Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CALENDAR (10/20/16)
TITLE: More Information Please?
By Robyn Harbour
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The soft worship music from the CD player is quietly playing as I review the past busy week. Next week looks much more relaxing. I close my eyes and am quickly reminded of a day many years ago when my diary let me down. A day that I will never forget.
Let me explain. Life was busier then; working full time, with many other commitments, mostly in our church. Our army son was coming home each weekend for six weeks as he was doing a course in Puckapunyal, a two hour drive away. Not being old enough to drive, meant my husband picked him up on Friday nights and took him back to base late Sunday afternoon. A rare treat for us as he was usually based two states away in Brisbane.
I remember the phone call clearly. ‘Would you and Russell be available to come for dinner on the 24th?
The 24th was a Saturday and we wanted to keep our weekends free to spend with Lynden.
‘Sorry, we are avoiding going out for the next few weekends as we want to make the most of the time we have with our son before he goes back to Queensland.’
‘Is there a night that would suit you during the week?’
‘Sure, a Thursday would be great, I leave school early and we have no church commitments that night.’
‘Great! Thursday 22nd it is then.’
‘Could I bring the dessert?’
I wrote in my diary on the 22nd, Dinner, take dessert, 6.30pm’. The 22nd was two weeks away, plenty of time to think about what I would make for dessert.
The 22nd came around quickly enough. But who had invited me? I had not written down their name. I could clearly remember the conversation. I just couldn’t identify the voice. I did remember the reason why we had settled on a Thursday night instead of the Saturday. Earlier in the week I had made a lemon syrup pudding and bought some whipping cream to have with it.
My omission had become apparent a few days earlier. I had since rung all the people I thought may have invited us. The most common answer was; ‘No I didn’t invite you, but if you want, you can both come to our home for dinner on Thursday.’ I declined as this was not the answer I needed.
Thursday 22nd we dressed in our best clothes, the pudding was covered with cling wrap, the cream whipped and then we waited. We waited for someone to ring and say ‘Where are you? Have you forgotten?’ but the phone never rang.
I knew without doubt that somewhere in the city was a hostess, table beautifully set with her best china and silverware. Dinner slowly drying out in the oven. She would be pacing up and down, muttering, ‘She did say Thursday 22nd. I remember the call clearly. Where can they be?’
‘Ring them,’ her husband suggests.
‘No! If they have forgotten, I will only embarrass them,’ she will reply.
At 8.30pm we give up and have eggs on toast, it is too late to prepare anything else. We have a generous helping of pudding and cream, comfort food to ease the guilt we were feeling.
I tell my husband, ‘I have lived my life by always being punctual, now my reputation will be in tatters.’
Over the next few days, I tell everyone I see the story of my omission. Perhaps one of the people I tell is the person I let down. Or, perhaps the person I let down will say, ‘Those Harbours! We cooked a special meal for them and they didn’t turn up. We ended up eating dried out roast.’ Then the first person will enlighten the second person as to what had happened.’
At least that is what I hoped for.
This event was more than ten years ago but it still makes me cringe to think about it.
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