A Sumptuous Feast

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


You are what you eat -- apparently.

Submitted: March 21, 2018

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Submitted: March 21, 2018

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Maybelle Potter lived alone in a drafty Victorian house set on a low hill above the bustle of the city. It was a forbidding residence, surrounded by willows with drooping branches and head-high hedges.

Nevertheless, located as it was on the only road to the next village of significance, the vagabond turned through the opened gate and trudged up the pebbled path to the front door.

His knock was answered by a rather tall, thin woman clothed in crisp black, with a deep maroon shawl over her shoulders. “Yes?”

He snatched his knit cap from his head. “Sorry to bother, ma’am, but I’d be willing to work hard for a small meal.”

She said nothing for a moment, taking in his ragged clothing and large frame. “I believe I may have something for you. Please come in.”

She opened the door wider to admit him. “May I know your name, sir?”

“Harry—Harold, that is, ma’am.”

“Good day to you, Harold. My name is Maybelle. If you will follow me, I’ll show you what needs to be done.”

Her generosity spread by word-of-mouth, causing a series of men down on their luck to stop by and ask for work. She accommodated them all, sometimes inventing tasks when needs be.

* * *

In early spring, Maybelle allowed a slightly built young man into the crawlspace beneath the house to remove a bothersome den of raccoons who had taken up residence. He was rewarded with a good meal and sent along his way.

Over the course of the next year, Maybelle employed several men in various capacities such as roof mending, shrubbery trimming, painting and woodchopping.

Her philanthropic activities became so well known, city officials took note of her efforts, compiling them into the substance of a citation for her civic-mindedness.

On a fine mid-summer day, the mayor instructed his secretary to phone Maybelle’s residence to set a date for the presentation of the ornately produced citation.

Maybelle responded shyly but favorably, agreeing on a date one week hence. She insisted she be allowed to provide a sumptuous dinner, with full trimmings, in her formal dining room for the mayor, his staff and prominent citizens of the town. The presentation to follow afterward.

To this, the mayor was only too happy to agree.

On the date of the feast, Maybelle’s circular driveway was filled with fancy automobiles, most complete with liveried chauffeurs. As each party arrived, they were led to the sitting room. A servant passed through carrying a silver tray filled with flutes of champagne.

In due time, after the last invited guest was present, a gong rang, calling everyone to the huge walnut table in the dining room. They consulted the place cards and sat, chatting quietly as several servers placed plates and bowls of food on the table. The largest platter contained a magnificent roast, which Maybelle herself carved, placing succulent slices on individual plates to be passed to the eager diners.

Once everyone had a filled plate in front of them, they began to eat. Conversations sprang up, discussing light subjects in keeping with the festive nature of the occasion.

After their feast was complete, and the dessert bowls removed, the Mayor rose to his feet, cleared his throat and addressed Maybelle. “On behalf of the town council and myself, I must congratulate you on such a sumptuous feast, Ms. Potter. Speaking for myself, I’ve rarely tasted such a delicious chuck roast.”

Maybelle nodded slowly, frowning slightly. “Thank you so much, Mister Mayor, but, as I recall, his name was Roger, not Chuck.”

 


© Copyright 2018 B Douglas Slack. All rights reserved.

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