Paella is a Party Waiting to Happen!

Last week I posted a writing recipe called First Line Last Line Poetry. It’s a fun way to spice up your writing life, borrowing a first line and a last line from someone else’s writing. You supply all the fabulous words in between those lines.

I also offered up a wild challenge. If you send me a first line and a last line, I’ll write ya a poem.

Well, my dear friend, Sheri, took the bait. She sent me these two lines:

  • First: Paella is a party waiting to happen.

  • Last: You, of course are a rose - But were always a rose.

Thanks, a lot, Sheri, thanks a super lot. Good thing she’s a really, really good friend!!

Of course, she knows I like a challenge!

I have exactly one and a half hours before I need to pick up my daughter from school - so that’s how much time this composition is going to get.

Am I scared? You better believe it.

Do I have any idea how I’m getting myself from that first line to the last line? Nope, but I’m kinda excited. Can’t overthink it. Just gotta go, and have some faith in the process!

And so Dear Readers, I bring you….

Leftover Love

“Paella is a party waiting to happen!”

On the day after Thanksgiving, I’d always hear Grandpa say that at least five times.

“Paella is a party waiting to happen!”

In our family, the day after Thanksgiving didn’t mean stuffing ourselves with a second turkey dinner.

No, for us, that day was about the best Spanish leftover dish ever - Paella!

Grandpa was loud, and near dusk, after hours of cards and football and heated conversations, he’d start hustling around the house, pouring sangria, and yelling at Grandma, “Rose, Rose, get the paellera! I’ll start the coals on the BBQ!”

With the first glass of sangria, all the adults knew it was time to get busy.

Clean fish, chop onions, rinse rice, and prepare the spice mix. Garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and saffron never smelled so good.

I kept eating potato chips, drinking Coke, and playing Battleship with my cousins at the kitchen table, but every once in a while, I’d pause and take in the sounds and smells that made me feel warm inside.

We all knew it was time to go outside when we heard Grandpa yell, “Rose, it's time. It’s time. Hurry. Hurry. Let’s get this paella party started!”

Grandma would roll her eyes, but we’d all follow her out like little ducklings, hovering around the BBQ at full attention, watching their beloved banter. Grandpa trying to hurry her along, trying to add the fish too soon. Grandma telling him, “Wait. Wait. Patience. It’s all about the rice. It’s all about the rice!”

“Rose, it’s ready. It’s ready. Let the master test it!” Grandpa would try to steal a bite of that saffron red rice with his fingers. Grandma would swat his hand away.

Then, she’d laugh, and give in, knowing exactly what he’d say and do after that first bite.

He’d put his arm around her. His strong arm seemed to have its own gravitational pull on all of us.

Standing in a circle around that BBQ, we leaned in to listen for his famous line. It was the best part of our day after Thanksgiving tradition, and we knew there’d be no eating until it was uttered.

“Tonight, we are thankful for family. Tonight we are thankful for paella. Tonight we raise our glasses to my beloved Rose.” Then, he’d look at her with love, reciting the one and only line of poetry he’d ever memorized, learned in the English class where they met so many years ago.

“You, of course are a rose - But were always a rose.”

So take that, Sheri! Oh la la, what fun!

Many thanks to Good Housekeeping for the first line and Robert Frost for the last line from “The Rose Family.”

And to my dear friend, Sheri, “You, of course are a rascal - but were always a rascal.”

Always writing,


P.S. Here’s a picture of Sheri and me on the Grand Canyon. We are freezing our booties off after going through wild rapids. We love adventures, and evidently she loves TRYING to challenge me with hard to write about first and last lines. Love ya, Sheri! xoxoxoxox