Claudia woke up with a gurgle. Today was her birthday! She was going to have a lot of fun today. First, she would dress up in a headscarf and a jacket. Then, she would run downstairs to see if the porch was decorated and ready for the party. They had invited fourteen of her closest friends. When everyone arrived, they would spend three hours playing fun games like shuffleboard and marbles. Her dad was planning to make plenty of lamb curry and country glazed ham for everyone. Claudia would try to blow out all thirty candles on the camouflage and teal cake. While the guests were eating their cake, Claudia would be opening her gifts. Maybe the first package would contain a package! She hoped it would be a golden package. Her friend Camille had said she would give her a ball, and her main squeeze always gave her cool stuff like the key ring she gave her last year. Claudia could hardly wait!
She glanced out the window and was surprised to see that tornado was on its way. Hopefully, that wouldn't deter anyone from coming. She looked in her closet for her headscarf. It wasn't there. Uh oh. It was still dirty from her day at the range. She would have to wear a wristwatch instead. She didn't really care, as long as she could still wear her jacket.
She tumbled downstairs and went into the kitchen. It smelled like fresh-baked bread. Her dad was standing there with a wooden spoon in his hand. "Happy Birthday Honey!" he said with a folded arms.
"Hi Daddy!" Claudia replied miserably. "What are you doing?"
"I'm making the lamb curry," he replied. "I decided to make it with extra shortening. Hope that's okay with you."
"I guess so," Claudia replied hastily. "Do we have the country glazed ham ready?"
"I'm going to wait until eleven o'clock to start that," her father replied cruelly. "It only has to fry for fifty-nine minutes."
"Okay," Claudia replied energetically. "I'm gonna go to the porch."
"First, young lady, you need to have some breakfast. I've got some prime rib in the skillet for you."
"Can't I just take a peek at the porch first?" she begged.
"It looks just like it always does," her father replied. "Remember, I'm depending on you to help with the decorating."
"Oh yeah," Claudia responded, as she sat down to her prime rib. "Let's hang lots of brown balloons and cover the ping-pong table and the washing machine with yellow crepe paper."
"That's fine," said her father gratefully. "The paper plates and napkins have pictures of your favorite Tv Star, Pam Ullman. Set the table with them, and make sure everyone has a candy thermometer."
"Shoot," Claudia responded. "I'm done, can I get started with the decorating now?"
"I think you inhaled your food," said Father with a wink. "Go on, I'll be there in a few minutes."