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You Don’t Have to Attend Every Party You’re Invited To

(You can listen to this piece on S2E42 of the podcast.)

Harriet adjusted her apron before turning towards her husband who was seated at the kitchen table.

“Chicken, you’re just chicken, Claude!”

“Don’t you call me a chicken, Harriet! You’re clucking over there with no true insight on this matter.”

“Oh no, Claude, I know exactly what I’m talking about, and you’re just scared for no good reason. The Tiller family has always been good to us. You just socially awkward when it comes to parties. That’s why you never want to attend anything fun.”

“I golf with Sirrus all the time,” Claude retorted.

“That doesn’t count. I want to go to a party. The Tillman’s party.”

“It’s not a good idea, Harriet. These days it’s best to keep our distance. Stay to ourselves.”

The kitchen timer dinged and Harriet shuffled over to the oven where her famous potato au gratin bubbled gold and deliciously fragrant in its baking pan. She grabbed her oven mitts from the counter and pulled out the dish.

“I’m tired of staying to ourselves, Claude. I want to socialize. Make friends with our neighbors. What’s so wrong with that, Claude?”

Her husband grunted from the kitchen table where he sat snapping fresh green beans to eat that night. On the other side of him sat a pan full of shelled peas. This food was Claude’s resolute sign that he’d be having dinner at home tonight.

“Plus, it’s the holidays, Claude. I can’t understand why you’re so moody during this time of year,” Harriet added.

Claude glanced across the kitchen at his wife and narrowed his eyes suspiciously.

“You can’t be this naïve,” he said simply, continuing to make quick work of the green beans.

“Sure, in the old days, there was more to worry about, but people aren’t that bad Claude. And there are plenty of more vegetarians like us, vegans too, so there will be good dishes to eat at the potluck!” she insisted.

Claude sighed, snapping the bean in his hand before turning his full attention on his wife.

“Harriet, this is a potluck, correct?” he asked.

“Yes!” she chimed.

“But they said you didn’t have to bring anything?”

“Correct! Just myself. Mrs. Tillman is so generous you know, saying that since it would be my first one at their home I didn’t have to worry about bringing anything but myself and I quote, ‘that handsome husband of yours!’ But you know me, I’m bringing my potatoes au gratin anyway as a gesture of gratitude.” Harriet folded her wings in front of her in a triumphant pose.

“So generous of you dear. But to the point, you’ve been invited to a potluck where everyone else is bringing a dish to share, and all you have to do is bring yourself and me, your husband?”

“Exactly!” Harriet responded, nodding her head so vigorously that her feathers shook all across her body.

“Sweetheart, we’re turkeys,” Claude said. “We don’t have to bring the food because we are the food.”

“Oh Claude, they’re not like that!” Harriet cried.

“Just think about it hun,” Claude replied, returning his attention to the green beans.

Harriet turned to a cabinet, grabbed a glass, and filled it with water from the sink, all the while quiet. Pensive.

“So, are you still going?” Claude asked after a minute of silence.

“I’m actually thinking I’ll skip this one and maybe host a tea or something in the spring… you know, something festive right here at home.”

Claude nodded his approval.

“So does that make you chicken?” he asked teasingly.

“It absolutely does not,” Harriet protested. “And anyways, I’d rather but a living, clucking chicken, than a smoked turkey any day of the week.”

“That’s my girl!” Claude said with a smirk. “Humans just can’t be trusted this time of year.”


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