Some of the fondest memories I have of my childhood days are the times we spent around the kitchen table at dinner time. There was my mother on the left end. Running clockwise from her was my middle brother and older sister, then our father at the head with his back to the door leading to the basement steps or rear exit. Next to my father was me, within his swinging distance (and for good reason) and finally my baby brother. Some dinners, the seating orientation changed, but more often than not, this was the arrangement. It wasn’t an assignment, but rather, a habit.
And the dinners, dude. Both my father and my mother were both excellent cooks, throwing together meals passed down from recipes from generations long gone – as well as creations of their own. it was even more fun cooking WITH them, picking up their secrets without asking.
But the best meals? You know when that happened. Holidays! Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Birthdays, Arbor Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Snow Day, YESTERday… You name the day and that kitchen became the Promised Land, the ultimate desire of neighbors and friends all around.
In addition to a guaranteed smorgasbord, there was something else you could always count on-
Every major holiday, my baby brother Craig could be counted on, without fail…
…to spill his drink before the meal was finished.
Sounds crazy, right? Trust me. He did. Every time.
For some odd reason, Easter, Thanksgiving and Mother’s Day were not complete until Craig reached out for another helping of something, knocking over his glass or 16 oz bottle of pop. We did everything we could to prevent it from recurring as the years passed: relocated his drink, moved key foods away from it, even told him to let us now what he wanted so we could hand it to him – all to no avail. Every major holiday, something was gonna spill.
Finally, there was that one fateful year (either Thanksgiving or Christmas). It was a typical holiday meal with abnormally delicious food. We gave thanks, made our plates, talked and laughed as we filled our bellies beyond their storage capacity.
As the meal ended, we sat back and massaged our stomachs to stretch to accommodate the overload. That’s when my sister Denise looked up in shock, staring.
Everyone looked at her quizzically as she spoke. “Craig. You didn’t spill your drink!”
There was a pause of confusion, then satisfaction, then happiness. Craig had actually made it through the holiday meal without his traditional spilling of his drink. No one said a word. No one new WHAT to say.
Then, with the most stoic expression on his face, Craig leaned forward…
…and tipped his glass over as if he was surrendering his king after hearing “Checkmate” in a chess game.
You would think that, growing up in the Davis house, everyone would know the limits of my father’s patience, as well as his sense of humor…
Craig was wrong.
You know what happened next: The Holiday Happy Dance.
You would also think that my father would have gone to bed and forgotten that I was laughing (an absolute no-no) at the dinner table while Craig got his booty browned. So I went to sleep snickering…
I was wrong.
I’m sure you knkow how that ended as well.
But like I said in the title, when it comes to family traditions, why stop now?
That’s how you get – another Davis Family Adventure. Season’s Beatings…
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