The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is “adult.”
We’re having a big family gathering, a circling of the tribe, as it were.
Relatives are everywhere, talking, laughing sneaking sips of homemade wine out of plastic cups since gramps hasn’t imbibed in years. Cousins I’ve not seen since last summer slam screen doors. There’s the bachelor uncles who smell funny. I meet a nephew I didn’t even know I had.
Dinner is a conglomeration of what the farm has to offer; a suckling pig, cold fried chicken, corn, salads of all measure and the tea that’s been brewed in the sun in a ginormous clear glass crock.
As the time to eat draws near, there’s instant tension.
We’ve added to leafs to grammie’s ancient oak farmer’s table, brought out all the chairs from various rooms. There won’t be enough seating at the thing, and suspicious eyes begin to dart.
Especially since several wobbly card tables have been arranged in the family room, as well as the screened-in porch.
Grammie doesn’t subscribe to the kid’s table theory.
Seats at the big table are handed out with no general rhyme or reason, although my father says grammie does has a system.
I’m hoping the thank you I crafted for the $13 birthday check stand out in grammie’s fading memory.
I’m seated near the head of the table, on the prime left corner, since I’m the only leftie in the clan (and nobody tolerates bony elbows in their face while gnawing on grammie’s fried chicken). I feel the hot stares on my back.
That’s when I feel the first of several barrages of spring peas hit. Someone’s shooting hot peas, one at a time, at my neck.
And they’re scoring direct hits.
It’s my father.
There’s a devilish look in his eye, a playful smile on his lips.
He’s jammed into a tiny folding chair surrounded by the youngest children, some of them drinking milk out of cups with lips and spouts.
The bombardment continues.
Plink. Plink. Plink.
“Robert, one more pea finds its way to this boy and you’ll be eating cobbler in the corn crib,” grammie says without looking in his direction.
I turn my head slightly so dad can see and blow him a little kiss.
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