A couple of days before Christmas I had a pot of homemade turkey stock heating up on the stove, preparing to make turkey noodle soup for dinner.  Bill was outside on the patio, smoking a turkey breast because there’s no such thing as too much leftover turkey.  As I chopped an onion and carrots and celery for the soup, Mom wheeled into the kitchen doorway.  “Something’s lit,” she announced with a note of alarm.

I stared over at the gently simmering soup stock before replying.  “Lit?  Like you smell smoke or something?”

“Yes, something,” she replied, sniffing the air for emphasis.  “You know, like somebody’s burnt up a thing, like shoes maybe.”

“Shoes?  You smell burning shoes?”

“I guess,” she shrugged.  “Or maybe something else.”


“Could it be you smell someone cooking outside?”

“Maybe,” she said, cocking her head to contemplate this unlikely possibility while taking another tentative sniff to sample the air.  “Or maybe someone’s burning up old stuff in their yard.”

“Old stuff?  Like old clothes or garage junk?  That kind of old stuff,” I asked as I dumped my veggies into the bubbling broth.

“Something like that I guess.  I don’t know,” she huffed as she turned away from the kitchen doorway.  “I can’t see outside from here.”

“Well, why don’t you go to the window and take a look,” I suggested.  “Maybe you’ll see someone grilling stuff or burning stuff or something.”

She rolled to the dining room window and glanced out.  “All I see is Bill,” she said over her shoulder.  “And he’s just standing around in front of a big black box.”

“That isn’t a box, Mom,” I sighed.  “He’s smoking a turkey breast.”

“No he isn’t,” she argued, turning away and wheeling toward her loveseat.  “He doesn’t smoke.  Never has.  Besides, if he did smoke I’m pretty sure it would be a pipe or a cigar or something that’s not a bird.  I may be 90 but I’m not completely crazy!”



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