Here is another scene, the atmosphere is beginning to get chilly, The rain is losing the ambient temperature of early fall, it is now freezing and paling to the touch. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Mothers chasing their children around the house aimlessly attempting to get them into their coats and prepare them for what awaits outside. The world around is imprisoned in a glair-white silence. No sounds around, nothing stirring, the city is asleep under a white blanket.
Before the group lies a picket white fence encircling years of dedication and hard labor. Short, wide windows let in plenty of light. The house is narrow, and approximately twelve feet in width, and resembles the structure of a shoe box. The grandeur house contains a small wooden porch, that in spring holds and gives life to the small-town’s most beautiful roses. The house is equipped with a huge kitchen and two bathrooms, as well as a small living room, two bedrooms, and a roomy dining room. The snow hugs the house like a newborn, clingy and new. While the weather outside remains gray and gloomy as the small town prepares for the first snowfall of the season, the warmth, comfort and genuine joy radiating from within the household is evident. My mother is the taskmaster, mission maker and decider of everyone's general direction in life. She goes through the day viciously scratching off her to-do list as she prepares for tonight's holiday.
Grandma and grandpa firm believers in faith never miss a supper at the local church. Some families only show up to the service on holidays like today’s. It's a holiday with religious roots, but today it is mostly associated with secret gift giving, singing songs, romantic gestures and storytelling. After the service, Grandpa is off to his usual outing, sneaking off and attempting to hide in the back room as he smokes a Cuban tobacco-his favorite- all while getting ready. Mom is frantically scurrying around the kitchen barking orders at everyone, including my father. Dad, of course, complies and suffers through her stress-inducing criticisms; as she goes on and on complaining about him not being quick enough, attentive, or a good kitchen assistant.
My brother, as always the antisocial one, is to no one’s surprise indulging in his favorite hobby- video games. Sitting at the computer playing war games without a set of earphones, the booms from his loud and obnoxious game echo throughout the small house. As if the noise from all the children isn’t enough already.
The house is cramming with hungry relatives, all with very distinct and unique personalities, all uniting by my family. Cousins, Nieces, uncles, and even family friends are all here today spending time with one another. All counting on me, a chef in the making ( or at least that's what I like to call myself) to present them with a feast that is both appealing, and just as tasteful. But who can compete with mom or grandma’s cooking? There’s only so much Martha Stewart can teach me in her simple recipes book for beginners.
On the carpet floor, sitting by the fireplace, undeniably cozy is the grandma with all the children, attempting to get them to settle down. By two large windows, beneath the Christmas tree, lay an obscene amount of gifts. Each one is wrapped in a red silver paper and adorned with a gold semi-transparent ribbon. The children all anxious for midnight to see what Santa is bringing them this year, sneakily attempt to shake the gifts in hopes of sneaking a peek at the what might be for them.
The children pressing their faces up against the window pane tently watch for the free falling snowflakes. The snowflakes are almost as large as the peas they will be squishing later tonight for dinner, instead of eating their food. The main difference of course is that the flakes are much whiter than the usual white socks grandma gets them every year. As time presses on, the children can no longer see the falling snowflakes, the glass is fogging up from their own breaths.
Meanwhile, I try to follow Martha Stewart’s recipe for mashed-potatoes. Forgetting it is on, I carelessly leave the oven mittens over the stove. Within seconds the thing is aflames, if the adults are iffy about my cooking skills for tonight's feast, they definitely are not too proud to see the little dilemma I have begun. Luckily, the women working the kitchen- not including me anymore, I am no longer welcome to be a part the cooking staff - continue their gracious work. The rich aroma of the different intricate dishes roams through the house. Attempting to help set up the tables I almost drop one of the main courses, as little John runs past me causing my step to falter a bit, luckily thanks to the good lord I regain my balance quickly, preventing another tragedy from occurring. Just as we all gather around the table to say our graces for this year and tonight, there is a tap on the door.
“who could it be at this time? It's almost midnight for heaven's sake we are starving!” Shouts our cousin Lizzy at the door.
Suddenly, Grandpa jumps out, wearing a hat a size too big, paired with a funny coat, and a long, shiny gray beard, waving his arms and shouting. “Merry Christmas! Ho, Ho, Ho! Who here has been good? Who wants a Christmas treat?”
Instantly, the children begin shouting and waving. So much for peace and saying our graces at the table. Everyone's laughing and running around! Grandpa is handing out hard candy with red stripes from his pillowcase. Parents resume to attempt to get their kids back under control but Grandpa grins and keeps them all riled up. That's when I hear another beeping coming from the kitchen.
“Oh noooo, run I forgot I was attempting to make a meatloaf” I shout frantically with my hands in the air grasping my head. And what follows next no one will forget...