Snow hasn’t yet covered the dead leaves with its wintery blanket, but the ice of sibling rivalry and holiday spirit has chilled the hearts of the Persnickety family and their neighbors this early November morning. The front yard is a battle field of cranberry sauce, empty pie crusts and globs of mashed potatoes that cry out on the muddy lawn. Panting, like two wounded lionesses, Aunt Marge and Mother circle each other, holding a pan and a wooden spoon respectively. A tiny white mop of a dog barks and growls when it’s not busying itself trying to scarf down the edible artillery scattered on the ground. Sources say that they first heard the ruckus at 8:30 a.m.
Mr. Carson, the owner of the local thrift shop that sells your assortment of moose, cheese and weird Viking memorabilia, shook his head and scratched at his large horned sleeping cap. “Ya know Elizabeth, I really think your ma Marie’s winning this time though. Got your aunt square in the face a few times before that little feather duster of a dog came out. Some of us are still trying to sleep though ya know, can ya tell ‘um to keep it down?” After, Mr. Carson was laughed at by the throng of ever growing neighbors, all wanting to see if anyone would draw blood or resort to name calling.
“We just heard this caterwauling this morning, and oh gosh, your mom just started swinging at Marge there with her spoon ya know, flicking food like the American Sniper or something and Marge firing back. It looks like a slaughter!” Neighbor Ester Johnson said defensively, when she was asked what brought her out of her house. “I mean, it’s not really a slaughter until someone bleeds dearie…”
The brawl had in fact started 15 minutes earlier than the neighbors believe, in the Persnickety kitchen. After two days of not sleeping, being in extremely close proximity to one another and an adrenaline high that just kept pumping, Aunt Marge and Mom had finally snapped when they began to start the first of many dishes for the blessed holiday.
“They just wouldn’t stop screaming about who made the better cranberry sauce or mashed potatoes,” Amy, this journalist’s older sister sighed, not looking up from her smartphone. “Mom thinks there should be more cream in the potatoes, Aunty Marge says more orange juice in the cranberries. Then it was all downhill from there. Aunt Marge hates the decorating and Mom hates Princess Doodles.” The small white dog in question threw up whatever it was eating to begin yapping at everyone even more “ferociously.” “Honestly, it’s better to just let them fight this one out, if worst comes to worst we’ll order pizza.”
Uncle Tim and the Father unit were far more distressed about the situation than even the neighbors.
“You girls don’t understand, this could not just effect this afternoon, but this could end all of our holiday meals all together. Don’t you get it?!” Father rumbled, nervously shuffling as he began to dial the number to his Mother-in-law’s cellphone. “Maybe Diane can talk some sense into them before she gets here this afternoon.”
“That means no more peach cobbler, no more corn pudding, no more chicken pot pies, and…no more pecan pies.” Uncle Tim continued. Amy gasped softly. No more pecan pies? But they were the best pecan pies that had ever been made in all of Northern Minnesota. Those pies had won awards, made full grown men cry, and the only ones who knew how to make them were currently spitting and hissing at each other like angry house cats. A great yowl went up and the crowd all gasped, horrified.
The two women collided in midair, their combined force and midlife crises seemed to blend together with a terrific CRACK! We all waited with baited breath as the two bodies lay stunned on the ground. Their hair and cheeks were caked with food, mud and bright cherry leaves. Mother stretched her hand out, trying to find something solid to help her to her feet, but grabbed Aunt Marge’s hand instead. The two sisters stared at each other, two titans momentarily stunned, then stared at the ground looking at all of their foolishness and waste of work exploding around them, all to be witnessed by the happy and sleepy occupants of our town.
They sighed, and climbed to their feet. Aunt Marge helping Mother, both gathering their utensils and glancing in the crowd’s direction.
“Oh like you guys are so above it all!” Mother yelled, waving her arm in dismissive motions.
“Can’t sisters have an argument without the whole neighborhood chiming in? Goodness.” Aunt Marge sighed, flicking mashed potatoes out of her hair before they both turned and walked back into the house to continue the food prep.
“We’re never going to be like that, and if we do get like that, we’re ordering Chinese.” Amy said to this journalist as she went to recapture Princess Doodle, and the entire town breathed a disappointed sigh that the madness was over…At least until Christmas rolls around.