It was Ilene’s idea to include Marge’s senile mother for Thanksgiving.
“Everyone just be whoever she thinks you are. It’ll be fine.”
Fortunately she thought Marge and Ernest were her parents. Marge would wield some power.
“Betty, I think you know everyone.”
“I see Ida brought George.”
Marge smirked. Lloyd was to be her mother’s best friend’s brother; Ilene would have to keep her hands off him.
“Look who’s here.”
Nard spilled his beer when Betty Small embraced him. “Billy! You got leave!”
Marge grinned. “Yes, your fiancé.”
She could have asked Betty to mash the potatoes but didn’t.
“Make room on the couch for Betty and Billy,” Marge commanded. “Let them get caught up.” She laughed at Nard’s desperation as he helped her mother to the couch.
“I’m your father?”
“No. Billy didn’t make it back.”
“She never loved my father as much.”
When everyone in the crowded single-wide had a full plate Nard, holding Mrs. Small’s hand, spoke.
“Thanks Lord for these friends and all this food. Lord, I’m grateful for Betty, love of my life… I’ll come home,” he promised.
After a moment of astounded silence Ernest coughed ‘amen’ and everyone dug in.
“Marge, Ernest- epic. Good food.”
“Thank you Lloyd. I sure do miss my mother’s mashed potatoes though. These are just ok. She did something that made hers….”
“Yeah, Lloyd, epic. I wish I knew what it was.”
“Marge, these are fine. A little garlic and rosemary wouldn’t of hurt either.”
But Marge’s mom was already Betty again, mooning over Nard. Nard’s uniform was just his cleanest Dickies from the dealership, but he was soldiering on in his role.
Leaning against Ernest, Marge smiled gratefully. “My mother hasn’t called me by name in two years.”
“Happy Thanksgiving, Marge.”
The Carrot Ranch November 8, 2018, prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that pairs mashed potatoes with a superpower. It can be in any circumstance, funny or poignant. Go where the prompt leads.” Go to Carrot Ranch to read Charli’s powerful post, to enjoy more powerful potato stories from the ranch hands, or to submit your own.