Hello 2021; You Better Be Good!

What do you call always having a date for New Year’s Eve? Social Security.

New Years Day always makes me remember my family, who are no longer with us.  Mary lost her Aunt this morning at 3:00 AM; you just never know.

Left to right: Aunt Alma, Aunt Opal, Aunt Edith, and my father, Paul circa 1950?

I remembered last night, and on New Year’s Eve, Mary stood up at the Rib Trader and said that it was time to get ready. At the stroke of midnight, she wanted every man to be standing next to the one person who made his life worth living.  Well, as the clock struck, the bartender was almost crushed to death.

We looked at the Rose Parade channels on TV, and it was boring, so we reverted to Virgin River.  We are getting to know the characters quite well!  At noon we started cooking for the 4:00 PM dinner party with Robin and Bob.  I suggested we do collard greens since it was a good luck dish.  I had NO idea I was so much work.

Robin brought Hoppin’ John and cornbread and forty gallons of champagne!!

Mary gets the acorn squash ready for me to cut up into small slices.  She is an amazing cook. On the other hand, my cooking is so bad that the flies pitch in to fix the screen door.  I am such a bad cook, the dog begs for Alka-Seltzer.

The squash s about to be cut by me!

Once it is opened, I needed to cut them into 3/4″ slivers, which I did using a big butcher knife and a lot of carefully applied pressure.

Just cooking the acorn squash brings out a lovely flavor.

Robin and Bob arrive, and of course, we congregate in the kitchen.  After a bit, they went to the front room and worked on the puzzle.  Mary and I have looked for one piece for three days to no avail.  Sharp-eyed Bob spots it under the couch, and voila, the bottom edge of the puzzle is done.

Bob does the honors.

The slices of squash are baked at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes to bring out their flavor.  Robin said she had that in Washington DC and really enjoyed it.  Bob even ate the squash!

Creating a masterpiece.

I always try to assist Mary, and I get the tall job (meaning to top-shelf items) plus the heavy work (living full pots of water and slicing up the squash).  I enjoy working in the kitchen with her, and now we operate like a well-oiled machine.

Chef Paul does the heavy work and reaches the tall things in the kitchen.

MAry served up the first plate, it was quite a surprise!

Mary rearranged things a bit and it looked better!

Command decision time! Get served in the kitchen!  We had chicken breast with a pomegranate glaze and pomegranate seeds plus everything else; we had enough for a small army.

Robin goes first!

The first plate was filled with good luck foods.

What a delicious meal!

The hostess with the mostess proposes a toast.  Speaking of toast, one day you’re the best thing since sliced bread. The next, you’re toast.

“Here’s mud in your eye!”

Delightful company and an amazing meal.  We sat and jabbered for a long time and managed to kill off another bottle of champagne.  Life is good.  Time to share, so I asked the question, “What did E.T.’s mother say to him when he got home? ”  I told them the answer, “Where on Earth have you been?!”

Beautiful ladies at the table.

After dinner, Mary and I worked together to clean up, and it was done in no time.  Then it was back to Virgin River even though the plan was the hot tub.  We watched it until about 10:00 PM, when it was time to crash.  So far, this year was OK, and we hope and pray it keeps going that way.

About Paul

Just an old retired guy trying to finish out my last years on this planet. I lost my best friend and wife in early 2020. I was blessed again by reconnecting with Dr. Mary Côté, a long-time friend. Mary and I got married July 28th, 2021, and are enjoying life together and plan to spend the rest of our lives being a blessing to our friends and family.
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