This story is by Kristin Ryan and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Do Not….Touch….THAT BIRD! I yelled to my husband Justin, who I caught reaching for the crispy skin of the turkey.
“Your parents will be here in thirty minutes.”
“Ok sorry! It just looks so tasty. I just….”
“No, not just, not anything. You almost ruined my perfectly cooked bird.” I want, no I NEED, everything to be perfect. My name is Kristin, and I’m about to serve my first Thanksgiving meal to my husband’s family. In thirty, no twenty-seven minutes this dining room will hold my husband’s entire family. Everyone from uncle Will, and his family, to my very tough to impress mother- in law.
And thinking back to this morning, I almost didn’t pull this meal off.
I rolled over and opened my eyes to Thanksgiving day. My husband Justin was still asleep next to me. Today is the day I conjure up the best Thanksgiving meal ever. My mother- in law will be speechless. Picturing her mouth filled with turkey and potatoes, that she couldn’t possibly utter a word. I let out a small giggle at the thought. Oh my goodness, today is the day! It is sunny outside.
“JUSTIN….it’s…it’s…sunny! What time is it?”
I not so gracefully climbed over Justin and grabbed the alarm clock. Ten o’clock,…I OVERSLEPT!
I got out of bed, grabbed at clothes to put on and ran downstairs. Opened the frig, pulled out my twenty pound, vegetarian fed, free-range turkey. It had been thawing for days; now it will be getting bathed, seasons and then cooked. After rinsing of the bird, I stuffed my arm up the back end of the bird and was playing patting cake with paper towels to dry it off. I slammed down the bird on the countertop, smeared olive oil all over it followed by salt, pepper, and garlic. I glanced at the microwave clock; it is ten thirty. The bird needs to cook at least six hours. So into the covered roasting pan and the oven, it went. Wish I would have remembered to pre-heat the oven…huh!
11:00, fresh green beans need to be snipped, got them done. 11:30, sweet potatoes washed and wrapped in tin foil, put in the second oven. Bake time one hour. Went to the frig and pulled out all the cold ingredients to set on countertops so that they could get to room temp. Mushrooms, milk, cream, butter….butter….oh no I forgot the butter.
“Justin I need you to run to the store and grab some butter. I forgot it.”
“Babe, Justin yelled back to me, “it’s Thanksgiving, nothing open. ”
“Then go to the gas station.”
“I don’t know which one, just go out there and find me some BUTTER!”
“Okay…okay…um… you’re wearing my shirt.” Justin was saying to me as he grabs his coat to leave.
12:15, sweet potatoes out, let cool. 12:45, I’ve showered. 1:50, got my hair blow dried and hot rolled. I came down the stairs wrapped in my housecoat and roller set. Got the ingredients for the green bean casserole combined, in the dish, and oven bound. Got the regular potatoes pilled and boiling away. I noticed Justin outside putting up the lawn mower. I slide the kitchen window open,”did you get the butter?”
“No babe, not yet. When I walked outside, I saw how shabby the yard looked, and knew my dad would say something. So I mowed.”
I didn’t say a word. I just grabbed my purse, got into my truck, and went on a scavenger hunt for butter.
At 3:00, I came limping through the front door, carrying a pound and a half of butter and two dented cans of cranberry sauce. Something else I forgot. “Wow! Babe, what happened?” I didn’t say a word. My glare said it all. At least he got the green bean casserole out of the oven, and the potatoes off the stove, water drained. Tears ran down my face. Justin wrapped his arms around me and gave a massive squeeze. I was no longer mad at him. He even offered to lend a helping hand.
I set out our wedding china. Happy to finally use it. We garnished the table with a Thanksgiving theme. Turkey, pumpkins, and fallen leaves. All the side dishes scattered throughout the table. The perfectly cooked bird we put dead center. 4:33, in just twenty-seven minutes, my husband’s family would be here. I’m calm, got almost everything ready. Just need to put the store bought rolls in the oven. Get them warmed throw and I need to finish getting ready. Up the stairs, I went. Put on my dress, added some mascara and ran my fingers through my curls. Hairspray and perfume to make it complete. Down the stairs and to the kitchen I went. With seconds counting down, I grabbed the dinner rolls out of the oven, tossed them in a towel-lined basket and as I placed them on the table…three…two…one…DIINNNNG…DOOOONNG.