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Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Maggie Curtis was beginning to get nervous as nine o’clock approached. She was not sure how her three children would take the news. She tried to push it out of her mind as she moved about the kitchen preparing food for them.

Maggie was fifty-six years old, but looked ten years younger. She was five foot seven and was slim in stature. Her hair was mostly blonde, with just a touch of gray, and she had deep blue eyes, which was the first thing her customers noticed when they saw her. Maggie was the manager of a large bookstore in town.

Maggie had been married twice. The first marriage ended in divorce and the second one ended when husband died from a heart attack. She had been a widow for four years and it was important that her three children were all together when she gave them the news, because they were her only family.

At eight forty-five, Maggie heard a car pull up in the driveway. She knew that it was Carol, because she always arrived early. Carol was thirty-five years old, married with three children under the age of ten. She was also a police officer, which scared Maggie sometimes, but also made her proud.

When Maggie opened the door, she hugged her daughter. As soon as Carol walked into the house, the aromas from the kitchen hit her nostrils. She suddenly became very serious and a worried look spread across her face. “Are you okay, Mom?” she asked.

“I’m fine,” said Maggie, “now grab some coffee. The others will be here soon.” Before they could sit down and talk, another car arrived. This time it was Mandy. Mandy was the oldest of the three. She was a registered nurse and worked the night shift in the ER. She was still in her scrubs, as she had driven to her mother’s house directly from work. Mandy was married and had three teenagers. She was the most emotional of Maggie’s three children, which explained her reaction when she walked into the house and saw the food on the kitchen table. She gave her mother a big hug and asked, “What’s wrong, Mom? Are you sick? Maybe you should sit down.”

Before Maggie could respond, her son walked into the house. “Chocolate chip pancakes!” said Kenny. “Who died?”

“What has gotten in to the three of you?” asked Maggie. “Why do you all think that something is wrong, or that someone is sick or dead?”

“You’re kidding, right?” asked Kenny. “Chocolate chip pancakes, oatmeal with pecans, raisins and brown sugar, strawberries and cream. Those only add up to one thing, what we refer to as a ‘BNB’.”

“Bed and Breakfast?” asked Maggie.

“No,” laughed Kenny, “Bad News Breakfast.”

“Really, Mom?” said Carol. “Can you really be that naïve?”

“When we were growing up, you only made this breakfast for us when you had bad news to tell us,” said Mandy.

“You made this breakfast for the very first time when I was eight,” said Kenny. “After breakfast, you told us that you and Dad were getting divorced. Then again one year later when you had to put old Duke to sleep. After that, we figured out that the fancy breakfast would be followed by some bad news, like when you told us that you were getting remarried, or that Dad was, or when a grandparent died, etc.… Do I need to continue?”

“I didn’t see it that way,” said Maggie. “I wanted to give you your favorite breakfast foods because I loved you and I knew that the events would affect you emotionally. But, now that I say it out loud, I see your point. But this time, the news is not bad. At least, I hope you won’t think it’s bad.”

“Well, what is it?” asked Carol, who was beginning to get impatient.

“For the past few months,” said Maggie, “I have been dating again and before I accept his marriage proposal, I would like to have your blessing.”

“You’re getting married again?” asked Mandy

“I would like to, yes” said Maggie.

“Do you love the guy?” asked Carol.

“Very much,” said Maggie. “The first time I got married, your father and I rushed into it. I was young, and I wanted to get away from my parents control. We were both immature, and that’s why we divorced fifteen years later. Then, I met John. I didn’t truly love him, not at first. I thought I loved him, because I was scared of raising three children alone. Of course, I grew to love him, and we had a good life together. He was a good stepfather to you.”

“When John died four years ago, all of you were out on your own, with your own families. I started feeling lonely. They say ‘third time’s a charm. This time, I am totally in love and I want to spend the rest of my life with him.”

Carol, Mandy and Kenny all began asking questions at the same time, but before Maggie could answer any of them, they heard a car pull into the driveway. Kenny looked out the window and asked, “What’s Dad doing here?”

“I wanted to tell him face to face,” said Maggie. “It’s not something that I wanted to say over the phone.”

As soon as Ken walked into the kitchen, he saw his three children and he became worried. “What’s going on, Maggie?” he asked. “Is everything okay?” Kenny, Mandy and Carol looked at one another. They were all thinking the same thing. How would he take the news, that their mother was getting married again, especially when he just lost his second wife to cancer a year earlier.

“You said you had something to tell me, Maggie,” said Ken. “What is it?”

“I wanted to tell you ‘yes’,” said Maggie “and I wanted our children to be here when I did.”

As big smiles appeared on the faces of both of their parents, Carol, Mandy and Kenny were very confused. They became even more confused when they saw their parents kissing. It was not just a friendly kiss either. It was a very long, passionate kiss.

Kenny figured it out first. “Mom? Dad? You are getting remarried?” he asked.

“Yes,” said Maggie. “When Beth died last year, your father took it very hard. I knew what he was going through, and we began texting, emailing and calling each other. Before long, we fell madly in love. We have both matured a great deal since we divorced twenty-three years ago. We began flying back and forth on weekends to see each other. We both agreed to keep our relationship a secret until we knew that it was going to last.”

“Are you okay with this?” Ken asked

“Are you kidding?” asked Kenny. “Of course we’re okay with it. When are you getting remarried?

Ken looked at Maggie and said, “You pick the date, Maggie.”

“How about June sixth?” asked Maggie, “the date of our first wedding, but this time in a church not in a courthouse.”

“Does that work for you kids?” asked Ken. “Can you arrange to get off work with only two months’ notice? Carol and Mindy said that it wouldn’t be a problem. Kenny, who was a middle school science teacher, said that June sixth was the last day of school, but that school got out at three o’clock.

“Could we have the wedding at six?” he asked. Maggie and Ken both agreed that six o’clock would be fine.

As the five of them sat down to breakfast, Maggie made another announcement. “I would like to begin a new tradition,” she said. “Let’s have this breakfast every anniversary and let it be known as a GNB, or Good News Breakfast from this day forward.”

The wedding was a very happy occasion. Kenny was the Best Man, Mandy was Matron of Honor and Carol was a Bridesmaid. All ten of the grandchildren were involved in the wedding in some manner. Besides being Best Man, Kenny also walked his mother down the aisle.

When the pastor asked, “Who gives this woman to be joined to this man in Holy Matrimony?” sixteen voices responded as one by saying, “We all do!”

Over the years, Ken and Maggie’s love continued to grow deeper. No matter how big the family became, with additional generations, they all gathered together at the house where Carol, Mandy and Kenny had grown up, and where Ken and Maggie still lived, to have an anniversary celebration breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, the special oatmeal and strawberries and cream.

On one wall of the dining room, there were four portraits hanging side by side. One was of Ken and Maggie on their first wedding day, one of Ken and Beth; one of Maggie and John and the last one was of Maggie and Ken on their second wedding day. Ken and Maggie wanted to honor their other spouses as well, because they were part of their history.

At their fortieth anniversary breakfast, Ken and Maggie still active at ninety-six, were surrounded by their three children, ten grandchildren, eighteen great-grandchildren, and twenty-four great-great-grandchildren. Of course, by that time, the celebration had to be moved into the back yard to accommodate all of the family members.

The End

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