- A Busy Thanksgiving Day
- Inge drove down to Mike's house very early Thanksgiving morning. Everyone helped load Mort's car with their clothes and other things they needed for the weekend. The crossover vehicle would be a bit cramped, but the twins wanted Rufus to come too since they didn't take him on the previous trip. There'll be other dogs there too, they reasoned. Inge said she didn't mind, that she liked dogs and that it would be a relatively short trip, so Mort and Agnes relented.
- When they arrived about 8:30 AM, volunteers from the local soup kitchen were already at work, baking turkeys and pies, preparing the potatoes, cranberries, stuffing and all sorts of other goodies.
- "Yum. It smells really good," Mal said, sniffing the aroma that was wafting from various parts of the kitchen.
- "Hi, folks. Join the party! We've got scrambled eggs, biscuits and other breakfast fixin's for you. No fun serving food to others when you're hungry yourselves," Maggie greeted them.
- Maggie had long experience in running the soup kitchen. Whether it was a slow mid-July day with just a few guests or a holiday with a special project such as this, everything went smoothly thanks to Maggie's skillful planning and organization.
- Mel offered to take Rufus out to the fenced-in lot in back of the building where several other dogs were playing, while Mal wandered around the kitchen, taking in all the meal preparations in wonder.
- They all sat down for breakfast at a long table when Mel returned. She reported that Rufus and the other dogs were fine. People would be coming and going all day with food or helping escort the guests in for Thanksgiving dinner, so someone was always there to keep an eye on them.
- When they finished eating, Maggie cleared the table and suggested roles for everyone. Inge and Agnes would be part of the preparation team, Mort and Mike would bring in fresh ingredients as they were needed and assist guests with their plates and beverages, and the children would help clean and re-set the tables. That arrangement was acceptable to everyone except Mal.
- "I want to help cook," he told Maggie. "Let me help make the stuffing or cranberries. That's lots more fun."
- Maggie looked at Agnes, who shrugged and said "Ok, let's see how long cooking stays being fun."
- Guests started coming in about 11 o'clock. The tables were all set and ready for the diners. Mel went to greet the first guests, as there wasn't anything to clean up yet. All manner of people came through the hall's doors, some young, some old, some in wheelchairs, some who spoke languages Mel didn't understand. Mel made friends with Louisa, a girl about her own age, who came with her mother. When they finished eating, Louisa begged her mother to let her stay and help Mel. Louisa's mother was reluctant.
- "See, there are plenty of other helpers. You'll just get in the way."
- But Louisa persisted and her mother finally relented. "All right, but just until three o'clock. I'll come by then to pick you up."
- Mal didn't like the warmth generated by all the cooking, but he tolerated it, fascinated by the vast quantities of food being prepared and the preparation itself. He asked those doing the cooking all sorts of questions, such as: why do you use bread for the stuffing when you can just eat the bread by itself? why do the apples turn brown after you cut them? what causes the turkey to turn brown when you bake it? what makes cranberries red and blueberries blue? And that's just a few of Mal's questions. Whatever job he was attending to, questions came along with it.
- Guests continued arriving throughout the day, sometimes just a few at a time, but often in groups of eight or ten at a time, keeping Mel and her new friend Louisa very busy.
- When Louisa's mother returned at three, Mel asked, "Are you coming tomorrow for the funraiser?"
- "Funraiser? Oh, you mean FUNDraiser, don't you, hon? Yes, we shall certainly be there. I raise a pretty mean paintbrush!"
- Mel looked at her friend's mother quizically. She wasn't at all sure what raising a mean paintbrush meant. Some parents might raise mean kids, but...
- Mel's thoughts were interrupted by Maggie calling out, "See you tomorrow bright and early, Lashawna."
- She then turned to Mel. "You must be awfully tuckered out, sweetie. It's getting slower now. Why don't you rest awhile? Your brother and the rest of your family can fix up some plates for yourselves and I'll bring you your desserts. It's been a long time since breakfast!"
- "Good thing we were fortified by the hearty breakfast," Mike declared. "I'm pooped! And famished!"
- Everyone nodded in agreement as they brought their filled plates to an empty table.v "I haven't worked this hard since...since I don't know when," said Mort.
- Agnes reminded them: "Remember, this is just the beginning. We've got painting and all sorts of other work on the new health clinic waiting for us the next couple of days. Inge, are you sure you know what you've gotten yourself into?"
- "Ya, sure," she replied smiling, faking a heavy Norwegian accent.
- Funraising while Fundraising
- "Are we going to paint too, Mom?" Mel asked, wondering about the "mean paintbrush."
- "No dear," Agnes replied. "Adults to the painting. They've set up special games and contests for the children who come with their parents. And for the dogs, too, I understand."
- "That's neat," Mal said. "I can't wait for the funraiser to start!"
- Mel poked her brother's shoulder. "Bioloney, don't you know anything? It's not a funraiser. It's a FUNDraiser."
- "Speaking of FUNDraisers..." Mike began, and then paused as Maggie came with slices of pie for everyone. "...the volunteers will be donating some work and the construction company is donating paint, materials and tools, right? Where does the fundraising come in?"
- "Some companies are donating furniture, carpeting and equipment after we're done," Agnes replied.
- "There's no sponsorship for the number of hours people work, or anything like that? That's what they do for those marathon fundraisers, pledge an amount of money for each mile someone runs that they sponsor. And what about the children's games?"
- "As far as I know, Dad, there aren't sponsors for the adults, although I understand there are prizes for the children." Agnes said.
- Hmm, Mike thought. We'll have to see about that.
Please click HERE to continue reading.
Submit your child's artwork for this story!
iNTRODUCTION TO BOOK 2
INTRODUCTION TO THE BIOFABLES SERIES