On Sunday, the 2 main players arrived: The Warden’s brother planed in to Palm SpringsInternationalAirport on Southwestern Air, where she picked him up; then my niece, Marcie, arrived from MorenoValley, by auto. I call them the “main players” because Horace would be driving with Alba the next morning over to the Reservation near Phoenix since no one would allow her to drive that desolate distance all alone. Marcie was there to nurse me through the week, so I wouldn’t be alone.
The Warden and Vice Warden headed over to Costco because more food needed to be rounded up for the week, (she had even been out stocking up during the week) and Warden wanted to show Marcie where Stater Bros. was located, also Trader Joe’s, and I don’t know where else, just in case we ran out of something we desperately needed. They had been gone for a little while, and suddenly it entered my conscientiousness that I had heard them talking about 2 rotisserie chickens from Costco, and then I heard something about 3. Well, it went right out of my head again so I never did call and say: “Don’t you think 3 chickens is a little much?,” but that also escaped out of the cranium cavity. I really should’ve gotten to the phone because when they returned with huge boxes of stuff, I cringed and figured I would have to give Sears a call for a special order and instant delivery of their French Door Elite Refrigerator, just happening to be on sale at $1999 — down from $2399. There was a huge tray of sandwiches made with croissants rather than plain old bread, there was a large carton of potato salad, a bean salad, a humongous veggie tray, great big bag of asparagus, green onions, a big jar of Calamata Olives, 6 avocados. I’ll stop there because I should mention what was already there in the Elite AND in the plain, cheap Kenmore in the garage.
There was: a dozen Pork tamales, packages of Chile Verde, Talapia, 4 big Mangoes, a Papaya, Oranges, Apples, 3/4 or more bags of frozen Artichokes, and yams in the pantry. I suspect that I have not been able to gather all this information because they were whizzing right by me with all the boxes on a dolly. I was non-plussed, but it will give you an idea. You would think that Alba decided we were going to be snowed in.
Later, actually it was cocktail hour, we had a few drop-ins, laden with gifts. I know Tammy was there (my memoir coach;) then the Puerta Rican, Maribel, speaking in her inimitable way, added to the soirée; Jan was there – she bought my home over on Nolan Circle in 2000; also Melanie was there — and never looked lovelier. Others: Cuauhtémoc (Horace,) Marcie, the Warden, and me, the prisoner. It seems like there were more peoples than that, but I guess when you’re having fun, you may get a little confused.
Now remember: cheekin, cheekin, cheekin, That adds up to THREE cheekin.
Alba thought we should feed these guests, so what do you think was brought out? The big tray of croissant sandwiches, and the bulging tray of broccoli, carrots, and whatever other veggies they could cram on. No cheekin came out, no potato salad came out. Strange—– Here was a chance to get rid of a lot of stuff. Pretty soon they all left, and the four of us here hit the cots for our beauty rest.
Next morning was departure time for Cuauhtémoc and the Aztec Princess to go off for their Annual Powwow, and it was time for Marcie and I to get ready for our guest day here. We were expecting family from San Juan Capistrano, and New Hampshire. Never did get an exact count, but here’s how it ended up. One minute before Noon, John arrived, but without his wife, Debbie. They have been visiting in Temecula with Debbi’s son, but the son had to be hospitalized with a serious problem the night before. She and John now live in New Hampshire. I cannot give you any news about her son because John has not called me. He told me he would call on Tuesday, and here it is Saturday. I don’t have a cell phone number for him. The San Juan contingent came along, and they were cut back to 3 revelers only: Anita, my niece-in-law, her grandson Josh, belonging to Michele, and other daughter Roberta. Add ‘em all up, and what do you have? Four (4) guests — and remember ALL THAT FOOD, INCLUDING 2½ CHEEKIN! Others, like JJ (John’s son) and family couldn’t make it because mean boss would not give him day off. So there we were, just the six of us looking at each other. Naturally, to start things rolling, I asked who would have a cocktail. Only one “taker.” Anita would like a Vodka and Tonic — but there is NO tonic in this house, so she had to settle for some Trader Joe Sparkling Orange Flavored Mineral Water. And I know what I will have – the usual. No more imbibers. Josh is only 7. Darn. What a start! But things did pick up. We have Cuss Jar on the counter, and when Josh is here, his ears perk up, and gets Gram (Anita) and me saying a few choice words, and stuffs the jar. One time he even sent 2 dollars over here to put in jar because he caught Gram over at her house. That went along for a few hours — little swear words, and Anita and I having our cocktails. Marcie had already laid out some food, so some of it was going to get gone. The guests from yesterday returned, thank goodness, because they do imbibe, and the conversation sound level did pick up. You know how that goes with everyone wanting to talk, and all at the same time.
That took care of Monday, and that was our busiest day. We did have a great time because everyone of those people are so great.
Then came Tuesday. For breakfast, I had croissants, coffee, potato salad, and hard boil egg. I didn’t pay attention to what Marcie had. Our Christmas Eve dinner menu was asparagus and cheekin. I thought by now we were working on cheekin #3, but no way! It was still only #2 cheekin. At this rate, we will still have cheekin for Sunday. We will serve it to the Warden with some potato salad, 3 sandwiches still hanging around, maybe some steamed vegetables, and maybe a Vodka Tonic without the Tonic. And we still have a package of Cheekin Wonton, and the Tilapia.
We saved (ha) a lot of this food for Alba because we figure her week in the food department consisted of tamales, frijoles, pozole, more frijoles.
Marcie likes white meat (of the cheekin) and I love the legs, thighs so no fights there.
Saturday Night. The Last Supper Menu. Cheekin, asparagus, steamed broccoli and baby carrots. It just looked beautiful.
EAT MORE CHEEKIN.
Actually, I am really happy about those 3 cheekin — life was easy — no having to sit around to decide on just what to have for dinner. There was pork loin and Telapia, and God only knows what else. Friday night we did a switch and had a tamale and some chile verde, but it was not the same.
You probably are wondering about those croissants that I have been having for breakfast every morning. On the return home from the shopping at Costco, the Warden’s SUV had the big boxes sliding around and it took a bit of a toll with the big sandwich tray. Some of the croissants were disengaged with the tops and some of the cheese slices messed up. On Monday, Marcie spent quite some time wrapping the full sandwiches, and then she was going to toss the tops. Well, I stepped in and said, “Nothing wrong with this stuff, put it in one big bag, and I will eat.” And I am still having for breakfast.
The moral to this little Christmas Story is loud and clear:
EAT MORE CHEEKIN
MELITAS FORSTER MONDAYS WITH MELITAS