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Fiction Funny Holiday

Mama’s Dinner Surprise

Suzanne Marsh

“Mama, come on, please hurry it up! They are almost set up for your segment of the


Our family was determined to enjoy our ‘normal’ family Thanksgiving, with or without our all being together. COVID19 was not going to ruin our day or meal. Mama, who absolutely hated having her picture taken had reluctantly agreed to a video chat. She wanted to be part of the dinner, but seemed somewhat confused as to how this was going to happen, until she saw the camera, video.

“Oh no, oh hell no, I am not doing this! Let me out of here! I refuse to look into that

contraption and talk to the rest of the family. For heaven sake, Jackie and Frank live

in New York, I am here in Texas with you and Jane. Patrick and Louise are in Montana.

Monica and Darwin are in Louisiana.” Are you insane? If the thingamabob is here in the

living room how am I supposed to cook a chocolate dream pie.

“Mama, we’ll move it to the kitchen, we thought you might like to visit before we

start making dinner.”

“Son, this is a lovely idea but how are we all going to finish our dinners if we are each

making a dinner.”

“Mama, that is simple. Jackie is going to make the stuffing, her turkey is already in

the oven but her contribution to this is the stuffing. So why can’t she wait to put her

turkey in when everyone else does?”

“Mama, they are on Eastern time, we are on central as are Monica and Darwin, Pat and

Louise are on Mountain time. We have it all covered.”

Mama, never one to be silent about what was going on thought the whole idea insane. She thought it would have been much easier if they had all flown in for a special holiday dinner. Mama, was a small white haired woman, who ruled her home like a kingdom. She was the queen, end of discussion. She was also a very outspoken, sometimes cocky woman. We had gotten Mama to listen to what we wanted to do, her unabashed answer:

“You want me to do what? Are you insane? I can’t bake a pie much less a dream pie on

some small screen that is utter nonsense.”

I had to do a lot of talking to say the least, but Jane and I finally convinced her everything would be fine. Obviously, Mama was not about to cooperate fully, that was a given. The video chat was a fiasco from the moment Jackie, brave lady that she is began:

“Hi Mama, I am going to make my dressing, just the way my Mom taught me.”

Mama half smiled:

“Okay, start your dressing, I am as ready as I will ever be for this whole bunch of crap to


Jackie, has always been intimidated by Mama but she was already cowering, not a good sign. Jackie stared into the camera:

“My Mom, used a bread stuffing. I used honey wheat bread. I am sauteing my onions now.

While I am waiting for the onions, I have already cooked the giblets, they are cool so

I can begin to dice them up into the bowl.”

Mama could remain silent for just so long:

“Jackie, you don’t put giblets in stuffing, you put them in the gravy if you must put them


I rolled my eyes thinking: ‘oh lordie here we go again.’ My wife Jane tried:

“Mama, everyone makes their dressing different. Think about when you

when you were a young bride. You did not make dressing exactly like your Mama,

did you?”

That was opening Mama was waiting for:

“No, you’re correct I did not. My Mama was a terrible cook, she burned everything she

cooked. Her dressing was bread, poultry seasoning and thyme. Nothing in it really.

I just don’t like giblets in any stuffing, so if I am going to have to pretend that I am

eating with you two in New York, then leave the damn giblets out of the gravy!!”

Jackie, was like a frightened fawn staring into the headlights of an on coming truck; Mama was the truck. Somehow we had to distract Mama long enough for Jackie slink away. Frank, never did have much tact and today was no different. Instead of trying to sneak Jackie away from the camera, he moved the camera into the kitchen. That went over like a leaded balloon, with Mama. She has her kitchen organized so she can find everything instantly. She was in her element:

“Frank? What is that mixer doing on the shelf? That should be in a cupboard.”

With a sinking feeling, Frank turned to face the camera:

“That is where Jackie wanted it Mama.”

“Well, you tell her when she slinks back into the kitchen that the damn mixer belongs in a

cupboard not a shelf.”

Frank tried another approach:

“I’ll do that Mama, soon.”

Frank disconnected the video chat right after his goodbye to Mama. I turned to my wife Jane:

“Well, that went rather well don’t you think?”

