When the Ghost of Christmas yet to come starts spreading its merry magic around, anything can happen. One year, the spirit of Snap, Crackle, and Pop possessed me, and with a happy heart and handicapped hands I set about to make Rice Krispie treats.
I’m not sure where I went wrong, but the next day my family strung electrified razor wire around the kitchen door. Now I can use the refrigerator only when accompanied by a guardian. The egg compartment is password protected.
I might not bake like Betty Crocker, but I mix like a manic bartender. Ingredients disappeared into the bowl like bathtub toys down the drain.
I was elbow-deep in marshmallow crème and crunchy bits when the phone rang.
I looked at the phone.
I looked at the mass of seasonal sweetness glistening in the mixing bowl.
Surely it was a late night salesman calling with an offer on reindeer rides or antler cleaners.
Or it could be. . .
I lunged for the phone.
Across the dog napping by my chair. Across the table. Across the mixing bowl full of sticky, marshmallow goodness.
Which immediately grabbed my bosom like a Hoover on a hairball.
I squealed and grabbed at the sticky mass stuck to my sweater. My hands stuck tight.
The phone rang forlornly. Would Santa wait? I couldn’t take that chance.
I wedged a rubber spatula somewhere a spatula should never go and tried to pry myself loose from the goo. No luck. Finally, through the use of my gourmet kitchen superpowers, I pulled a hand free and grabbed the phone. Crispy Christmas spirit clung to my clothes like a solidified lava flow.
I sat back to ponder the situation, one hand stuck to my shirt in a modified Pledge of Allegiance salute, the other hand held fast to the telephone.
About that time the Captain came in the back door. “Why didn’t you answer the phone? I wanted to ask you about the ingredients for the . . .”
Here he uttered an oath that he generally reserves for finding that I’ve used the last of the 12-year-old single malt Scotch to pre-soak the socks. It’s not something I did more than once, thinking surely if there were any substance that could take on Carolina Red Clay, it would be the stuff that dissolved my taste buds and disintegrated the lining of my stomach. This attempt was unsuccessful, but lead to a discussion called “We Don’t Use the Good Liquor On The Laundry,” which is my favorite lecture after, “We Don’t Shave Sweaters With My Norelco.”
I looked up at him, Rice Krispie clumps hanging from my sweater like Christmas tree ornaments and marshmallow crème tipping my eyelashes like disco balls. The Labrador dozing at my feet dreaming of sugarplums looked like a Candyland Appaloosa.
That night I discovered the true meaning of Christmas. When the chips are down and your snap and crackle have lost their pop, a man who will chisel petrified puffed rice out of your navel is worth more than a herd of flying reindeer.
But these days? I buy Corn Flakes.