By Wendell Fowler
(Please note that names have been changed to protect the guilty.)
As my family arrived bearing delicious goodies, Grandma greeted everyone while cleaning up the mess in the kitchen caused from Uncle Gerry plugging the upstairs commode. A potpourri of turkey filled the air as my gathering of clan vibrated in holiday love. The furnace conked out, so everybody snuggled around the fireplace.
Mixing a stiff cocktail, Grandpa smelled smoke, looked outside to see the frantic neighbor dancing around the flaming turkey in the deep fryer while raising a bucket of water. “FIRE! 911!”, he screamed. Hacking from incoming smoke, Mom and sis fed neighbors a hose while Aunt Leslie screamed what the 911 operator warned: “don’t try and put it out!” Two fire trucks arrived to douse the conflagration. We gave each fireman a pie since they had to work on T-Day. Even with the fireplace, it got chilly as opened windows and doors aired out the house.
During dinner, my cousin Brian grabbed a drumstick, waved it in the air gesturing, and it flew out of his hand, hit his brother upside the head, dropped onto the wood floor and didn’t stop ‘till it hit the wall with a splat. Every year my uncle, a diehard Republican, baited his Democrat sister-in-law into a political discussion that inevitably led to her tearfully leaving the table. My brother and I made bets on what dinner course she’d leave at the table. Occasionally, uncle Ernie slipped out the back door and returned smelling of smoke, then polished off another plateful and talked about weird stuff. Aunt Betty made delicious homemade noodles, but my nephew’s 2-year-old choked on them and we had to get him un-choked. Everyone but Betty had a good laugh that her noodles nearly killed an infant. Then a snockered Grandpa faceplanted the whipped potatoes.
My sister Karen Lynn made her first pecan pie. The directions said bake forty minutes, but when removed from the oven, it was still soft. She returned it to the oven and baked it for another hour and it still came out soft. So, Karen Lynn baked it another hour. After three hours the sugars crystalized and the pie was rock hard; she was unaware the pie was to be baked and then allowed to set. My wife, Sandi made the Key lime whipped cream topping with salt, not sugar. My daughter Audrey made pumpkin pie with plain pumpkin puree instead of pie filling. Everyone hooted and laughed in chorus. Everyone gobbled up dry turkey and moist gravy as sweet family love and laughter created a memorable, joyful gathering.