“Surely you don’t need this much food.” I protested a little but secretly I was pleased. I mean, how many women have their sons visit them let alone cook for them?
“Go on, Mom, enjoy your time off.” Elder son shoed me into the other room.
Right! I sat nervously in the living room reading a book. I heard every word being spoken in the kitchen, including the hushed whispers, “Shhh she’ll never know.”
Now nothing gets a mother going faster than those words. I yelled, “What won’t I ever know?”
I repeated the question.
This was too much. I tiptoed to the door and saw them wiping up a spill of some sort off of the floor with my good yellow table cloth. “Not that! Use a rag.”
One of the “boys” hurried to me. Putting his arm around me he turned me around and led me back to the easy chair in the living room. This time he turned on the TV. “We’re doing just fine. You just relax.”
Okay, it was only a table cloth and it was replaceable. I put that on the mental purchase list. I was sort of following the story line of the TV program and wondering what the boys were doing in the kitchen. I heard frying noises and another, “Shhh.”
“Boys. What’s going on in there?”
“Do I have to come in there?”
One of them stepped to the door and said, “Did I hear you speaking?”
Now I know full well that he heard me just fine. I could hear them over the TV. They could surely hear me over the kitchen noises.
He crossed the room and turned the TV up. “Just relax.”
My heart had stopped beating quite so hard when there was a huge crash. Not a pan to pan noise, a glass shattering kind of noise. It was followed by, “Quick get the broom.”
“No, it’s too wet and gooey.”
“How about paper towels?”
“That’ll do. Where are they?”
“Mom, don’t get up, just tell us where the paper towels are.”
Of course I got up. “They’re right here in the closet where they belong.” Fetching the towels, I smelled the vinegar before I saw it. They were standing around a broken jar of sweet pickles. They had surrounded the mess with dishtowels making a mess.
I left. My heart wouldn’t take the way they would clean it up.
I stayed in the living room for a good long while, hoping that they had cleaned the floor some. I heard various other bits of conversation.
Thunk. “Hand me the broom.”
“Need the dustpan too?”
“Naw, we’ll just leave it in a pile in the middle and get it later.”
Giggling. From grown men. I just shook my head.
Whoosh. “Wow, it went really high. Will it go higher if you put more on?”
Am I going to have to clean the ceiling too?
Whoosh. I couldn’t stand it. I raced into the kitchen to see what that sound was. There were flames leaping nearly to the ceiling. I fumbled for my phone.
My youngest saw me and ran to me, grabbing my phone out of my hand. “It’s okay, Mom. It's only an alcohol flame, perfectly harmless."
"What were you doing with an alcohol flame?"
"We were burning the brandy off the mashed potatoes.”
“What was brandy doing in the mashed potatoes?”
“Jeff accidentally put it there. He was aiming for the peas.”
“Dinner’s ready, Mom.”
After this I’m taking two precautions. First I’m putting the fire department on speed dial and second I’m hiring a cleaning service.
Maybe there’s another precaution I should be taking. A vacation in Hawaii.