The black bean chili bubbled in the slow-cooker. Chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion, oregano and red bell peppers melded with the smoked ham hocks. Shredded cheddar in a glass bowl sat next to a bowl of fresh diced onion on the yellow linoleum counter. A partially stained cork rested against a bottle of Basalt Cellars 2007 Merlot next to the bowl of cheese. Two wine glasses flanked the bottle on the right.
I chopped the cilantro as Richard walked into the kitchen wearing his Seahawks Twelfth Man jersey.
“Fannie that smells fantastic,” Richard said, lifting the lid on the slow-cooker. Steam rose into the air. Richard took a deep breath closing his eyes. “Is it done yet?”
“Grab the avocado from the fridge,” I said, taking two bowls from the cupboard above the slow cooker.
“I’ve got a fire going in the fire place,” he said, handing me the avocado. “They’ve got the pre-game show on right now.”
The setting sun shot a beam through the kitchen window caught by the wine glasses creating a rainbow on the wall near the ceiling above Richard’s head.
“Hey look, a good omen for the Hawks tonight,” Richard said, smiling.
“What, not a nod to how clean my glass ware is?” I asked, laughing, handing him a bowl of chili.
We could hear the NFL theme song drift in from the living room. I poured the wine and followed Richard.
The commentators discussed the replacement officials as the Seahawks and Green Bay took the field. The wood in the fireplace crackled. A log split sending sparks up the chimney.
At the end of the first quarter, we enjoyed a second helping of chili. Golden Tate caught a 41-yard pass giving Seattle their first touchdown. We finished off the bottle of wine and split a third bowl of chili.
By half time the sweet after affects of the chili announced its presence.
“Phew, maybe we should have stopped after one bowl,” I said, laughing.
By the third quarter, Richard stood up. “I know how to fix this,” he said walking out of the room. He returned a few moments later carrying a bottle of lavender Febreze. “Would you like the honors, or shall I?”
“Please be my guest,” I said, laughing.
He sprayed the air as Mason Crosby kicked the first field goal for Green Bay.
Green Bay took the lead in the fourth quarter. Only seconds remained on the clock. Richard and I sat on the edge of our sofa willing Russell Wilson to score. Our digestive systems rooted in the key of F.
I grabbed the bottle of Febreze and sprayed the room as Wilson threw a pass to Tate, who was surrounded by Green Bay defenders.
We held our breath as the dog pile fell to the earth in the end zone. M.D. Jennings and Tate locked in a battle for the ball tangled with several other Green Bay players. The replacement refs called a touchdown for Seattle. Richard and I leaped off the sofa.
“Oh my god, do we celebrate or boo that call?” I asked, shaking my head.
Richard’s backside made the decision for us. Still holding the bottle of Febreze, I aimed and fired. Richard jumped as the spray penetrated his blue jeans.
“Oh no you don’t,” Richard said, grabbing the bottle from my hand.
I shrieked. Running for the dining room with Richard on my tail spraying my back side. I dove behind the dining room table, Richard over shot his mark hitting one of the chairs. I feinted to the left, then raced around the table into the kitchen. He nailed me in the shoulder as I passed him. I squealed.
“You’re gonna pay, Fannie,” Richard said, laughing.
I rounded the corner into the kitchen, Richard spraying in rapid succession. The door bell rang. We both froze.
“Are you expecting anybody,” I asked, panting.
“No, are you?” he asked, lowering the bottle.
I shook my head. The doorbell rang again.
“Well, we better answer it, we were too noisy to pretend we’re not home,” Richard said, walking to the door.
Richard opened the door. Aunt Verla and Uncle Carl stood on our front porch wearing coordinating brown travel outfits and carrying suit cases. Richard and I stared at my aunt and uncle.
“Fannie, Richard, I must have forgotten to call you,” Aunt Verla said, in her clipped tone when we didn’t say anything. “Bud can’t make it up here during his leave, so we decided to surprise him and fly down to Louisiana tomorrow. You don’t mind taking us to the airport do you?”
“What time’s your flight?” I asked running my fingers through my short brown hair.
“Six a.m.,” Aunt Verla said smiling. “It shouldn’t inconvenience you in the least.”
Richard laughed. I groaned as my allergy to mornings reared its ugly head.
I opened the screen door. “Come on in, the guest room’s all ready for you.”
Uncle Carl’s eyes bulged as the combined smells overpowered him.
Aunt Verla coughed. Her eyes watered. “What on earth have you two been doing?”
His devilish grin spreading across his face, Richard said, “Watching Monday Night Football.”
Uncle Carl waved his arms in front of him. “Oh dear god, it smells like a french whore house in here. All you’re missing are the cigarettes.”
Smiling, I asked, “Didn’t you know that Chili and Febreze go together like Monday Night and Football?”
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