Sometimes nothing goes right. We were to be 12 at dinner, 7 adults and 5 children. Turkey breast, which had been marinated in an Asian-style sauce, was in the oven, to be served with rice, broccoli rabe, and zucchini, an apparently perfect meal for all. Chris had made a big bowl of cut-up fruit for dessert, and it was at the ready, along with cake pops. (If you haven’t seen cake pops, they’re round balls of cake that has been iced and put on a lollipop stick. A favorite with the kids these days.)
The meal would be late for a school night, 7:15 or so before Dede, who had a ballet class, and her father, my son David, who picked her up, could arrive. My daughter, Bess, had promised to take her youngest, Teddy, to the East Hampton RECenter for a swim, a rare treat. But she had been trying to finish some work, which delayed their going, and they arrived back even later. As we waited, some of the kids, Dede and her sister, Evvy, and perhaps even Bess’s daughter, Nettie, decided we should play charades. What a great idea.
The only fly in the ointment was that I had been at home resting with a five-day-old cold, which apparently dulled my brain because I neglected to get the turkey in the oven until much too late. It was far from done when we finally were assembled. Furthermore, on the premise that I was no longer contagious after five days, I had set the table. This understandably alarmed my daughter-in-law, Lisa, and I slunk back to my bedroom, taking my germs with me as she re-washed the tableware.
David decided to take matters into his own hands. He sliced some of the turkey off the breast and sautéed it on top of the stove in an iron skillet. The children were fed. At that point, it being later than planned, David and Lisa, who had not eaten, scurried their three off. They left so quickly that Lisa called from the car to apologize for not saying goodbye. Bedtime would be late in any event.
Teddy and Nettie played about as the rest of us eventually sat down to the turkey. I came out of hiding. It wasn’t exactly the special family get-together we had planned for the last night of Bess’s family’s visit — although you could say it was memorable.
Feeling responsible for the chaos, I consoled myself with the thought of how much fun the charades had been. All the kids took part, and even 3-year-old Ellis knew how to act out a movie — “Iron Man.”