The phone rang about six-thirty a few evenings ago . ” Hello “, I answered . It was Marie over in Sierra Madre . Marie never calls here .
” Is your power on ? ”
Well , it’s not as odd an occurence as you might at first think , because a howling wind had started up an hour before . Pine needles from Ed’s tree next door were already up and down the block . We’d all be raking them up for the next week . Our two fraidy cats were cowering under the table . Cosmo was complaining in her whiney cat voice , trying to get sympathy , I think .
” This is Marie . Can I come over and bake some fruitcakes ? ” Sure. I told her sure , Marie , sure . ” I’ll be over right now .” Sure , Marie , sure . Who bakes fruitcakes these days ? And in about ten minutes she and her husband were over at our place . She was shoving pans of fruitcake dough into our oven . I had pre-heated the oven and they had arrived a few seconds after the ready beep . Good timing .
Ada and I had plans to go see a movie that evening . I told Marie that over the phone . ” Just lock up when you leave ,” I said . Ada was showing them how to set the DVD player , offering them wine , asking them ” What else can we do for you ? ” as we were pulling on our jackets and heading for the door . They were saying no , no , nothing , nothing , nothing .
” But what if the power goes out while we’re here ? ” Marie’s husband asked me . I had a lantern ready , showed him where it was , and I handed him a powerful little flashlight . I assured him that things like that don’t happen in Arcadia . Maybe Monrovia or Sierra Madre . Maybe in those places.
” No , I mean if your oven goes off while we’re here ,” he said , concerned .
” Once it starts it won’t quit . It’s gas , ” Marie said . I told him to listen to his wife .
Ada and I were out the door a few minutes after Marie and husband arrived with their several small pans of fruitcake dough . We were meeting a friend at the Mexican restaurant a few blocks away . In Monrovia . Yeah , their power was out . But their ovens were gas and were going , so we stayed . We ate dinner by flashlight and wondered if the movie theater power was out too . It wasn’t .
When we got home everyone’s power was back on , I guess . Our house held the sweet aroma of baking .
I spent part of the day today making cookies . Gingerbread men because they are a must at Christmas time , and chocolate chip because they are universally enjoyed , and peanut butter cookies for our friend Mac , who hints regularly during the year for peanut butter cookies . She will supply eggnog . It’s a good trade .
Ada spent the day shopping for all her special Christmas ingredients and then preparing her Polish delights for Christmas Eve and Christmas day . Fish for the eve . And wild mushrooms that she picked herself in Poland . Bigos , ham , and cold cuts for Christmas Day , and compote , and poppy seed treats……………..
Marie promised that she will give us one of her fruitcakes . I think that she will , but even if she doesn’t , the smell of them left behind in the house was an appreciated treat . Marie and husband will be over again to the house on Boxing Day with some of our other local friends for leftovers . Boxing Day ? Google it . And enjoy Christmas !