Wicked Wednesday — Holiday Disasters

Eggnog Murder CompWe are celebrating the release of Eggnog Murder and are so happy for Barb who has a novella in this book. Hers is titled Nogged Off, and it appears with novellas by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis. Here’s the blurb for the collection: With the fireplace crackling, the tree twinkling, and the carols humming, few things in life are as picture perfect as Christmas in Maine—until murder dampens the holiday spirit. It must be something in the eggnog . . .

When a gift-wrapped bottle of eggnog—allegedly from the Real Beard Santa Club—proves to be a killer concoction for a Tinker’s Cove local, all Lucy Stone wants for Christmas is to find the murdering mixologist who’s stirring up trouble.

Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell has never cared much for Bar Harbor’s grouchy town librarian, Agatha Farnsworth. But after the Scroogy senior has a fatal—and suspicious—allergic reaction to supposedly non-dairy eggnog, it’s up to Hayley to ladle out some justice.

Julia Snowden’s tenant Imogen Geinkes seems to be jinxed. First, her poorly named “Killer Eggnog” gives all her co-workers food poisoning at the holiday party, then her boyfriend’s body shows up in Julia’s moving truck as she’s headed back to Busman’s Harbor. Now Julia has to get moving to catch the cold-hearted culprit.Cozy up with a glass of eggnog and enjoy the spirit of murder and mystery in a Yuletide treat perfect for those winter holidays . . .

Wickeds, have you ever had a holiday disaster, or do you know of one that happened to a friend?

Edith: Nothing as disastrous as those eggnog mishaps, but once we didn’t give the turkey enough time to defrost. It took forever to roast, so long that we went ahead and ate all the side dishes and were too full for the  meat when it was done! At least nobody died from eating it, though…

Sherry: That’s funny Edith! We have Christmas Eve traditions that we usually follow, early church service, pizza for dinner, followed by going out for a drive to look at Christmas tree lights. One year when we were living in Florida, we’d just returned from our Christmas drive, and Bob built a fire. I was watching the flames and noticed them reflecting in the door. Then I realized it wasn’t a reflection but actual flames outside. Before we left on the drive Bob had put ashes in a paper bag and set them outside by a bush. You can figure it out the ashes were still hot (no he was never a Boy Scout) and set the bag on fire which set a bush on fire. We quickly put it out and fortunately nothing worse than a scorched bush and a bruised ego (Bob’s).

Liz: I’ve always been a klutz. It’s been a ongoing joke in my family forever. Once when I was about 10 or so my mother gave me the very important task of giving me the honors of carrying the dessert down the stairs to where we were having one of our bigger celebrations. Of course I tripped, and a ginormous bowl of strawberries went flying down the stairs, leaving red smears on the walls and ceilings. Of course, I fell too, but the major concern was for the strawberries.

castlegrayskullBarb: When my son was three and my daughter six months, we were traveling out the Mass Pike toward my parents’ house in Pennsylvania. Between all the baby equipment and the Christmas presents we had a soft vinyl carrier on the car’s roof. Around Auburn, MA, I said to Bill, “What is that strap flapping next to your window?” He pulled over, and I will never forget the look on his face when he inspected the roof, looked back at me, and said, “It’s gone!” It was the era of He-Man and all my son wanted for Christmas was Castle Grayskull. He had a new baby sister who he’d been excellent about and we really wanted to grant his one fervent wish. Castle Grayskull was in that roof carrier and I knew there wouldn’t be another to be found before Christmas for love or money.

At the direction of a kindly state police trooper we went to the highway maintenance building, where the four of us huddled like the most pathetic little family ever. The guys heard our sad story and went out to look, and lo and behold, word came back, they had found it by the side of the highway! They soon brought it back to us. Castle Grayskull was wrapped in clothes and unharmed. We were so relieved we hadn’t caused an accident. I remember it as one of our best Christmases ever. Castle Grayskull is still in my basement, along with all the He-men, waiting for my granddaughter.

Julie: Who can top the Castle Grayskull story? After my grandfather died, Thanksgiving became my holiday with my grandmother. We went to Maryland the first year, but the traffic was hideous, so we started the tradition of celebrating together. The first year I tried to cook dinner for her the turkey wasn’t completely defrosted. Grandma was due at 2. My roommate panicky called her mother, who talked us through getting the bird defrosted. Dinner was served by 4. My uncle had sent along a bottle of wine, and Grandma was thrilled to not have to cook, so all was good.

Jessie: Once when one of my sisters was first married she invited my husband and me to dinner at her new apartment during the holiday season. She had gone to a great deal of trouble and even went so far as to make eggnog from scratch. She knew how much I loved it and she poured me a large serving in a tall, clear glass. The taste of it was delicious but my attention kept being drawn to the strange way the contents seemed to be being squeegeed down the inside of the glass. It was not something I had ever noticed in a glass of eggnog before and when I reached the last swallow the reason became clear. The recipe had called for the egg yolks to be separated from the whites and while she had thoroughly blended the yolks into the cream, the entire quantity of whites had manged to remain a seaprate and distinct mass; first acting as an invisible, floating glob in my glass and then, most unfortunately, in my mouth. To this day, I never pour a glass of eggnog without a shudder of suspicion.

Readers: Have you ever had a holiday disaster?

20 Thoughts

  1. My story is the opposite of not defrosting. I put the bird to roast before I went to bed as usual, unfortunately I set it for 350’…we did find some parts to eat, but the rest was waaaay overdone.

