Come in, come in! How’s my little sweethearts?” Rose Jackson met her two grandchildren, Allison and Andy, at the front door. A cold wind blew the door inwards, almost knocking little Andy off his feet.
“Hi Grandma! Mommy’s bringing the potatoes! Can I have a cookie? Where’s Grandpa?” Allison’s questions came too fast to allow for answers.
“Here’s Grandpa!” Andrew came around the corner out of the kitchen and Allison took three running steps and leaped into his arms.
“Grandpa! We got a puppy! We leaved him at home so he wouldn’t chase your cat! Can I have a cookie?”
“No cookies till after dinner my dear,” said Andrew. “But if you come hang out in the kitchen you can pick up the scraps that fall on the floor.”
Rose laughed. “Does Grandpa think you’re a puppy Allison?” she said.
Allison giggled. “I’m not a puppy,” she said. “I’m a girl.”
“Yes you are,” said Andrew, giving her a squeeze. “You’re my girl!”
“I see the kids are making themselves at home,” said Jackie from the doorway. “Wow it smells amazing in here.”
“The turkey is already done,” said Rose. “Here let me take that.” She reached for the large pot Jackie was carrying and took it from her. “I’ll put this in the oven to stay warm till everyone else gets here.” Randy appeared at the door as she spoke, carrying a grocery bag and a rather large and overstuffed diaper bag. He dropped the diaper bag on the floor.
“Couldn’t fit the kitchen sink in there,” he said, “but I think we got everything else. Happy Thanksgiving!”
“Same to you!” Rose disappeared into the kitchen.
“We’re the first ones here?” said Randy following the rest of them in.
“Yup,” said Rose, stirring a pot on the stove and adjusting the temperature of one of the elements. “The others will be here any time.”
“Good,” said Randy, taking a seat at the kitchen table, “because I am hungry.”
“Well the turkey we got is huge,” said Rose, “so there shouldn’t be a shortage of any kind.”
“Do I like turkey?” asked Allison who had climbed up on her daddy’s lap. Andrew had put her down on the floor and joined Rose at the stove to check on the gravy he had started earlier.
“Yes you do,” said Randy. “Everybody likes turkey.”
“I couldn’t quite remember,” said Allison.
“We don’t have turkey very often, do we?” said Randy. “Only at Thanksgiving and at Christmas.”
“I like Christmas,” said Allison. “I get new toys. Oh, I’m going to go play with toys now!” She jumped down off of Randy’s lap and ran off in the direction of the toy room.
Rose sat down at the table next to Randy, and Jackie sat down across from them. Andrew remained at the stove.
“How’s the gravy doing Dad?” asked Randy. “Is it the best you’ve ever made?”
“Obviously,” said Andrew. “Isn’t it always?”
“Well there was that one time,” said Randy. “Christmas of ’06 I think it was, when the consensus was that your gravy was perhaps not much better than it had been at Thanksgiving. Maybe not even quite as good. I mean it was still fantastic, but you know, it maybe could have been better.”
“Is that what you young people would call an epic fail?” said Andrew.
“Minor fail,” said Randy. “An epic fail would be when I try to make gravy and it ends up with the consistency of chocolate pudding that’s been in the fridge way too long and the flavour of burnt unsweetened oatmeal.”
“That’s Randy’s specialty,” said Jackie. “He doesn’t fail at many things but he’s failed at gravy more than once.”
“Gravy is an art form,” said Andrew. “It takes endless practice and years of honing your technique. Nobody creates a masterpiece on the first try.”
Rose took a seat at the table. “Andrew’s got the gravy thing down pat,” she said. “I’m thinking, for his next trick, I’m going to teach him how to heat up a bowl of soup.”
“You think you’ll have the patience for that?” said Randy.
“Well, I won’t expect him to create a masterpiece the first time,” said Rose. “As long as it’s at least slightly warm and doesn’t taste like charcoal.”
“Soup eh?” said Andrew. “Isn’t soup just gravy with vegetables mixed in?”
“It’s not,” said Randy. “But it should be.”
“It would be if I made it,” said Andrew.
“Soup is soup,” said Rose.
“Indeed it is,” said Andrew. “Everything else is gravy.”