The four friends were, as usual, seated around table 12 in the Meadow Lakes dining room. Hot chocolate was the drink of the afternoon. A plate of Christmas cookies from Mary Rose’s kitchen was the treat of the day.
Robbie opened her computer, turned it on and looked around at her friends. “What would have happened if it had been three Wise Women instead of three Wise Men who followed the star to Bethlehem?” she grinned.
Marge, Hadley, and Mary Rose grinned back, waiting for her to continue.
“They would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts.”
“Like enough diapers to last for the entire trip to Egypt,” Marge added.
“Registration for the baby at the Sisters of Notre Dame preschool,” Mary Rose said.
Hadley looked puzzled. “A bunch of original onesies?”
They laughed. “But here’s what we heard when they left on the camel ride home...” Robbie leaned into her computer and read; "Did you see the sandals Mary was wearing with that gown?"
"That baby doesn't look anything like Joseph!"
"Virgin, my arse! I knew her in school!"
"Can you believe that they let all of those disgusting animals in the house?"
"I heard that Joseph isn't even working right now!"
"And that donkey that they are riding has seen better days too!"
"Want to bet on how long it will take until you get your casserole dish back?"
“I love that,” Hadley said. “And from where the wise men are said to have come from, two of the three would be women of color.”
“Right on!” Robbie said.
“What’s the casserole they made, Robbie?” Mary Rose asked.
“Ah – my Cajun Turkey for leftover turkey,” Robbie said.
She tapped on different keys, then began to read again.
“10 oz frozen broccoli, 4 cups cooked chicken or turkey,1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, ½ cup mayonnaise, 4 oz can of mushroom stems and pieces, drained, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Cook broccoli, drain, and spread over 13x9in baking dish. Mix other ingredients, leaving ½ cup of cheese. Pour over broccoli, sprinkle remaining cheese over top, cover with foil and cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. When done, stir.”
“Sounds good,” Marge said. “Find mine,”
Robbie scrolled down.
“Marge’s Jailhouse Chicken Enchilada Casserole,” she read.
“2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 large onion, diced,4 oz can green chilies, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 8 oz jar black olives, 4 large flour tortillas each cut into 6 pie-shaped pieces, your favorite salsa, 3 cups diced chicken or turkey.
Preheat over to 325, grease 9x13 in pan, mix cheeses together and set aside. In large frying pan, heat oil and sauté onion until tender add chilies and half the cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Line pan with 9 of the tortilla wedges, spread with ½ cup salsa, cover with half melted cheese/onion, ½ chicken, repeat. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Cook at 325 for 50 minutes.”
They all reached for a beautifully frosted cookie at the same time.
“Reading recipes makes me hungry,” Marge said, taking another cookie, a Christmas bell this time.
“I’ll bring you a recipe of my leftover turkey tomorrow,” Mary Rose promised.
Hadley poured another round of hot chocolate and sat down to go over the latest Meadow Lakes gossip..
A Holiday Card from Joy
In this year of Covid-19, one of the things that came home to me, perched itself on a shelf in my heart and stayed there, was how valuable friends and family have become. When I called someone, they were home! I haven't talked to an answering machine in months! I caught up with old friends and said, "Love you" more times than in any year.
A good friend died. A family member caught the virus and recovered. As Ted and I counted, we knew 20 people who had become victims. In addition, fourteen family members and friends have died this year, only one from Covid-19. The elections came and never went. We are still waiting to see if our democracy holds. There is tension and stress along with funny jokes and great cartoons.
And there is YOU. I cherish you and while this is going out to a bunch of people, as I put your name in the "To" line, I'm sending you a prayer and a hug. I love you.
I'm also sending me - a good picture Ted took. I'm looking straight at you and wishing you a gentle good 2021.
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What did you do this Thanksgiving that was enriching and positive?
Who did you think about that brought smiles and tears?
What is your most precious memory for this time of the year?
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