Carol rushed out her door, keys and purse in hand. There was only a matter of hours to tie together all the loose ends. She felt frazzled and rushed at the last minute change of venue. Thanksgiving was no longer at her mom’s house. Mom was sick with the flu.
As she made her way to her car, Ms. Denison shouted out her usual hello. Carol mentally rolled her eyes. There was no time for idle chatter. She did not want to hear about days of old; especially right now. “Hi, Ms. Denison. I would love to chat, but I really must go.”
Ms. Denison nodded accepting the rejection. Her face went from cheerful, happy to see you to sad and lonely. She suddenly looked like a puppy that had been told no after chewing on a good shoe. “I understand.” She sighed and returned to her home.
Carol brought out her list of must haves and began to make her way down each and every aisle. She checked and compared prices. Trying to decide on a whether a bargain would result in quality. She had to get this right. Her sister Cynthia was a chef and that added a great deal of stress to Carol’s mission. There was no room for error. Carol always wanted her older sister’s approval and this was her big chance to get her attention.
Once her shopping was done, the car loaded and a long receipt in hand, Carol headed back home. She was already hopping that Ms. Denison would not be outside working in her garden. She lucked out in getting Ms. Denison not to be so chatty this morning. There was no way she was going to be able to put her off again this afternoon. Just as she pulled into her drive way, there was Ms. Denison, sitting on Carols porch steps.
Carol sighed, knowing she was going to have to surrender and allow Ms. Denison a chance to share her tales. Maybe if she did this one good deed, when she grew old, someone would stop and listen to her banter. “Hi Ms. Denison.” Carol said in a not so warm welcoming tone.
Ms. Denison walked over to greet Carol and returned her not so welcoming tone in a stern motherly voice. “Carol, what has gotten into you. In all my days I have never been treated so.”
‘Oh my goodness,’ Carol thought to herself.’ I don’t have time for this backlash. This woman has got to be off her rocker.’ “Ms. Denison, I assure you I meant no disrespect. My mother had to cancel hosting Thanksgiving. This means it all falls on me. I have to host the event. On top of that my sister is a hot shot chef working for some elite restaurant. My skills are going to be seriously judged. “
Ms. Denison began laughing. “I’m sorry dear; I am not laughing at your situation. I am laughing because I can help.”
Carol just stared at her blankly. “You can help how?”
“I owned a restaurant back in the 1950’s. It was all American home-style food. I made everything myself.” Ms Denison explained.
Carol could not believe her luck. If Ms. Denison truly had skills than Carol could show her sister she had a little something special to offer.
Ms. Denison and Carol gathered all the groceries and headed straight to the kitchen so they could get right to work. “The key to a good old fashioned home cooked meal is to keep it simple. Stick to key ingredients and never ever get fancy when it’s a last minute deal.”
Carol nodded her head in agreement. This was definitely not the time for extravagance.
In a matter of hours Carol and Ms. Denison whipped up a home cooked meal with the classic turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, biscuits and more. All the usual suspects in the way of a Thanksgiving meal now adorned Carol’s table.
“Ms. Denison, I can’t thank you enough for helping me; even after I blew you off this morning. I am so very sorry.” Carol took Ms. Denison’s hands into hers. “It was an honor cooking with you.” She could see Ms. Denison’s eyes tearing up. “Are you heading to your family’s home now, could I maybe offer you a ride”
“Oh honey that is so sweet of you. I don’t have any family here in town or even in the state. With the economy as it is, and being on a pension, I can’t afford to fly out to my daughters place.” Ms. Denison was now visibly chocked up. Her emotions seemed to have the best of her now.
“You do have family here, you will stay with us and I won’t take no for an answer.” Carol made sure she made eye contact with Ms. Denison. And to think she wanted to blow her off this morning. To not be bothered by her tales of the past. This was the least she could do to make it up to her.
“Are you sure it’s no bother. I won’t be a charity case.” Ms. Denison commented in a serious manner.
“Never a bother.” Carol reassured her.
Carols sister, husband and four children showed up not long after. Carol introduced Ms. Denison as an old family friend, and the inspiration behind this year’s Thanksgiving meal. Ms. Denison gave raving reviews about Carol’s ability in the kitchen and assured everyone that her meal was sure to please.
“Carol this meal was phenomenal. I am so proud of you. I want this recipe for your sweet potatoes.” Carols sister pleaded.
“Sorry Cynthia, but that is a secret.” Carol turned and winked at Ms. Denison. Ms. Denison smiled and answered back “One shared between friends.”