The Ink Well Prompt #40/ A Strange and Different Thanksgiving Day
In California, in the year 2010, the town of St. George was saddened. Four of its most beloved villagers had died, grandparents Caroline and George Hamilton, as everyone knew them, Kent Davies and Sarah Mathews.
The Hamilton's were the first to arrive in the Buenaventura eco-village. Some 25 more families would follow. It was a pilot project being developed by Mayor Robert McKenzie. The village would be self-sustaining, producing its own food and energy.
The families would integrate little by little. Each one brought their own customs, but they all decided to keep Thanksgiving Day as the village's emblematic day. On that day, all the neighbors would get together and celebrate a big family feast, which would be held in a special hall.
For this reason, there was a meeting where everyone planned to build this exclusive room ..... To do so, they contributed money and built it themselves. That same room would be used for different family activities.
In 1990 the hall was inaugurated by the Mayor of the time, with the name of Rainbow of Life. That same year, all the inhabitants gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
The years went by, some settlers left, but new residents arrived and continued with the tradition. During those traditional celebrations, strange things also happened, unexpected events; in short, they always had anecdotes of that day, which were recorded both in photos and in a diary.
That year 2010 was a sad one for those who knew the deceased. The new Mayor, Joseph Jones, in order to lift the spirits of the people, decided to propose a contest to the owner of the Rica cookie factory. The contest would consist of making cookies where, one of the ingredients would be pumpkin or gingerbread. The theme would be of free choice. The creativity of the participants would be rewarded.
The owner of the factory, Moisés Eisenhower, coordinated all the preparations. As a surprise for the competitors, he would have as a guest participant, the famous pastry chef Martha Kolowski. She had written several books, the most famous being "Martha's Gingerbread Houses", with which she won several awards.
The people of St. George, although still in pain, began to cheer up. Many entered the contest. One entrant, Mary Hopkins, a gingerbread house and pumpkin cookie expert, became very excited. She began designing her spectacular house a week early. That year she would have to incorporate something new into her house......
Meanwhile, another group of families were taking care of the turkeys and decorating the living room, Rainbow of Life. No one suspected what would happen that day......
The caterers selected the turkeys. They were to be slaughtered and roasted in the wood-fired oven. Well, that day turned out to be very peculiar..... When they were about to take the turkeys to be slaughtered, some escaped, and others went to the pond........
-Mom, the turkey ran away. He went out to the pond. I feel the poor animal's fear. He doesn't want to be killed, he'd rather drown than be killed by his owner. He never thought you would kill him,- shouts George, a boy known to have certain "extrasensory qualities".
Mrs. Murphy, hearing this, reacts and says:
-So, what are we eating? That's a traditional holiday ingredient.
-Mom, vegetables. After feeling the fear of the animal, I'm going to be a vegetarian...... adds George.
Meanwhile, in the living room they were testing the effect of some special lights they bought for decoration. Suddenly they heard a bang and saw a spark.
-All the lights have just burned out. What do we do now,- announced Robert Watson.
Everyone present looked at each other and thought that they did not have time to fix the short circuit, so they decided that they would use candles for the meeting.
Meanwhile, Mary continued to prepare her house. This year she added orange and pumpkin juice to her cookies, as well as ginger. She achieved a flavor that pleased everyone who tasted them. She had already cut the pieces, began to assemble her house....... Suddenly her cat Mini came into the kitchen, her dog Trueno ran after her, and then they tripped over the table and the gingerbread house collapsed, damaging the façade.
Mary, grief-stricken, calls her boyfriend, Dave, on the phone. He revives her and says:
-Calm down, I'm on my way to your house, we'll sort it out there. ..... You will go to the competition.-
Upon arriving at his girlfriend's house, Dave sees the disaster........ He proposes to Mary that he would help her but they would have to work, all night, to get to the contest on time. So they did. At Dave's suggestion, Mary added lights to the house and a well.
Thanksgiving arrived. Everyone was in better spirits. The ladies, led by Mrs. Murphy, would go to the wood-burning oven to roast the turkeys. The competition was about to begin.....
Mary is shocked, she didn't expect to compete with a baking veteran. She didn't like it, she tells her boyfriend. He says to her:
-Have faith. The house turned out spectacular. Remember that there are 3 prizes.-
Mary is reassured to hear these words. Once all the participants have been selected, the jury begins the selection process....After the voting, they announce the verdict:
-The winners are: Patricia Weissmuller, Kate Miller and Mary Brown.
All receive a cash prize. In addition, the first prize was won by Mary. It consisted of the publication of her recipe, in the next book, by the famous baker Kolowski.
Mary couldn't have been prouder. The competition had a happy ending.
While..... the preparations for the dinner were progressing. Already in the hall the tables were decorated. The families began to arrive. Each one took their place at the big table. Everyone was surprised that the lights had failed that year. The turkeys, vegetables, sweets and drinks began to arrive at the table carried by the helpers, hired for that day.
That day the Mayor decided to clarify the inconveniences that had arisen:
-Today we are gathered here in the warmth of candlelight. One of their neighbors told me that Grandma and Grandpa Hamilton had asked that, in the year of their death, the Thanksgiving celebration be suspended, which no one understood...... Apparently one of their relatives confirmed what they said. So we apologize to the Hamilton grandparents for not having understood them. Still, we feel that this celebration is very important to everyone. That is why we are gathered here tonight.-
Mrs. Mary and her boyfriend say the prayers and everyone celebrated dinner. Leaving the photos, comments and anecdotes for Mr. Watson to record in the book ..... as a testimony for future generations.
A Strange and Different Thanksgiving Day by María del Carmen Sánchez Copywrite © 2021
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)