A novel by Karen Lockhart
Copyright© 2017 Karen Lockhart
Thursday was here before we knew it. Ellen and Wendy were all excited about their dates that night; I on the other hand was icy cool, yeah, right!
I did have to do grocery shopping for the night's dinner and dessert. Wendy and I left the job site around 2pm to give me time in the Super Stop and Shop in Vinnin Square, I also wanted a nice red wine to go with dinner.
I was planning to make an eggplant Parmesan linguine, and antipasto salad. For dessert, I planned a Tiramisu and Italian lemon sherbet or gelato.
By leaving early, this allowed three girls to shower and wash our hair without getting in each other's way. Wendy was ready to climb the walls she was so nervous. I finally asked her to walk the dog and let me chill a bit while I showered and did my make up.
I finally went into the kitchen to start my sauce and slice the eggplant. Some chefs like to peel the eggplant, but I leave the skin on and slice it very thin. I feel the skin or rind adds flavor, and after frying and covering with red sauce and Parmigiana cheese, it needs as much flavor as possible.
I started my sauce with two crushed cloves of garlic, a small piece of fatty pork, three cans of Pastine ground and kitchen ready tomatoes. Then I added half a cup of grated Romano cheese, a bay leaf, and oregano to taste. Once in a while I add a tablespoon of sugar. Oh what the heck, in it went.
I dipped the eggplant slices in flour then dredged in a milk, egg and spice liquid. Next I rolled it in Italian bread crumbs before frying in a large skillet with a quarter inch of light olive oil. After browning on each side, I placed them on a paper towel covered dish to drain. Like shampooing, rinse, lather, repeat.
While this was going on, the sauce was starting to fill the house with a mouth-watering aroma. I started a box of linguini boiling. When Kevin showed up, I'd place the breaded eggplant in the oven to bake after covering it with a couple of thin slices of mozzarella and topped with the Parmigiana.
About this time Ellen came home.
“Oh my gosh, what smells so good?” she asked. After stealing a spoonful of sauce, she said, “Kevin can go out with Pete, I'm staying home!”
“Like Hell you are! Now get in the shower and make yourself beautiful.”
Stealing one more spoonful Ellen scampered into her bedroom, and finally into a lilac scented hot bath.
Pete was picking Ellen up at 7 o'clock, and Kevin was coming at 7:30. Wendy and Billy were taking Kevin's pickup truck to the movie that started at 8:15 PM. I hoped to put dinner on the table by 8 o'clock.
Now that everything was going well in the kitchen, I went to take my own bath.
“Wendy, can you stir the sauce every now and then, and make sure the pasta doesn't boil over?”
After getting a half-hearted “Okay” I slid into my bath.
I quickly toweled off, and slid on my lacy boy shorts and matching bra. Choosing smokey elastic topped stockings and a black camisole, I turned to my hair, brushing it back and giving it a little curl. I was finally satisfied.
I really wanted to go easy on the make-up since we were staying home, and I expected it not to last the night! For fun, I called Wendy to come and pick out a dress.
“You really want me to pick out a dress? I can't believe you want me to do this!”
She stood in front of the closet with her tongue sticking out the side of her mouth. “How does this yellow chiffon dress sound? It's got puffy sleeves. Is it okay?”
“I love it Wendy. See? You're getting pretty good at fashion. Now sit, and I'll do your makeup. Do you want a red lipstick? Billy will love it, and it's a little harder to wipe off. It will make him feel like a real stud with you on his arm, and lipstick on his cheek and lips. Can you do you own nails and toenails yourself?”
I got a snort in reply, guess that meant “yes”.
After grabbing an apron, I covered the eggplant with tin foil and set the oven at 375 deg.
Ellen was pouring glasses of white wine for us while we waited for the boys. Wendy made a move for a wine glass, but the scowls she received from Ellen and I froze her hand in mid grab!
Pete was punctual as usual and after a quick peck on my cheek, He escorted Ellen to his car. They felt it would be after midnight before they were back, just to let me know, but with Billy and Wendy expected back by 11pm, I doubt Kevin and I would do more than snuggle.
Kevin and Billy arrived a little after 7:30, but were forgiven by Wendy and I with the gifts of fresh flowers, and Harbor Sweets candy. This candy is to die for!
Kevin gave Billy a warning not to speed, and to behave himself, with a time limit of 11pm. I didn't have to say a thing! Do you wonder why I loved that guy?
We enjoyed a glass of Chianti while the eggplant baked. Kevin, who's a good cook himself, offered to help, but I said to put on the Thursday night football game while I plated up our dinners.
The antipasto was a big hit, only surpassed by the eggplant Parmesan.
After clearing the dishes, I brought out the lemon gelatto, with small cups of coffee and Sambuca.
Soon we were sitting on the sofa, listening to a softly playing sound track from Chicago.
At 11pm we heard Kevin's truck return. Fifteen minutes later the kids came up the stairs, and flopped in a couple of chairs. Looking at their faces I could see the effort to redo Wendy's lipstick and to wipe red from Billy's mouth.
Kevin and I snickered, and Kevin asked the kids how was the movie. They both were enthusiastic for different reasons.
“Did you know she used to be Miss Israel, and she was a soldier in the Army?” Billy asked.
“Wow, she's the kind of woman I'd like to be,” Wendy said, “Beautiful, smart, and not one to mess with.”
Kevin and I laughed at that, saying, we would to have to see the movie ourselves.
“If you do,” Billy said, “No messing around in the theater.”
Now, I had tears running down my cheeks.
After kissing us goodnight,and checking they'd see us on Saturday, the boys hopped into Kevin's truck.
In their excitement the kids forgot about dessert.
I washed off my makeup, and put on my flannel robe when Pete and Ellen came in. They really enjoyed Die Fleidermaus and refused dessert or coffee.
Before Pete left, I asked if he had found out who ran the siren last week.
His face turned scary as he said. “Oh yes, a young Swampscott cop, who suspiciously just bought his wife a new Audi, and got himself a new $50,000 20' Welcraft fishing boat. That's a cool $100,000 plus. He said it was money from working road details.”
“Obviously, you don't believe it,” I said.
He gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, “Don't you worry.”
With that, he left.
To be continued.
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