Where Love Went: Holiday SpecialBy: Lindsay Detwiler
“Slow down, honey. Tell me again. It’s okay.”
There were more garbled words. Charlotte pulled the phone away, checking to make sure the phone cord was attached. It was. Apparently the lack of sound quality revolved around Amelia’s apparent emotional state and not the technology.
There were sniffles and sobs for a few moments before Amelia finally choked out the words. “I’ve ruined Thanksgiving, Grandma.”
“Oh, honey, stop. I’m sure it’s fine. Put Owen on the phone.”
There were more sobs. Some shuffling happened in the background before the familiar voice said, “Hello?”
“Owen, darling, what’s going on?”
“Oh, Char, it’s awful.” His voice was hushed. It seemed he didn’t want Amelia hearing. This must be bad.
“Like how awful? Can we salvage it? Leonard and I are good at acting. We can pretend it’s delicious.”
“Not possible. I’m talking pure, charcoal-black awful. Smoke detectors going off awful. The whole apartment building was evacuated because of the thick black smoke coming from our oven.”
“Oh dear. What about side dishes? Can they be saved?”
“Well, the potatoes, in Amelia’s words, were more like paste. So she trashed them. And the stuffing, which was also in the oven with the turkey, turned to burnt croutons. So yeah, no go to all of that too.”
“Well, I hate to say it, but I knew Amelia cooking was a bad idea. With the stress and her hormones, I knew she shouldn’t be made to cook the Thanksgiving feast. Plus, she’s never been too talented in the kitchen.”
“I know. But I think she wanted to practice being domestic. Maybe it’s early nesting. But regardless, the whole apartment building is pissed, and our dinner is inedible. I offered to go get takeout, but she’s too embarrassed to have you all over. She’s mortified and beside herself. I don’t know what to do.”
Charlotte tapped her chin with her finger. “Okay, okay. It’s fine. Let’s go to plan B. I’ll scrounge together something. Call Annie and Joe. We’ll meet in the community room in two hours.”
“Are you sure?”
“You bet. I’ve got this.” She clicked the phone, kicking into high gear.
“Leonard? Get in here. We have a true family emergency. I need your help.”
Leonard waddled from the bedroom, just finished changing as she’d ordered him to before they were to head to Amelia’s.
“What is it, dear?”
“There’s been somewhat of a disaster at Amelia’s. Change of plans. Thanksgiving dinner’s going to be here.”
“Okay, what do you need me to do?”
“I need you to head to Food Mart.”
“Is it open?”
“Until six. You’ve got twenty minutes.”
“What am I getting?”
Charlotte grimaced. “There’s no time for cooking a turkey. So we’re going for the next best thing.”
“I need you to get thirty frozen turkey dinners.”
“What? Are you serious?”
“Hey, it’s the best we can do. We’ll heat them up and put them in some dishes. No one will be the wiser.”
“I’m sure Catherine will notice.”
“Well, she’ll keep her mouth shut if she knows what’s good for her.”
“Leonard, we don’t have time to argue. Now just go.”
“Okay, whatever you say.”
“Perfect.” She leaned over to kiss him and then flew out the door.
“And where are you off to?”
“To get more help.”
“Dare I ask?”
“You probably shouldn’t. Just go get our dinners. We’re going to save Thanksgiving. It’s going to be fine.”
Leonard chuckled, shaking his head. “Never a dull moment.”
“Would you have it any other way?”
Leonard pretended to think. “Well… I suppose not.”
He gathered his keys, heading off to carry out another crazy scheme with Charlotte. Charlotte, on the other hand, headed to carry out her own crazy scheme—she needed Catherine’s help.
Catherine sighed when Charlotte explained the situation. “Leave it to your family to screw up Thanksgiving. I knew I should have hosted. So what do you want me to do?” Catherine, dressed in a full-length black gown and chiffon wrap, rolled her eyes.
“I need help setting up downstairs. With all of us, we’ll have seventeen.”
“Seventeen? Who in God’s name did you invite?”
“Well, there’s all of us, Marla, Janie, plus Leonard’s son Mike, his wife, and their three kids. Plus Mike’s kids’ kids.”