The next morning, we are aboard Bobcat Tim’s boat enjoying coffees and a snuggle with sailing cats when the last straw is pulled.
“Can we borrow a pie plate?” Andrew asks.
Ever since our Thanksgiving Pumpkin Mini Pie Travesty, he’s been searching to remedy the situation for Christmas. Alas, we haven’t found a pie plate anywhere in our travels.
I shoot Andrew my crustiest “Disapproving Wife” gaze, which clearly states as follows: “I hate borrowing things out here. Neptune only knows when a storm will kick up, someone needs to leave, or some other tragedy will befall us and suddenly we either fail to return, lose or break that pie plate. I hate the responsibility. And besides, the mini pies are even better than regular pies! The proportion of crust to filling is superior to a triangle slice. Think of what a nice cup the crust makes for that pile of whipped cream you like so much…We’ve talked about this!” But, Andrew only blinks at me and retrieves the pie plate from our neighborly neighbors. Damn it.
I hear the click of an additional weight added to one side of my internal scale of good decisions. This will not work. We have nowhere to store a full-sized pie. The fridge is already stuffed full with ingredients for all the other things we need to make and my pie storage plan had been based entirely on making mini pies fit in a square Tupperware that can be tucked in the bottom of the freezer. As we putter away from our friend’s ship, my mind is shuffling through an old rolodex of 8th grade geometry hoping to grasp onto a spacial reasoning plan that can maintain order and peace in the life of my freezer. There is graph paper, one of those compass pencils with a pointy metal pin on the other side. Andrew on the other hand stares blankly ahead, fully committed to the “push and shove” method of pie chilling order. In one flail swoop, my whole pie strategy has been tossed onto Sonrisa’s cabin floor atop all my well laid plans for Christmas shopping.
Adding to this concern is the fact that we’ve been invited to “Sailing Orphans” Christmas lunch – Thai food at the restaurant on the beach. We’ve accepted, because of course, when in Rome… but my personal tradition requires that we cook and host a Christmas Brunch. No one is going to want to go directly to Christmas Lunch on the Beach after enjoying a Christmas morning brunch. I can see the future in my crystal ball and it says, “Yep, Leslie, your Christmas Brunch is going to go by the wayside,” which of course is not the fortune I want foretold.
In a fury, I stir up ingredients for the peanut butter chocolate cookies I’ve been looking forward to since I found the Hershey Kisses in Malaysia. I simmer and stew. I text back and forth with my family who is also cooking up their Christmas treats and sending me pictures essentially entitled “All The Fun You Are Missing!” Payback is a bitch, I think, knowing I’ve sent them all sorts of pictures of tropical paradise all year. My anxiety bubbles away on the heat of guilt, sadness, and homesickness being away a second Christmas in a row. Why does sailing continuously demand that I choose between all that I used to be and all that I am now? Every six songs on my Christmas playlist is “I’ll be home for Christmas.” One is played on the Ukelele, one is played on the Banjo, one is played in reggae format, Frank Sinatra croons the lyrics in his slow, warm baritone, until…
“I can’t believe you borrowed that pie plate!!!”
Now, I begin to heckle Andrew like a disgruntled baseball fan seated behind home plate.
“How can you think it’s a good idea to borrow that pie plate!? Mini pies, mini pies, mini pies! Mini pies are where it’s at. Come on, think about it. There’s no where to put a full sized pie. You’ve really done it this time. Betrayal! You’ve betrayed me over your ridiculous need for a triangular pie shape! You know I hate borrowing other people’s things! MINNNNNIIII PIIIIIIIEEEEEESSSS!”
As fate would have it, at exactly the same time Andrew is puzzling over what in the hell has put this bee in my bonnet, our neighbors stop by and knock on the hull to let us know they need that damn pie plate back soon for their own Quiche pie.
A warm glow of satisfaction radiates from me as my petition for mini pies continues to mount.
“Fine! I’ll give them back their pie plate.” Andrew climbs the companion way stairs to untie Grin and hand over the pie plate that is terrorizing me so, all the while muttering that I am touched in the head. This may be so, but every now and then one must take a stand for what she believes in.
With satisfaction, I lay out the mini pie tins on their plate and grease them to receive the holy grail of pie crust and fulling until shame over takes me for my bad behavior and now Andrew returns to a teary apology.
He gives me a hug and pats my head as I admit “I’m trying to remain cheerful, but sometimes I get the sads.” He knows.
Andrew breaks out the Comfort Owl and the Focus Kiwi, who don their Christmas hats and keep watch over the baking times. A peaceful equilibrium returns and the sharing of kitchen duties results in the completion of all manner of Christmas treats, including the crafting of a rather ugly wreath made of a bag of fresh rosemary sprigs Andrew scored at his most recent grocery market run. Now, all we need is to figure out someone who might want to partake.
As luck would have it, we received a text from old sailing pals we’ve known since the South Pacific: “where are you guys and what are you doing for Christmas?” We learn they are just a day’s sail away, so we give them the run-down of our schedule: “Christmas Eve Dinner aboard Sonrisa, would you like to come? Irish Coffees Christmas Morning, “Sailing Orphan’s” Christmas Lunch ashore. Join us! So, they do, and it isn’t long before they are anchored along-side. The tide washes up a second set of new friends we met as we went through our Thailand immigration process. After thinking we had no one to entertain, we now had a quorum. (This doesn’t take long on a 40 foot boat, I suppose.) I escape Andrew’s clutches Christmas Eve morning, and Grin takes me to shore where I luck upon an excellent option for matching Christmas Jammies. As I am rummaging through our stores to figure out something that might serve as “wrapping paper” I am shoving the guitar from here to there when I realize…a red scarf will do quite nicely.
Our guests arrive just as the sun is dropping in the sky, and they bring all sorts of delicious add-ons to the party. A cheese plate and sweet white port wine, a soup made from wild mushrooms chosen by our friends’ aunt in the forests of Poland (she knows which ones will kill us, right?), a beautiful cherry filled cake from a Ukrainian recipe. We add our main dishes of Lamb roast with gravy, a mint and spring onion salad, another round of spiced apples and sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and of course those damn mini pies for desert. We torture everyone with our endless playlist of Christmas Music (who doesn’t like to listen to Christmas Music on Christmas Eve?) which of course includes the styling of Jimmy Buffet’s Christmas Album. All is going smoothly until we realize the bottle of red wine is stashed in the shelves beneath the table already set with plates and people.
Not to worry, Andrew will just creep down under here to fetch it.
As midnight approaches, we are all stuffed by whipped cream and our mini-pies. Everyone breaks to their respective ships to await the Jolly-Man’s arrival. Aboard Sonrisa, we set out eggnog, peanut butter chocolate kiss cookies, and some carrots for the Dolphins who pull his tropical canoe. With Sonrisa’s cabin lights turned low and her colorful Christmas glowing, she maintains a nervous air of one anticipating something magical.
Andrew says: “At least she is appeased by the matching jammies.”