Opening the front door of my mother’s home, the smell of something burning assaulted my nostrils and made my eyes tear up. I wondered to myself what disaster the relatives had concocted this time as I coughed on my way into the kitchen. The exciting sight I saw there will come back to me every time I go home. It was our first feast as a blended family and it was memorable.
What I saw was a turkey coming out of the oven with flames shooting out. My stepbrother grabbed a fire extinguisher and before anyone could protest, he’d sprayed the bird with foam. I guess it didn’t occur to him that the bird might still be edible after the fire, but it certainly wasn’t after he attacked it with the extinguisher.
Pandemonium broke out. My uncle was there with his new camcorder and he gleefully recorded all the goings on. My mother began beating my stepbrother about the head and shoulders with the towel she’d grabbed to put out the fire. My aunt was screeching like a chicken with its head cut off. The smoke detector was blaring. I began to cough and wheeze, my asthma protesting against the smoke and the foam. Our young cousin began to cry. Mother’s face was a mask of shock, anger and disbelief. It didn’t take long for my cousins to begin teasing my mother and the jokes went on and on.
Eventually the clean up took place and the kitchen was restored to order. As the bird carcass was tossed in the trash, the jokesters realized that there was no main dish. There was no turkey, ham or roast beast. Worried looks began to be cast about the kitchen. It was a holiday and it wasn’t as if there would be a store open, and even if another turkey could be found, it would never be cooked in time. There would be no tight waistbands without a main course.
That’s when my stepdad came to the rescue. He descended into the basement and soon reemerged with a smile. I wondered what he’d done, but I had no clue. He announced that dinner would be served in half an hour.
Twenty minutes later, I was beginning to worry. My mother was trying to put on a brave face as she got the rest of the food ready and on the table. I knew how important it was to her to make a good impression on everyone with the meal, however. I saw no sign of whatever my stepfather’s plan was.
Five minutes later, he asked me to help him in the garage. I went out and was surprised to see that he’d set up his deep fryer and was cooking a wild turkey he’d shot that fall. He smiled as he entered the house carrying the golden bird. Then my cousin ran in front of him and the bird hit the floor. The pizza we ended up having turned out to be delicious.