Turkey Day ala Amy
Slipping the turkey into the oven, Mike closed the oven door. He hoped his wife was right. Beth had assured him that the turkey would come out just fine if he followed the directions she gave him to the letter. She had helped him to pick out a turkey and had made sure it was thawed out before he left for work with it that morning. Following her directions after roll call, he had prepared the turkey and placed it in the preheated oven. He was grateful for an oven timer that would turn the oven off when the cooking time was up. At least that way they would not end up with charred turkey if they got called out for a long period of time.
“Did you get the turkey started?” Roy asked, as he walked into the kitchen area.
“Yep,” Mike replied, indicating the oven. “All set, should be done right on time.”
Though the men were working on Thanksgiving Day, they were determined to have as nearly traditional a meal as they could. After much debate and planning, they had decided that each man would bring his favorite dish.
Chet had brought the cranberry sauce. He opened the can and slid the sauce out onto a plate. Headed for the refrigerator to pop it in to chill, he was stopped by John.
“What is that?” John asked, standing between the other man and the refrigerator, hands on his hips.
“It’s cranberry sauce,” Chet replied. “Now excuse me, I need to put this in the fridge to chill.”
“Cranberry sauce?” John said, frowning and continuing to block the other man’s path. “I’ve never seen cranberry sauce like that before.”
“It’s canned,” Chet explained. “This is the way my mother always serves it.”
“You gotta be kidding, aren’t you even going to slice it or anything?”
“No, it’ll mess up the ridges,” the stocky man said, indicating the ridges left by the can on the jelled, red sauce.
So, I like them, that’s so what.” Chet moved past the paramedic to the refrigerator. “What about you? Did you bring the stuffing?”
“Yep, it’s right here,” John said holding up a box. Chet's mouth literally dropped open in surprise.
“A box? You brought stuffing in a box?”
“No, I brought boxed stuffing,” John said with a self-satisfied smirk. “All I have to do later is add water and it makes stuffing.”
“Have you read the directions?” Roy, who had been standing by listening to the exchange, asked.
“Well no, not yet, but it’s easy,” the other man replied, “it says so right here on the box.”
“I’d read the directions, if I were you,” Roy said. “JoAnne got that kind of dressing, there’s more to it than just adding water.”
“Oh,” John said, frowning. Picking up the box and reading the directions his eyes widened. “Oh, man, you have to cook it.” Chuckling, his partner walked over to the couch and sat down.
“What about you, Roy?” Mike asked, “What kind of pie did you decide to make?”
“Yeah, man,” Chet piped up. “Shouldn’t you be getting the pie made?”
“Already done,” Roy said, looking smug, leaning back, his hands behind his head. He had baked a pumpkin pie the day before, following his favorite recipe.
“What kind did you make?” Mike persisted. The guys had been equally divided between two kinds of pie. Cap had finally said it was up to Roy to choose which kind he made, as it was his pie.
“Both. I made pumpkin and JoAnne sent us pecan.”
“Yum,” Chet commented rubbing his stomach. “We could have one now and one later,” he suggested hopefully.
“No, Chet,” Roy started to say, but was cut short by the tones sounding sending the paramedics out on a run. Calling over his shoulder, Roy put Mike in charge of keeping Chet away from the pies.
Cap had brought candied yams, which would be warmed in the oven once the turkey was out. Marco mixed up his jello concoction under Chet’s watchful eye. Chet protested the mandarin orange slices he put in it, but he put them in anyway giving the other man a defiant smirk. He was just putting the concoction in the refrigerator to chill when the tones sounded once again; sending them out on a run where they were joined onsite by the paramedics.
When they returned Roy backed the squad into the bay, followed by Mike with Big Red. They all headed into the dayroom and stopped short at what they saw. Seated on the couch in the day room were two familiar figures--the Merkles. Amy smiled broadly when she saw the men coming into the day room, her brown eyes twinkling. Carter grinned as he stood up to greet them.
Cap had thought he was rid of the Merkles. He had been relieved when they had switched their gratitude to 116’s. The other crew had rescued them when their car had been sideswiped. At the time they had been following Big Red on a run, to help if they could. Several months before, the Merkles had been involved in a car versus restaurant window accident. They had been sitting in the restaurant booth and been knocked down and pinned when the car went through the window. Surprisingly, other than Amy’s broken leg, they had been relatively unharmed. The couple had been very grateful. New to the area, they had few friends, and had adopted the guys of Station 51 as their new best friends.
Following the paramedics and/or the engine crew on runs was bad enough, but then there were the meals Amy cooked for them. Amy’s specialty seemed to be charred. Whatever she cooked it had that charred flavor. Her special specialty was Trout ala Amy (aka charred trout). None of the men, much less Cap himself, had the heart to tell the couple they were not wanted. So Cap had been relieved when they’d transferred their affection to the other station. Now the crew of A-shift stood dumfounded, staring at the couple in dismay.
“Hello,” said Carter, grinning, seeming blissfully unaware of their dismay.
“Hello,” Cap replied, getting his voice back first.
“I bet you thought we forgot about you,” Amy said, rising to join her husband.
“But we didn’t,” Carter continued. “We wanted to do something special for you.
“For Thanksgiving,” his wife finished for him, grinning just as broadly as her husband was.
“Ah,” Cap said, with one hand on his hip, gesturing with the other. “How…how did you guys get in here?” He was sure the station had been locked when they left.
“Oh, well we just…” Carter was cut short by the sound of the tones.
“Don’t worry about us,” Amy called after the retreating men. “I’ll have lunch fixed when you get back.”
“Do you think we should go with them? Maybe we could help,” Carter asked, musing.
“No, we’ll just stay here and get things ready for when they get back,” his wife said smiling.
Several hours later, after battling with a structure fire, the men returned to the station with trepidation. If Amy had been cooking, they were sure she had charred something. When they climbed down from their vehicles they were pleasantly surprised to smell nothing but the wonderful aroma of cooked food.
Entering the dayroom, they were greeted by the Merkles again. On the table was the food the men had brought. Even the stuffing had been made up and artfully surrounded Mike’s golden turkey.
“See,” said Amy, smiling broadly as she placed Marco’s jello concoction on the table. “I told you I would have everything ready for you when you got back.”
“Well, it looks great, just let us get cleaned up, and we’ll eat,” Cap said, enthusiastically. The men went into the bathroom to wash up. When they were gathered around the table, they smiled in anticipation of the meal they were about eat. Nothing looked charred; everything looked and smelled wonderful.
“And” said Carter going over to the oven and opening the door to pull out a pan. “Since you guys liked them so much when we were here before, Amy fixed you up a special batch of her Trout ala Amy!” Carter brought the pan to the table so everyone could see. Inside was Amy’s specialty, charred to perfection.
Thanks to Jill H. for the story idea!