Assignment: Engineer a Christmas Miracle
posted by December 25 at 13:48 PMon
Last week I received this email from a woman in Seattle:
Oh Public Intern,
While you are down at the UWMC, perhaps you would like to bring some holiday cheer to the infirm? My fiance woke up this morning after I left for work with a collapsed lung - also known as a spontaneous pneumothorax. Having experienced this once before, he threw some stuff in a bag, hopped on the trusty 65 and walked to the UWMC. Such a trooper.
In any case, now he’s awaiting surgery and then a chest tube for 2-3 days. Once it’s taken care of, it’s not that serious of a thing, and we should hopefully not be hanging out in the hospital Christmas Day direct. However, because of the chest tube and the nature of collapsed lungs, he can’t fly for two weeks, which effectively rules out his/our plan of going to North Carolina to see relatives, friends and experience the joy of southern cuisine. The trains are sold out, we don’t have a car, and a greyhound cross-country sort of seems like a different kind of hell.
I’m not sure what I’m asking:
Find a car for us to drive cross-country?
Convince Amtrak to let us sleep in the aisles?
Bring NC to us?
Yours in Hospital Cafeteria food,
Dan suggested bringing Amy and her fiancée Brian (the one with the collapsed lung) a southern-cooked dinner on Christmas Eve, paid for by the Stranger. I asked the Slog community for help, and the response was overwhelming. Dozens of southerners living in Seattle wrote to me and told me they wanted to help cook. I realized after the eighteenth email that I had more cooks than I could possibly use. I randomly chose six Sloggers, told them about Amy and Brian, and asked them what dish they wanted to prepare.
On Sunday and Monday, the Sloggers dropped food at my house. Cleve brought delicious corn bread muffins, Rebecca made an incredibly moist turkey with an exotic hazelnut gravy, Brandon cooked a sweet pecan pie, Alex and her father made buttery mashed potatoes, Kim delivered with a massive (and delicious) sweet potato pie and red velvet cake, and Tiffany sautéed green beans with butter and garlic, and surprised me with ice-cold sweet tea.
The food did not fit in the fridge. I cleared off a space in the garage and left much of the food there overnight. Monday around 5pm I loaded the side-dishes into my trunk, rested the turkey platter on the passenger seat, and drove to Amy’s apartment. As I drove, the turkey slid around on the platter, veering perilously close to the edge of the seat. I softened my turns, and patted lightly on the brakes. I didn’t want to fuck this up.
I didn’t really surprise Amy and Brian; they already knew I was coming because I had to make sure they hadn’t already cooked a meal for themselves. But I would like to believe they were surprised by how much food had been donated. The turkey was ginormous, and so were all the deserts. We had to take three trips back and forth from the car to the house just to get it all into the kitchen.
Brian had recovered well from his lung operation. He was walking around, laughing, and cracking jokes when I first saw him. He wanted to help bring the food into the house but I told him to sit down and relax. I mean come on, Brian. Take a load off for once in your life. Jesus Christ.
This was my first Christian anything, so I was a bit nervous. I thought I wouldn’t know how to give thanks or praise Jesus, or I’d use the wrong tone or something. Thankfully, Amy and Brian aren’t really Christian either. Nothing Christian happened during the whole dinner. Amy played a Sufjan Stevens holiday album.
Amy and Brian are adorable, but they do not play Apples to Apples correctly. The point is to pick the most ludicrously ironic noun to match the adjective, not the most boring obvious noun.
The food was amazing. Thank you to everyone who donated their time, and to those who refused to be reimbursed by the Stranger- your generosity is much appreciated. The Stranger will use the saved money to buy a new vaporizer! God bless everyone! Namaste! The snow is sticking!
P.S. Brian, you’re hot.