Gil looked up from the place Ms. Elly set in front of him. A large acorn squash dominated the plate. To the left a heaping of mashed potatoes oozing with whipped butter and shredded cheese. On the remaining third of the plate, a large serving of mixed nut salad topped with almond and sesame seed dressing lay on top of a bed of mixed greens. His side plate held portions of spinach soufflé and green bean casserole.
“Gil that butter didn’t need a flogger to get that way,” Ms. Elly teased, turning back to the cart behind her. Uproarious laughter broke out. Gil glanced down the table to where Blackie sat with her lemon and dill salmon. Tongson came through again. After making sure Tomas got home in one piece, the fish arrived days later with a hand written note and receipt bearing the name of the boat the purchase came from. No shape shifters met their demise.
Laughter died down as Ms. Elly moved down the table serving others from the cart laden with their plates. The buffet covered the bar and several tables close by. Rattigan’s remained closed by his and Louie’s decry. Those who didn’t have a family or opted to stay away from the yearly generational gatherings that might not end up as merrily as some would like chose to come together with Rattigan’s staff and owner to celebrate.
Center of pushed together tables, giant vases filled with colored leaves made up the center piece. Thanks to the Turkles, pies sat cooling in the kitchen. An emergency meeting of the town council brought the Turkle homestead within the Peak’s limits. Abram cussed and questioned why for the first forty-eight hours. After the quietest night’s sleep he’d had in decades, the noise stopped. Peak law didn’t stand for its citizens ripping each other apart to the point of death. Fist fights and bloody noses were tolerated. Otherwise Nick and Bo would be doing more community service than there was available for them to do.
Ms. Elly reached the end of the tables, leaned down and kissed her husband. Gil smiled. Those two knew how to love and live. Nick’s father was an asset to the council. The old man knew along with Rachel where the bodies were hid. Rachel who should be back by now wasn’t. Her family said something about a letter she left stating she might be away longer than expected. Gil hoped his assistant came back soon. He missed arguing with her and her skills that got an amazing amount of work done. Rachel earned her vacation. She had plenty of time on the books.
At the opposite end of the table, Louie rose. He hefted his glass aloft, filled with Rattigan’s own Pale Silver Ale. Glasses up and down the table held each diners preferred beverage. Other glasses rose as Louie spoke. “Here’s to another year of good cheer, togetherness, surviving, and good friends as well as family.”
“Here, here,” rang out through the room. A throat cleared. Nick’s father rose. He smiled as he turned meting everyone’s gaze. “Today I eat with friends and colleagues. I eat greens and veggies. Ain’t so bad tasting a bit of how the other side lives, eh darling?”
Gil burst out laughing with the others. Ms. Elly blushed, cuffed her husband’s arm as he licked his lips. Others chimed in with their thanks and toasts. Silence fell as Gil rose. His turn and words failed him. Or did they? He opened his mouth, chirped six times. “Now let me translate. Good friends. Chosen family. Good eats.”
Ms. Elly rose as quiet resumed. “All right. Let’s get to the consuming. There’s plenty for everyone. Besides Nick and Bo have dish duty to cross off their civic chore list.”
Happy Weekend Gang!
Sorry for the late post. I've been away from the computer. We had a lovely Thanksgiving here at the Spice Homestead. Looks like our group on the Peak are enjoying gathering together too.
Cold weather tore a path across the country this week. May you find warmth and blessings this holiday season. May your gifts be for what you need and allow you to pay things forward for your good fortune.
Until next week,