Since Kate was leaving in a couple days, she, Jen and Kelly made plans to have dinner at the Olive Garden in Fairview Heights. Mrs. P would watch Sarah since Spencer had to work that evening.
Kate drove on her own so she could get some stocking stuffers after dinner. Tonight flurries were falling and the forecast called for two inches of snow by morning. She pulled into the restaurant parking lot and went inside to see if either of her friends had arrived yet. She added her name to the list when she learned neither of them were there yet. She sat on a bench holding her gift bags.
Kate only had to wait a minute, as Kelly and Jen arrived together. They exchanged hugs and were taken to a table by a hostess in a white oxford and black apron. After ordering, they caught up on Kate’s trip and talked about the stress at work. Jen said, “They have us working ten hour days just to stay on top of things. It’s getting ridiculous.” She chomped a bite off her bread stick. Her maroon top shimmered when she moved.
“I know, we aren’t happy either. Working longer hours with less manpower and all the higher ups grumbling, it’s a nightmare,” Kelly added. Tonight, she wore a red and green cardigan with snowmen and deer on it.
“I know. It’s not any better where I’m headed, either. There’s too many troops thinned out in too many places. So much for Christmas cheer.”
They finished their meal talking about more upbeat topics and then exchanged their gifts. Kate opened bath and body products from Jen and a glass ornament with a snow scene and a painted sentiment that said, ‘Mother and Daughter’s First Christmas’ on it from Kelly. She exclaimed, “It’s beautiful. Where did you find it?”
“I found it at the mall and had the crafter add the message. I told him about the adoption and he was glad to do it, even though the ornament came from elsewhere.”
“How nice,” Kate said. “So hard to get decent customer service anywhere.”
Kate bought homemade scarves for them, in their favorite colors and they loved them. After they paid their bills, they hugged each other and left their separate ways after promising to text each other to stay in touch.
Kate pulled into the nearest Walgreens and bought gum, candy and other stocking stuffer items she wanted and then called it a night. She took the interstate toward home. A few minutes into her drive, she was slammed into by a car changing lanes that didn’t quite make it around her. Kate’s car spun around and went into the ditch before things went black.
Until next time,