Jane merely shook her head, and proceeded to have Mama ready for the next victims, er I mean my sister Monica and her husband Darwin. Mama was not a Darwin fan, she didn’t like him and the thought that her only daughter married this “disgusting little man” was just to much for Mama to bear.

“Hi, Mama how are you?” Darwin was standing next to Monica:

“Hello Mother Butterfield, how are you?”

Mama simply ignored him, whether that was a good sign or bad remained to be seen:

“Monica, what are you supposed to fixing in this charade of the Butterfield’s Thanksgiving

dinner? I drew the vegetables. Darwin and I have already shucked the corn and shelled the

peas. Darwin escorted Monica to the kitchen. Mama, was eyeing up her victim:

“Darwin, haven’t you someplace to be? I would like to watch Monica minus her lopped

eared friend.”

Mama without missing a beat snickered:

“Monica, I truly miss you dear. I know you are happy but Darwin is not part of

the family and never will be.”

“Mama, I married him remember? The better or worse thing, that was three years ago.”

“I know that Monica, but you could have done better.”

“Mama, I am going to cut this video chat off if you don’t stop this immediately.”

“Oh, all right bring back the sniveling Basset Hound face. I’ll be nice.”

Monica, motioned Darwin that it was safe to enter as Mama did her best:

“Darwin, I just want to wish you both a Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy your dinner…


Monica with commendable restraint disconnected the video chat, no doubt sighing a sigh of relief that their ordeal was over for the day.

Patrick and Louise were next. Louise had the misfortune to draw the turkey. Mama, who had no concept of time was annoyed to discover it was two o’clock mountain time:

“Frank are you sure Mountain Time is an hour ahead? How can it be two there when we

started this charade at two.”

“Mama, you are just going to have to trust me on this okay?”

“Whatever Frank.”

Pat answered the phone and hooked up the chat. He took a deep breath:

“Hi Mama, Happy Thanksgiving. Louise is in the kitchen. This year

is a real treat, we killed the turkey ourselves.”

“Well, Patrick, that doesn’t surprise me since you live in the wilds of Montana with what’s

Louise’s Indian name? Oh, yes I remember “Fawn Rising Before Dawn?”

“You are close Mama but not quite.”

“Louise is fine Mama.”

“Ah well I suppose.”

Louise came out of the kitchen:

“Hello Mother Butterfield.”

Mama bristled, that was never a good sign:

“Hello Fawn Falling Down Drunk”

This was going badly. Pat had that thunderous look he always had when dealing with Mama.

“MAMA, that was not very nice. We hunted that turkey just like the pilgrims did, how

the Indians shared. You behave or I will disconnect you!”

“All right Patrick Angus Buttterfield.”

Pat hated the name Angus because the only time Mama used it was when she was being overly antagonistic.

“Now, take me into the kitchen, I can’t smell the dang turkey but I want to see it.

It certainly is organic.”

Patrick, with a look of consternation picked up the camera, hauled it to the kitchen:

“Louise, the kitchen is very pretty. How did you prepare the turkey?”

Louise lowered her eyes as she began:

“Wild turkey is cooked slightly differently that store bought turkey. You can not

stuff it with a bread stuffing the meat will be like leather. I stuffed it with apples

and raisins. I used peppercorns and rosemary to flavor the exterior.”

Mama, for the first time all day was actually hanging on every word Louise said:

“how long does it cook?”

Patrick stood there gaping at the camera like this was not happening; Mama was almost pleasant:

“Usually three and half hours, you don’t want it to be dry.”

Mama nodded:

“Patrick, you and Louise have a nice Thanksgiving Dinner. Louise, would you cook

a wild turkey dinner for me once this foolishness with COVID19 has passed?”

Louise was stunned:

“Yes, I would be happy too. You have a wonderful Thanksgiving with Frank and Jane.”

The ordeal of the video chat ended there Mama for whatever reason decided to be especially nice to Louise and Patrick. She did however say one thing once we were off the air:

“Thank heaven that is over. I don’t think I will ever do that again. I want our usual

Thanksgiving dinner with my children here in Texas. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.”

November 23, 2020 22:19

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1 comment

21:54 Dec 03, 2020

I really enjoyed the story Sue it was entertaining and I found it a nice change to some other stories well done Lily PS it’s good writing well done 👏


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