I hosted a party in the fall three years ago. It was an Autumn Potluck for my Mom's Group. A good party-lots of nice food. I made my Cardamom Christmas Wreath Bread which nobody cares for-except me, of course; I think it rocks, so I make it every year. My husband hates it. Of course, he hated the Pumpkin Spice Yeast Bread I made for a friend's Halloween party a couple years ago so much more. I put way too much allspice in that, and if you don't know what that mistake tastes like, you're lucky. I told my friend, the hostess, she could keep the bread, and she said with a very sweet smile, "Oh, no. I couldn't. You take it home with you."
That's when you know something is truly awful-when your good friend won't even keep it just so they can have the satisfaction of throwing it away when you're not looking. Instead, they send it home with you to punish you for its atrocious flavor, and if it happens to be a pumpkin yeast bread reeking of allspice, that punishment is harsh and completely unnecessary.
Anyway, the Autumn Potluck was a success. I even served punch in a punch bowl, and I've always held the belief that you can't get fancier than that. Even if the punch is comprised of orange soda and pink Cool-aide, your guests are bound to say, "You served punch? Well, look at you, Miss Fancy-Pants!" before they all end up sporting frothy coral-colored mustaches.
Besides, this beverage container was my wedding gift punch bowl-you know, the kind from Target, Walmart, etc. that is both a punch bowl and a cake stand. I had put a sticker on it to emphasize its fanciness which said: This is The Fancy Punch Bowl Given Me On My Wedding Day-June 16 of a Year I Shall Not Disclose By Someone I don't Remember. Consider Yourself Lucky, All You Who Drink From It.
Well, the punch bowl survived the party. Then it survived for several days after the party on the bar behind the counter. Then it survived for more than a week in the same exact spot.
Finally, my guilt over its neglect persuaded me to wash it one day as I was doing some pans. I was standing at my sink, and the bar is a few inches above that where a rectangular opening connects my kitchen to the dining room on the other side. I reached out from behind the sink with one hand and tried to lift the bowl from the stand. It wouldn't move. I tried again. Nope, wasn't going to budge, because apparently when you leave residual punch in a bowl for more than a week, all the sugar in the liquid that was slopped over the side makes a very good seal that glues the bowl to the stand and then to the countertop-possibly forever. Unless you take drastic measures.
Those drastic measures involved taking a few seconds to walk out of the kitchen and around the corner in order to carefully pry the punch bowl up with both hands. I could not do this from my current position in front of the sink because I was heavily pregnant at the time and had to turn my stomach aside just to reach one arm toward the punchbowl.
As I hesitated on the brink of a momentous decision pinned on whether or not I was going to be a responsible, circumspect adult or a what the heck! let's see what happens kind of gal, I could almost see the Little Leprechaun in my brain parading, waving flags and cheering me on. See what happens! See what happens! he was chanting. But on the other side of my mind, an old man with a push broom was shaking his head and saying, "Don't do it! This will not be good."
I stretched out my right arm again toward that stubborn bowl even as warning bells began to peal madly in my brain and a voice of reason that sounded strangely like my husband's drew out a long, "Nooooooo-aaaaaaahhhh!"
With brute one-armed strength, I gave that punchbowl a good tug and was rewarded by feeling it give and instantaneously watching it fly up from its stand as if in fury. As it arced in front of the dining room window, I just had time to think, "Ah, It's too heavy. It won't break," before it crashed with magnificent noise and burst into multiple glass daggers that shot up from the detonation point to penetrate every single porous surface in the dining room.
"Oh, shoot! That put holes in Matthew's floor! I thought.
And I was right. But it took me three hours to find those holes. First I had to locate the large dangerous shards lying on all the chairs and tables waiting for defenseless bottoms and, well...miscreant elbows on the tabletop. Next I had to find the sneaky glass splinter jutting out from the side of the glider rocker upon which I sliced my finger forthwith. Then I had to brush multiple pieces from the window ledge, shake them out of the blinds, and pick them out of a table linen. I had to crawl all around the furniture with my enormous belly collecting remnants of my fancy Target wedding day punch bowl.
After picking, plucking, sweeping and then wiping up the arena of damage with dozens of wet paper towels, I found the holes I had put in the laminate floor my husband had worked so diligently to install-long, jagged gouges in the fake wood that would forever taunt me, because, as I now know, a punch bowl/cake stand may not last forever but holes in the floor are for a lifetime.