Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Typical Family Dinner

...Dinner in a large family is bound to be interesting. And in my family it usually is. ...We try to stick to a regular schedule around here. Some of us get up earlier than others of us, but we are almost always up by seven. Then on to chores, breakfast and school. Around noon we take a short break for lunch and more chores, then we launch our newly refueled rockets back into the large fuzzy area of school. ( I call it large and fuzzy because anything counts. My latest cooking disaster is not a waste because I file it under the title of "Chemistry Project - muffins gone wrong", and so forth...) ...Although we have many days when the schedule is just "off", and no one is sure why; and again, we have those days where its "off" and most do no why; or, we have those "off" days where the reason is because someone sat sipping their tea for too long among other things, we always have dinner-no matter what time it is. So what is the typical dinner like for us? Well it goes something like this. ...It's 5:00 pm and Mother starts by saying " Girls, I'll need your help making dinner in a little while". From corners of the room erupt sighs as books, coloring, writing and dolls are laid aside. A couple girls try to be cheerful while a couple don't, and then half way through dinner preparations they switch roles. So there's a couple cheerful and a couple not alternating throughout. "I only made enough cornbread batter for 12 hot dogs" says one. "But there are 15 hot dogs!" says another. "What, she told me their were 12", interjects a third sister. ...Mother intervenes as the youngest daughter dutifully stirs away at the dough. We stick the first hot dog into the batter to find it will not stick. "Good grief, what's the matter with it?" someone wants to know. Just at this inopportune moment my middle brother comes in to find out "What's for dinner?" Close on his heels is the baby boy, not so babyish any more being five. ..."Did we hear someone say corn dogs?" they both ask in unison. "Yep", informs nine year old Julia, "There homemade too." The boys look slightly concerned, "We usually have the kind from the store", Daniel comments while watching us attempt to keep the batter on the hot dogs. "Yes well, these will be healthier" Mother answers him and sends them both out of the way. ...In the end we just add more flour and plaster it to the hot dogs. "That will do the trick", and it did. I put on some vegetables and good feeling is restored. God's grace floods our souls and we laugh together, even when the vegetables boil over and the dishwasher breaks. ...5:45 pm, its time to set the table. The younger girls, that being all of them but me, go to get the tablecloth. We hear giggling and exclamations from the other room. "Boy does this stink" a voice says. I wonder if I should go investigate, but put it off since I am doing dishes. A few minutes later I hear the sound of a spray bottle being sprayed profusely and decide now is the time to find out what's going on. Before I get a chance though it is 6:00 pm, and our captain rises from his leather recliner. "Time for dinner", Mother announces. ...A mad rush for seats ensues. Most people have a usual spot and yet there are always a few drifters in every family, those who must try a different seat each night of the week. "Where is Julia?" was asked during this process and Father called her on our intercom. (A very handy and necessary tool in a two story house with nine inmates) Eventually, we all find a seat, prayers are said and the food dished up. Then someone asks again "Where is Julia?" ...A quick cross-examination of the family reveals that no one has seen her for the last fifteen minutes. So with horrors flitting through our minds we all jump up, search the house, drain the pool, scour the backyard and question the neighbors before she is found locked in the garage. Wearily we make our way back to the dinner table and sit down to our now slightly cold dinner. ...The topics of conversation range from "Let's discuss who left the lights on upstairs" and "Why aren't more people voting for Ron Paul", to "Who wants to hear my latest dream" and "Were the Etruscans important in the establishing of Rome as a nation?" Its a jolly time, a feasting time and a sharing time. Half way through the meal Mother cautiously asks, "Does anyone else smell that awful smell?" Immediately nine pairs of nostrils, big and small, are extended sniffing the air. "There is a funny smell". "I don't smell it because I have allergy's". "Did someone leave the downstairs bathroom open?" ...Suddenly I remembered the spraying sounds of earlier and turn to observe my younger sisters. They were tittering and look bashful. "It was her fault" the littlest says pointing at one of her older sisters. "No, we all sprayed it" she responds. "But you were holding the bottle" reminds the littlest again. "Holding the bottle of what?" asks Mother. The girls look at each other. "Well the tablecloth stank from its last washing so, we decided to spray it with the bathroom room spray to get the stink out" one of them finally offers up. Stares. Suddenly one of the boys says"And so you replaced one stink with another eh ?" Everyone starts to laugh as the whole situation becomes ridicules. With no more ado we finish our cold dinner on our delightfully twice stinky tablecloth with an abundance of love and goodwill.

1 comment:

Big-Dog said...

I don't remember it quite like that, but maybe I have a biased memory....
Anyway, good job, good luck, and have fun!

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