It was turning into a long meeting.
Ever since arriving in the Creators Realm, I had been pining away for the life I had in Cratersville. Now, with the start of the Holly Days fast approaching, I was downright depressed.
Then came my savior from despair, Professor Zell. Besides being a mentor as I negotiated my new life in the Creators Realm, Zell was becoming a dear friend who buoyed my spirits whenever they were down. Today was no different, for Zell was offering to put together a Thanksgiving Feast in my honor.
Since Zell had no first-hand experience with iconville holidays, such as Thanksgiving, he was looking for a few pointers to guide his preparations. This is why our brief planning session was turning into an epic meeting of tedious proportions.
First, we had to talk about the food. This should have been easy, but it wasn’t. While I knew what I liked to partake of each time Thanksgiving (aka Turkey Day as it was known in Cratersville) rolled around, I was rarely involved in the actual preparation of said festive meal, except for opening up a few cans of olives and cubing up the bread for dressing.
I was usually booted from the preparation area once the little creatures showed up to help, which they always did when I was in the vicinity of the kitchen (imagine that). Thus, I didn’t have an index of recipes in my head or at my fingertips in one of those little recipe tins like my friend Bluesy—the ultimate cook—had.
This left me no choice but to peruse the recipes curated in the Celestial Warehouse—that great cloudy web of information, trivial facts, and cute animal videos.
While I used my Creation Book to search for Turkey Day inspiration (after mumbling a brief prayer of thanks that my connection to the Celestial Warehouse was still working), Professor Zell sipped on a drink that had been brought from the kitchen by one of the myriads of creatures that kept his castle running.
Professor Zell was a Creator like me, though his creatures were not free of the Decorum like mine were.
Zell was dressed in a flowing blue robe adorned with golden symbols. The drink in his hand looked just as wizardly. It was electric blue. It was in a martini glass. It was smoking. I wasn’t sure if it was alcoholic. I hoped for his sake it was.
I was nursing an eggnog. At least that’s what I had asked for. Actually, I had asked for a pumpkin spice latte, but I got something akin to warm vanilla-flavored milk with yellow coloring in it. I made a note to look up a proper eggnog recipe while I was at it.
I selected several versions of each recipe, since I really didn’t know which version would create that special “tastes like home” dish I was used to experiencing.
I didn’t have a printer, and my handwriting bordered on illegible, so I projected each recipe as I found it above the table at which I was sitting. A proper scribe was provided by Professor Zell—a diligent and colorfully dressed creature named Music Box—who copied each recipe with a quickness that astounded me in a symbol-based script I could not read.
Zell took each of the pages as she finished and looked them over. Apparently, he could understand her cryptic hand. At times, he would scratch something out and write something new instead.
After a while, I asked him what he was doing.
“Editing out any ‘substitutions’ Music Box may have made,” he replied, drily.
“What kind of ‘substitutions?’” I asked, feeling a bit nervous.
He picked up a recently edited recipe. “Instead of ‘crispy fried onions,’ for your—no doubt—tasty green bean casserole, she had written down ‘crispy fried worms.’”
“Music Box!” I shrieked. “We didn’t eat bugs in Cratersville!”
Music Box rolled her eyes as she tore off a scrap of paper from the one she was scribing on and wrote a response which she then handed to me. It spoke in lieu of the voice she did not have.
Fortunately, it was written in a script she knew I could read.
“Technically, worms aren’t bugs. That being said, I also eat bugs, not to mention a wide assortment of creepy crawlies. What are you going to serve me? I am invited to the party—aren’t I?”
“Of course you’re invited!”
Music Box was always by Professor Zell’s side. She was his go between, his organizer, his helper. She was also an all around busy body. She knew all the juicy gossip and was no doubt a fine purveyor of it too. You didn’t dis her. Not that I would. I liked Music Box, even though her choice in nourishment was suspect.
“Instead of crossing out her ‘substitutions,’” I offered diplomatically, “just add the original ingredient with a side note to ‘make both versions.’”
I turned to Music Box. “Happy?”
She wrote a reply. “Very. I wasn’t relishing the idea of noshing on nothing but rainbow chubbies the entire evening.”
Rainbow chubbies were Music Box’s delicacy of choice. I’ll save you all the juicy details. Let’s just say that ‘chubbies’ were usually served in a bowl of rich, loamy dirt. Delish.
After I had collected multiple versions of green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, oven roasted veggies, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, bread dressing, turkey friendly gravy, mashed potatoes, cheesy potatoes, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, and the ubiquitous jello salad, I was confident I had an assortment of food that both Music Box and turkeys could give thanks for.
Of course, there were still Zell’s other guests I had to consider. Perhaps, I should suggest that he serve a few dishes of more familiar fare for his friends. There’s only so much traditional, mid-century Americana food that one could consume in one sitting—especially, for the uninitiated.
“What about the guest of honor?”
Zell may not have known a lot about a Turkey Day Feast, but a missing turkey recipe was just too obvious to ignore.
“Yes, about that…”
I downed the last of the nog and suggested we order another round of drinks—and dinner with a side of rainbow chubbies. I struggled on how to proceed. “Instead, of ingesting turkey on Turkey Day, Poppy and I had come up with something even better.”
“Go on,” Zell said.
So, I told him the story of how Poppy and I had turned a simple Thanksgiving Day Feast into a Turkey Day Celebration, and how there might be a few uninvited guests—and I wasn’t talking about a hoard of little creatures crashing the kitchen.
After I finished my tale, I could tell that the Professor was probably reconsidering the whole Turkey Day thing.
Nevertheless, I was certain that when the Turkey Day Celebration was done, everyone would leave having had a gobble, gobble, good time and being truly thankful that it was finally over.
—Jellybean Reds, Creator of Little Creatures