanne Sher 10/26/08
What a wonderful story--delightful. I would have loved to see this.
Janice Fitzpatrick10/26/08
This is soooo good! I love it! Amazing and what a blessing the staff was to those stranded. This is almost like a modern day story with a twist-taken from the well loved one with the little boy who shared his meager lunch of fish and loaves with a crowd. Beautifully done! The characters and dialogue was righ ton!! God bless. Thx for writing this! :)))
Gregory Kane10/27/08
Fun story. And now that I understand it, what a title!
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/28/08
I liked the humor of the mc, the willingness of the "cooks," and the message tucked inside this interesting story. I've often thought about the diversity of the people there as I've waited in an airport.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge10/28/08
Delightful, heartwarming, an excellent example of how in the midst of a crisis, creativity can draw us closer together.
Karlene Jacobsen 10/28/08
Creative. I liked that your MC took action and made what could be a miserable situation and turned it into a memorable one.
Beth LaBuff 10/31/08
OH! I love your story. What an incredible imagination! Congrats Allison!
Joshua Janoski11/04/08
Loved the title and creativity of this entry. Congratulations on your EC! Very deserving of the honor. :)
Dianne Janak11/06/08
I didn't enter that week because nothing came to mind... reading this made me remember where this kind of creativity comes from.. and this blessed me and inspired me to not give up.. thanks for the wonderful Christmas story!