The Kid’s Table

Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you remember the kid’s table? …At Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and family gatherings.

Adults sat in the dining room, discussed the usual.  Was it pass to the left or right?  Nobody ever gave an answer–because, from that point they would be regarded as the family etiquette expert.

“Where did you get all that energy?  My how you’ve grown.  What grade were you in school?  Did you like school this year?”  Questions answered with poker faces, shoulder shrugs, and “I don’t knows.”

Older kids served themselves.  Younger ones had plates fixed by moms, grandmas, aunts, older brothers, and sisters.  “Eat something else besides mashed potatoes.  Take some of these green beans.  No dessert till you’re finished.”  Lots of laughter prevailed, subdued, so, as to not draw attention from the adult table.

Everybody had a cousin Ralphie–or, someone like him.  Cousin Ralphie balanced green peas on his knife, ate disgusting food mixtures–pickled beets, mashed potatoes, and milk.

“Cousin Ralphies” turned their eyelids inside out, to disgusted “ewws” and “ahs” at the kid’s table.  “What did he need ketchup for?”  A self-appointed gastronomic virtuoso, Ralphie shared his secrets on holidays.  Ketchup made everything more palatable.  It was rumored, Ralphie subsisted on ketchup sandwiches at home.

Mid-afternoon, after dishes were cleared, washed, and put away, the oldest adults were first to leave.  Early evening, tears flowed from the eyes of younger ones, that wanted to stay longer.  Moms, sisters, aunts comforted.  Dads weren’t as patient.

While You Were Away

Well, you all weren’t away–it was me that disappeared from WP for a few days.

My health is good. I wasn’t abducted by aliens in shiny silver space ships. Instead, visited with some dear friends.

We’ve visited back-and-forth over the past few years, and reside about eight hours apart.  Conversations, pleasantries flowed freely.

A backyard barbecue last Sunday night, a familiar waterfront dining establishment visited Monday evening; a new favorite restaurant, under spreading live oaks, introduced to our friends the first night, and my wife’s homemade lasagna for the finale last night.

The memories fade, but won’t be soon be forgotten.

 

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Horses, Hams, Hacksaws & Whatever Else I Can Come Up With

“Put some elbow grease into it,” really meant putting more effort into a task. It’s a strange expression, if taken literally. What was elbow grease? Where did the expression originate? Did well-lubricated elbows function more efficiently?

“Your eyes were bigger than your stomach.” An expression that went along with, “waste not, want not.” Don’t take something if you don’t really want it. How could someone’s eyes be bigger, than one’s stomach? What a freak show that would be.

“If it thundered in December, it would snow in May.” An old bromide from my Midwestern roots. It did occasionally snow in April, rarely in May. The point was, December thunder and lightning storms, were weird. It was supposed to snow in December.

“Blue racer snakes would chase you.” I never had it happen to me–that was the legend. Also, if the snake was cut into pieces, left for dead; it would come back together overnight, and slither away.

Chickens weren’t exactly the brainiacs of the barnyard. It was alleged, that if one got a chicken to stand still, and a line was drawn in the dirt, the chicken would stand still, mesmerized.

Good luck charms: Rabbit’s feet, horseshoes, four-leaf clovers–how did these come to be regarded as good luck charms? Some people had “lucky shirts.” …Lucky colors, …Lucky days. I guess just about anything could be a good luck charm–if we wanted it to be. One thing’s for sure, the rabbit charm, wasn’t lucky for the rabbit.

Someday It Will Rain

Messes like these started with single careless acts.  An encore presentation from four years ago.  Perhaps inspired by me doing yard work all day.

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Muted sunlight, filtered

through palmettos

thick, river

bank brush

Colorfully labeled

plastic bottles

aluminum cans

convenience store

Styrofoam cups

branches and driftwood

contrasted, with water

cress greenness, linked

arm-in-arm, rafted

Huckleberry Finn

style, to the sea

Civilization devolved slowly

Parade noises faded

into previous night’s

memory–these children

of promise, like

“Quest For Fire” extras

practiced their lines

Jousted for dominance

Plucked another

cold one, from the

plastic ring–“dead soldier”

empties, tossed in

spirited competition

like skipped river stones

The skies darkened

Blustery winds blew

Warning signs ignored

when the signs

were all there

Whose side

were they on?

Nobody knew

Reveling continued

till early morning

when liquor was gone

First sprinkles

then torrent

remaining traces

of conscience

floated away