Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It has everything to do with childhood memories before everything went south. Before Daddy died when I was 13. Before spider webs wrapped themselves around Mother’s synapses and short-circuited her mind. I freeze that “before” time by making a sweet domestic nest with my beloved. By immersing in the aromas of that happy, earlier time of childhood. Buck and my traditions are different. No longer bound by replica menus. Even the superstitious among us realize they brought no good luck. So: no heavy dressings or gravy or Crisco shortening pies. The meal will be simple: dry-brined and roasted turkey breasts, a cranberry sauce with cherries and bourbon, small baked sweet potatoes in their jackets, green beans redolent with shallots and lemon zest, mashed potatoes, and various sides brought by Buck’s daughter (my dear friend) and granddaughters (my dear friends, too).
Two turkey breasts are happily dry brining in the fridge tonight, and the messiest part of Thanksgiving dinner prep is done. I’m celebrating with a tot of sherry.
Dr. Claire Peterson liked to read mind candy mystery romance novels when she traveled. They were a relief from her steady diet of fine print medical journals. What’s more, she could download twenty at a time onto her Kindle and not take up any additional packing space.
Claire leaned on the riverboat’s railing , basking in the late afternoon sun. She sipped a glass of Sancerre and watched waiters setting up an outdoor restaurant for dinner as the boat slipped by a quaint little town.
Maybe a tall, handsome stranger with a lovely European accent, eyes clear blue as an Alpine lake and long, elegant fingers, will suddenly appear and sweep me off my sensible shoes, she thought.
Another person joined her at the rail. There was plenty of room, but the person leaned in, uncomfortably close. She saw his hands first, clearly those of a man. Not long at all, but stubby and rough, the nails chewed. Claire instinctively drew back. The man’s short brown hair looked chewed as well, and his eyes as he made close contact with hers, were not blue. Not clear. Rather, they looked like shallow round pits of sludge.