  2. My story isn’t a holiday disaster but involves the first time I entertained, for a meal, all of my husband’s family which included, his father, brother, his sister and 3 kids, grandmother, 2 uncles and 1 cousin. First time I ever attempted a meal for this many people. First off, his grandmother, 2 uncles and cousin arrived at 8:30 am. They said they didn’t know how long it would take to get here so started early. What could I do….tell them to come back later? Not likely. Then his sister and family didn’t show up until after 1 pm. Their excuse for being terribly late was some far fetched excuse I never believed. As a result, my meatloaf and scalloped potatoes were dried out, but part of that was my fault. I was planning to serve food about 12 noon and they were done by 11 am (I put them to cook, too early-inexperienced cook) so the extra 2 hrs didn’t do them any good. Then I only served 12 dinner rolls and his uncles and cousin took 2 each, so not every one got a dinner roll. I asked grandmother and his sister to bring a cake or salad and both brought cakes. His sister, ignored the desserts I’d made and served herself and her family, her cake. His sister’s kids tormented our cat, they ran around in the yard and managed to get outside the fence. The sister’s husband fussed that they could get out from the yard and that it was my job to watch their kids. His grandmother and I washed dishes as the sister took a dishtowel and cup and went out and sat with the men, coming back only when she was sure we had finished the dishes. Then the sister and family left about 2:30 pm. The excuse was that the husband wanted to leave. As a result, I never made the effort to entertain all of his relatives again.

  3. Congratulations, Barb! The reviews are terrific already.

    Okay, mine’s an Easter story. I”m doing a mid-morning simple brunch after an Easter hunt in my yard for the grandies. I go downstairs bright and early to get started and see my cat (the recently departed darling huntress, Ms. Dingle) is sitting in the middle of the floor proudly purring away. Several feet away is her Easter gift to me. A headless baby bunny. This is now called the “Oh No, Not the Bunny” story. You can’t make this stuff up!

    One afterthought for the Cozies: Guys, buy fresh turkeys,

  4. Mine is not a disaster story, but it’s all I got. Every year, for many years, my mother-in-law visited us the week of Thanksgiving. Every Thanksgiving day, we took a photo of her standing between my two sons, in front of the fireplace. You could watch my sons’ growth by those annual photos. The year we got a puppy, when it was time for the photo, Marcie bounded up and posed for the picture with my MIL and sons. It was a hoot, so she became part of the annual photo for 14 years. Then she was gone, and when it was time for the photo, one of my son’s said, “Wait!” and he grabbed the box with Marcie’s ashes from the mantle and held it, so she could continue to be in the photo. We all laughed, and then we cried. Now my MIL is too frail to come to visit us that time of year, so the photos are very precious, but we still take the annual photo of the boys with Marcie in her box. *sniffle*

      1. (Close one on that apostrophe, Ramona…) I think Sherry means put your mother-in-law’s PHOTO on a stick, ahem. LOL. I love including Marcie’s ashes in the photos. Very sweet.

  5. Long before I wrote murder mysteries, my mother poisoned us all one year.

    Did I get your attention, LOL?! We had had a lovely meal with the whole family, complete with turkey, stuffing, pie, card games (Pitch, nickel a point, double in spades), board games and movies for the kids. Exactly 8 hours after the meal, I woke up with well, some very nasty issues. As did almost everyone else in the house, for the next very long 24 hours. By process of elimination, who ate what and when, we narrowed it down to the cole slaw or the stuffing. But since we couldn’t be sure, pretty much everything got tossed. I mean, thrown away. We still refer to it as “the time Mom tried to kill us.”

    And Barb, I have faithfully read these Kensington holiday anthologies over the years and I am beyond excited to see your name in such illustrious company on that shiny, shiny cover. Can’t wait to read this one!

  6. One thanksgiving, we had borrowed a turkey roaster from a family friend to free up oven space. A couple of hours after we’d put the turkey in, we realized we weren’t smelling it. Yes, it was plugged in, but it was broken. (We’d used it in years past, so this was definitely new.) And just then our first guests arrived.

    So we wound up with stove top cooked turkey that year. It was different, but everyone laughed and dug in as normal.

  7. One Thanksgiving my mom made a couple of pumpkin pies ahead of time and put them on the counter to cool off. Around half an hour later when everyone was in the living room we heard a chair being moved in the kitchen. Someone got up to investigate and discovered that the dog had pushed a chair up to the counter, climbed onto the chair, and was in the middle of helping himself to the pumpkin filling. Fortunately, he was caught in the act before helping himself to the second pie!

  8. I just erased all the details, because my story was too upsetting and I just couldn’t put the words down. All invited had accepted our invitation. No one showed up. I was a young bride. I tried again. Three or four times. I had to be sure. I know. I know. I was so young and this never happened in my experience with my family back home in Salem.

    I gave up of course. No more of that except when we could be with my family. My parents loved having us and half the actors and writers they worked with, the plumber, auto mechanic, my teenage cousins who regularly ran away from home and found their way there. We had real holidays with them. They died young. It’s just us now and one of our boys. We decided a few years ago that we would return to my mother’s traditional Chinese dinner out for holidays when Daddy was at sea. Or he might have been in prison. Mummy disappeared a lot, too. I never found out for sure. But it would explain things.

    This year we are going to the neurology and research clinic Thanksgiving pot luck and their “puppy poor box collection” for Christmas.

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