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 I’m starting to spin around too. It’s Christmas Eve. Where will it stop? Sharon is feeling stressed. I can’t answer another phone call and I’ve got to concentrate on getting the food ready or there’ll be an unhappy bunch at my table.
She glances through her recipes for do-ahead ones and decides to work on pies. Pecan pie, John’s fav. Going to the freezer she digs through, looking for the pecans. Now, where did the pecans go? I know I didn’t use them all last time. More digging, no finding! John’s grandma aalllways had pecan, and blueberry, chocolate cream, lemon and on and on. I’ve heard it, seems like a hundred times! How can I face him with no pecan pie?! Ok. I’ll 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? I’ve never tried that before and I’ve never even heard of substituting all margarine in pie crust, probably won’t turn out good. Perspiration beads on Sharon’s 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. “What if there are no pies left???” 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. “Oh, 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 I’ll get by” or just die!
She dials a neighbor’s 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 Sharon’s 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.
“Sharon!” John yells, shaking her. “Wake up! You were moaning! It’s 2 AM. What’s wrong? It’s Christmas Eve!”
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