Leftovers

Leftovers by Heather Waldorf

Book: Leftovers by Heather Waldorf Read Free Book Online
Authors: Heather Waldorf
Tags: JUV000000
in a peace sign and yells out one of Humphrey Bogart’s lines from that old movie,
Casablanca
. We watched it in the ninth-grade film studies elective.
    â€œHere’s looking at you, kid.”

TWENTY
    â€œTesting, testing...
SQUAWK
...Today’s the big day!!!...
SQUAWK
...My favorite day of the...
SQUAWK
...year!!!”
    I’d been hoping for rain. Or hail. Or a plague of locusts. A global-warming catastrophe. Anything to cancel what Dr. Fred is calling his favorite day of the year.
    So much for praying for an environmental disaster. The weather today is glorious. Blue sky, balmy air and just enough breeze to blow the bugs, smog and doggy smell downriver.
    And like the weather, I wake up fine. No chicken pox to keep me quarantined in my cabin. No pinkeye or poison ivy to segregate me from the masses. No headaches, no rashes, no cramps even. I am the goddamn picture of health.
    According to Dr. Fred, we’re expecting everyone he knows to attend: townspeople, past donors, potential donors, people who adopted pets from his clinic in town, newspaper reporters and (aggggh!) photographers from all the little towns along this stretch of the St. Lawrence.
    And everyone’s dogs too.
    I intend to spend all day in the kitchen hiding behind the pots and pans.
    While I wash my hands at the kitchen sink, I run through the day’s menu in my head. I had prepared an enormous cauldron of chili last night. I still need to make chicken salad, a sweet potato salad, two kinds of coleslaw and a tossed salad with spinach and cherry tomatoes.
    I also have to squeeze lemons for the lemonade, brew tea for the iced tea, blend the fruit smoothies, slice the veggies, mix the dips, cut the cheese, lay out the crackers and defrost three different desserts: chocolate brownies, apple tarts and oatmeal cookies.
    And that’s just for the two-legged guests.
    For the dogs, I’ve already made an assortment of treats: chicken and cheese nibbles; sesame seed and molasses morsels; mixed-vegetable muffins with beef glaze; and Judy’s new favorite, peanut butter bones. And I’ve jotted down the details for an extra-special iced and decorated birthday cake for Trixie the beagle, Camp Dog Gone Fun’s oldest camper ever. The old girl just turned eighteen. The actual cake will be a blend of oatmeal, ground beef, eggs and brown rice baked in a springform pan, with icing made from a large can of Eukanuba Senior, blended until smooth and spreadable. Decorations will include hot dog slices and carrot shavings. It will take me about an hour to prepare and about forty-five seconds for Trixie and her pack of canine buddies to devour every last scrap of it.

    By midafternoon, the island is a zoo. Worse than a zoo, because there are no barricades to keep the visitors at a respectable distance.
    The Moose Island dog population has tripled with all the canine visitors, and, as Dr. Fred predicted, a couple of hundred humans are milling around on the field, vying for shade, many armed with cameras or video recorders.
    Shuddering, I back away from the window, preferring the company of the oven, the stove and Judy (who was banished from the field midmorning after tackling and upending the port-a-potty Dr. Fred had rented for the day. Brant was inside at the time, ha ha). Victoria, Taylor and Nicholas have all offered to help with the cooking so I can take a break, but I send them back out to work the crowd with trays of food.

    I am up to my elbows—literally—in dog biscuit batter (we’d already run out of all my pre-made biscuits) when Dr. Fred rushes into the kitchen through the screen door, a strange woman in tow.
    â€œWell, aren’t you a big doggie!” The woman makes a beeline for Judy, who is tied to the table leg to prevent her from jumping onto the counter after brownies and cinnamon rolls. The woman is treated to a tongue bath and is hip-checked into a chair.
    To her credit, the woman laughs. Uproariously.

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