Tuesday, December 25, 2012
A Christmas Story...Part 3
“Oh, Nooooooooo!!!!” she thought. “I still have six stockings to assemble as well as bake a cake, cook the turkey, bake some beans, and prepare the fruit!” Thank God this was going to be a covered dish get-together. She looked at the clock. 12:20 am. Wash, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash. Press, press, press, press, press, press. Hang, hang, hang, hang, hang, hang. As she hung the last piece to dry overnight, she thought, “At least I have them ready to sew.”
As she tumbled into bed, she glanced at the clock—2:42 am. The Lady was so very tired. How was she ever going to get everything done in time? If she only had one extra day!
Her foot was really hurting but she was afraid to take any pain medication. It would make her too groggy in the morning and she would be tempted to sleep in. And she certainly couldn’t afford to do that.
The next morning the Stitcher got up early and began baking. As she began her preparations for her cake she wished she had been able to ask her Mom to bake one for her. Her Mom had always made the best cakes in the world! Her fresh coconut cake would literally melt in your mouth. “Oh, well,” she thought. “Frozen coconut will have to do. I certainly don’t have time to grate fresh!” She got the layers in the oven and prepared her icing. While it was baking and cooling she prepped the turkey and put it in the fridge ready to pop in the oven later. As soon as the cake was out of the oven she put the beans on to bake. The fruit was now ready. The Lady readied the dining room and put up the extra folding table. The dark green tablecloth camouflaged the folding table really well. She placed a candle in the center and surrounded it with fresh greenery to match the dining table. As she set out the Christmas china, she thought once again how much she loved this time of year.
With the baking done and the dishes cleaned she was ready to begin the tremendous task at hand. She hated that she was so rushed but knew she had only herself to blame. This had been her idea after all! Whether or not her efforts would be appreciated remained to be seen. But she really hoped so.
Now out came the sewing machine and ironing board and the mad rush began. Pin, cut, baste, sew, rip-it, rip-it, rip-it, baste, sew, rip, *curse* (even the nice lady had cause by this time), sew, clip, turn, press. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Stopping only to feed DH and go to the bathroom, she worked throughout the day. Finally, the last one was pressed and ready to give. She glanced over at the clock. Only 2:15 am Sunday morning!! The Stitcher would be able to get about five hours of sleep. Wonderful. Then she looked around the kitchen. Fabric bits and thread snips were everywhere! It looked like a tornado had gone through! Drat! As she began to clean up her mess she remembered why she didn’t like to sew—too much trouble to clean up!!
Thank goodness she had decided not to wrap the stockings as gifts. Instead, she hung them beside the fireplace as though they were part of the decorations. She stood back and through eyes bleary from lack of sleep saw her beautiful handiwork and sighed. “They are really beautiful, aren’t they?” She stood and gazed at them for a few moments. A wisp of a smile crossed her lips.
As she slipped into bed she was puzzled. Wasn’t she forgetting something? “I know that there is something else I was supposed to do. But what was it? I just can’t remember. Oh, well, I’ll think of it in the morning.” As she drifted off to sleep it came to her but it just didn’t register.
When the alarm went off three hours later the Stitcher begged for just ten minutes more then arose with difficulty. She showered and put on a robe then walked towards the kitchen to fix breakfast. As she passed the fireplace she noticed the small packages tucked inside the new stockings and a quick smile passed her lips. She couldn’t wait to see the faces of her family when she presented them. She wandered on toward the kitchen wondering what to prepare for breakfast that would be quick and decided on cereal. Bo wouldn’t mind since they would be having such a large lunch. When she opened the refrigerator a scream sounded all the way to the other end of the house. Bo came running and found the Stitcher crying and babbling at the same time. Surely nothing short of a natural disaster would warrant such an intense reaction. “What’s wrong?” he asked. She pointed to the fridge but her words were unintelligible. Finally she managed to get out “I forgot it. I can’t believe I forgot it”. “Forgot what?” he asked patiently. “I forgot to put the turkey in the oven last night.” Now considering the fact that the Lady only knew the *over night in the oven* way to roast a turkey, and that guests would be arriving in about three hours, this did indeed seem to her to be a disaster. But, of course, Bo did not understand the problem. “Well, put it in now. It’ll be done before dinner.” The Lady began to cry all over again and Bo was truly perplexed. What had he done now?
The only thing she could do was to pull out her cookbook and hope they had GOOD directions for roasting a very large bird! Following the instructions, the turkey was placed in the oven and a small whispered prayer could be heard coming from the kitchen. She brewed the tea, finished off the last minute food preparations, checked the dining room tables, and went to get dressed.
She looked around at the beautiful tree and colorful decorations but could not feel anything but disappointment. She had wanted this day to be perfect. Oh, well, you can’t win them all. As Bo’s family began to arrive, she prayed that no one would notice that the turkey was still in the oven—or at least if they did notice, they would think it was intentional. But, of course, DH had other ideas. The first thing out of his mouth was her blunder. As everyone turned to look at her, she prayed for the floor to open up swallow her. But alas, it didn’t. At least he had not said why she had forgotten. Thank God for small miracles!
When the turkey came out of the oven it looked perfect and lunch was served only 45 minutes later than planned. So it wasn’t such a disaster after all, although she did receive several barbs throughout the day. When the time approached to exchange gifts, all the packages under the tree were distributed to the recipients. No one mentioned anything about not getting a gift from Daddy Bo and Nana. They really were a polite bunch. Suddenly, as if an afterthought, the Stitcher said, “Oh, dear, we seem to have forgotten something besides the turkey. Where on earth did I put your gifts?” She looked around the room as if searching for them and exclaimed. “Oh, yes, I put them in your stockings. Why don’t you look and see what you got?” Pam got up and handed the stockings to each person and they began to open the small packages. Each small token gift was gracefully acknowledged and the questioning looks were quickly masked as each person said thank you.
A short while later, everyone was packing up to leave and Pam went to re-hang the stockings by the fireplace. With the straightest face she could manage, the Stitcher asked, “Aren’t you going to take them home with you?” Pam looked around and it dawned on her that the stockings WERE the gifts for them. When everyone else heard this exchange the looks of amazement began to cross every face. They could not believe that the Stitcher had actually stitched these stockings for them.
When the guest had finally gone and the mess was cleared and the Stitcher and her DH were sitting quietly by the fire, a warm glow engulfed the two of them and it was not from the fire. It was satisfaction and love and a sense of fulfillment that one feels rarely. Bo whispered softly, “I think they were surprised.” An understatement if ever there was one, she thought. “Yes,” she responded not wanting to disturb the mood. As they headed for bed a faint thought flickered across her mind. “Do you think………”
To be continued...