Every year, Pam hosts a Christmas Breakfast.
It’s quite horrible for Pam. Pam positively hates to clean her house. But once a year, Pam hosts the Christmas Breakfast which means the house has to have its annual scrubbing from top to bottom. Her house is beautiful when it’s done. Out of everyone I know, I like Pam’s house best.
But cleaning it takes days of nonstop work, and that doesn’t include the hours of work preparing the food and setting the table. Plus, as presents,Pam bakes everyone 6 homemade blueberry muffins each. Except for me. I always get 12 homemade blueberry muffins. Yes, I’m just that special.
After days upon days of getting the house just right, baking muffins, staying up the entire night before to prepare the food and perform the elaborate Setting of the Table, Christmas Breakfast Time finally arrives. For Pam, the adrenalin kicks in when the guests arrive laden with gifts. She gets a second wind, just long enough to bustle around showing us all the food. Pam directs us to our seats, drinks are poured, and the food is scooped.
And for the first time in 524 hours straight, Pam sits down.
Christmas 2010, it was Christmas Breakfast Time and we had all arrived. Pam was bustling about with her perpetual smile.
There were mothers and fathers, brothers and nephews and nieces and dear 12-muffin friends all crowded into the house. Including Pam’s brother- and sister-in-law, John and Shelley, with their four children aged seven and younger. Shelley’s four children have severe allergies to sleep, so Shelley is in a perpetual state of exhaustion.
After the seats were chosen, drinks were poured and food was scooped, Shelley sat down with the baby on her lap and began to doze off.
Just as we were sprinkling our grapefruit with sugar, Maggie, the dog, peed on the floor.
Pam missed that part, because she was passed out, her cheek gently resting on a cushion of blueberry muffins.
From where he was sitting at the kiddie table on a tiny kid-sized chair, John could clearly see the dog peeing and yelled, “Maggie! No!”
Maggie had peed on the wooden part of the floor, but it was slowly oozing toward the carpet under the dining room table. But what was worse was that John and Shelley’s children immediately, as all children do, headed for the puddle of pee, intending to inadvertently splash through it.
If you have children, you know what I mean. Whenever there’s something to be avoided, children will somehow inadvertently end up right in the middle of it. For example, I have yet, in 10 years of parenting, to sweep up single a pile of dirt in the kitchen floor without a boy walking into the kitchen and stepping smack in the middle of my pile of dirt. Every time.
So…there’s the puddle of pee with four children converging on it as it oozes toward the carpet.
Shelley tries to gather the strength to stand up, but you can tell she’s just given up. There’s no way she’ll summon enough energy to stop the inevitable and all she can do is watch in silent horror as the scene plays itself out. John was doing his best to grab all four of his children simultaneously as they waddled past him toward the pee. The other guests were slow to react.
And then there was me.
I hadn’t started blogging yet, so I had gone to bed early and was fresh as a daisy and well rested.
So, I took it upon myself to Save the Day.
I had to be fast. There was no time to waste. The children were lumbering closer and closer to the pee, slipping from their father’s grasp, and the pee was oozing closer and closer to the carpet. This was no moment for rational thought.
With my usual gazelle like grace, I sprinted into the kitchen and grabbed the first absorbent material I could find.
Pam’s kitchen dish towel.
Something in the more logical and sophisticated part of my brain was screaming, “Nooo! Not the dish towel! You know Pam put out her good one because she has her annual guests!”
But in the heat of the moment, the more primitive, reptilian part of my brain took over, and without considering the consequences, I hurtled back into the dining room, aimed the towel and dropped it over the puddle of pee. I could hear Pam’s mother-in-law gasp and say, “Not the good towel!”
And once it had left my hands and was no longer in my control, gently fluttering down onto the puddle of pee, all I could think was, “What have I done?”
Everyone stared, still as statues, forks halfway to their mouths. Shelley’s eyes were wide and shocked. The flurry of activity, followed by the sudden silence, had roused Pam and she looked on with resignation at the capricious whims of fate.
I gasped out, “Oh, Pam! I’m so sorry! Your good towel…”
With good grace she assured me that it was alright, pushed herself up from her chair, and delicately scooped up the towel. She said she’d wash it, but I’m pretty sure I saw her burying it in the back yard while we were unwrapping the presents.
I felt I had to make good on my faux pas. So, after the Christmas craziness settled down, I bought Pam a replacement towel. Two in fact.
I took a picture of them before I gave them to her. Here they are. Read the monograms carefully.
Why am I telling this? Because at the cookie exchange this morning we told each other our favorite Christmas Memories. And that is mine.
I managed to find a white elephant in my shed for the white elephant gift game at the Cookie Exchange.
Wendy was the happy, happy recipient. Yay, Wendy!
Oh, it’s not that bad. There was a nice new throw blanket in the bag with the elephant.