Sandy finished the Thanksgiving grocery shopping in the pet department, piling two ten pound bags of peanuts on the already overloaded grocery cart. She smiled. No one would be able to guess what I am going to do with these, she thought.
At home, she organized the food, checked off her lists. This Thanksgiving dinner for eighteen would appear effortless. But, of course, it wasn’t. The work happened now, before. She had separate lists, all organized and thought out, what preparations needed to be made in what order. Some of the family would be arriving late Wednesday night and she wanted to be ready, then.
With the wood floors swept, the furniture moved back against the walls, she turned her dining room table at an angle, assembled the two folding tables and pushed them end to end at an angle across her dining room and living room.
At three o’clock the stake bed truck pulled up out front. She met the two delivery guys at the door.
“Where do you want these bales, ma’am?”
“In here, by these tables.”
“Inside the house, ma’am?” His eyebrows disappeared under the hair hanging over his forehead.
“Yes, they will be the seats for our Thanksgiving dinner.”
“Inside. Really? You know these straw bales are dusty, dirty, messy, right?”
Sandy laughed. “Of course. Yes, bring them in here, please, four on this side, four on the other side. Thank you.”
“Okay, whatever you say. It’s your house.” The tough delivery guys looked at each other and shrugged.
As the bales were moved, wisps of straw floated around.
“No problem, that’s exactly what I want. Messy.”
“My wife would have a fit.”
Sandy laughed again. She wanted an unusual, a casual atmosphere. Unique. A memory. And they didn’t know about the peanut shells, broken open, scattered around. She felt like a giddy girl planning a surprise party for a special friend. A party where everyone has a good time and laughter echoes off the walls accompanied by the music of happy talk. Okay, she thought, maybe I am dreaming and being unrealistic. We haven’t had a peaceful family get together in quite awhile. Someone takes offense, someone irritates someone else, criticism flares. But, it is worth a try. I will do my part, and hope.
Everything would be white or canvas or gold. Enough color, just in the food. And the people. The gold colored straw looked pretty scattered across the wood floor. She pulled more pieces off the bales and scattered them around. Then, she covered the bales with canvas drop cloths, their edges tucked in underneath. They would be heavy enough to prevent straw poking seated bottoms. Another couple of longer drop cloths covered the tables, hanging down the sides. Gourds she had spray painted gold were placed randomly on the table.
Oh, napkins. She forgot to buy white cloth napkins. Well, on Wednesday, when she picked up the flowers, she could go to the store and get the nicer, heavy, white paper ones. They would do. She added them to the list.