Saturday, January 14, 2012

Eating At The Table

Canned tomatoes...

Red, large, watery...disgusting.

Mom put those in almost everything she made. It made supper not always enjoyable, but I ate. Luckily, I had something to distract me.

"Hi, girls! What y'all up to? Eatin'? You eat it all up now."

The chair scrapes out and he sits down.

"Well," he says, after filling his plate, "what'd y'all do today?"

Shouts of "I played wif my dolls!", "I drew a picture!", "I didn't get into trouble!" go 'round the table. He smiles.

"That's good. That's real good. Well, I heard a new one today."

"Drum!" my mom warns.

We all get quiet, looking at Dad out of the corner of our eyes and trying very hard not to grin.

Mom gets up to get something for Bill. Dad leans in and whispers, "Did you hear the one about the dog that walks into-"

"Drummond!" Mom yells, her head popping up from behind the refrigerator door. "No inappropriate jokes!"

"Alright, Mylin."

We sit back, but we know the funny isn't over. We eat some and the silence stretches. Mom comes back to the table and begins to feed Bill.

"This dog walks into a bar and says-"

"Drummond Atterbury stop telling these girls your jokes!"

He leans back and grins at us. And then he winks. Even as young as we are we know he's flirting with our mom and --- he's gonna tell us that joke later. It's just fun to watch them argue. And he NEVER stopped. No matter how hot and bothered she got.

He leans across the table again. "Hey, Maria," he whispers.

Mom pauses and raises an eyebrow at him.

"Come hear for a second."

Maria scoots off her chair and stops beside Dad. We are all waiting. I can barely contain my excitement, my legs are swinging back and forth like they're wiper blades on steroids.

"Pull my finger!" he tells her.

"Drummond!" Mom yells, popping up from her chair, but she is too late and a very inappropriate sound rips through the air.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Tragic Sleepover

My first sleepovers were either at Roxi's house or with a family my parents went to college with. They had two boys and one was my age. We had fun together.

One evening we spent the night and when we woke up, Wendy's cheek was swollen to twice its size.

I don't remember anyone being very scared, but all the adults were trying to figure out what had happened and if she should go to the emergency room.

I was sitting next to her on the couch, while she sat in my dad's lap. I stared hard at her, trying to figure out why her cheek was sticking out like she maybe had a bouncy ball inside her mouth, pressed up against the side of her face.

She wasn't crying, but staring right back at me, telling me without words to figure it out and fix it.

The adults were all chattering around us, trying to decide what to do. I narrowed my eyes at her face, turned my head slightly to the left, then to the right. She copied me.

Then, I reached up, touched her check, and snapped my hand back in surprise. It was so hard! Almost like she did have a bouncy ball pressed up against the inside of her cheek!

And that was when I remembered! Wendy had been sticking this toy in her mouth the night before. It was a little kitty cat with a fat, round bottom in place of its legs. I concluded she must have fallen asleep with it in her mouth, and now her cheek was permanently stuck out there for all the world to see!

I proudly announced my findings. The adults disagreed.

I argued. Argued some more.

"We probably just need to get a needle and pop it!" I told them. They ignored me and took her to the emergency room.

I didn't see her for the rest of the day, or the next day. I was worried. I started wondering if she was going to be allowed to come home, but I couldn't say that to anyone. Maria was beside herself with sadness and Mom and Dad would panic if I brought it up.

So, I waited. And waited.

Dad finally took us to the hospital to see her. I was sitting in a chair in a small waiting room staring down a very large, never-ending, stark white hallway when I saw her.

She was holding Mom's hand and they were walking toward us. I jumped up and shouted to Maria, "There she is!"

She was wearing jeans and a blue, long sleeve shirt. I could feel my smile splitting my face.

But, before she even got half-way down the longest hallway in the world, Dr. Stanley swooped in, picked her up and carried her off!

I was livid! "That's my sister!" I cried. "Where is he taking her?"

Mom finally reached us and said, "He's figured out what kind of spider bit her, and now he can give her the medicine she needs."

I put my hands on my hips and glared at her. "So, she didn't swallow the cat toy?"

With the utmost seriousness Mom replies, "No, she didn't swallow the cat toy."

She was home that afternoon.