I think manners are a good thing. Not everything, but somewhat desirable. At the family table we maintain a middle ground, a comfortable version of proper. And then there are our Obama manners. (Or whoever happens to be president at the moment of discussion) If the PRESIDENT were coming to dinner we would ratchet things up a few notches, and we know those fancy rules, and could pull it all off. The presidential dinner visit comes up often, and it’s a slippery slope because we always end up in the gutter, with some foul mouthed rapper also arriving and cursing the cocoa or biscuits.
Are you even following this? Yes, we’re nuts.
And Lewis can do a perfect imitation of 50 cent GOING OFF and ruining everything with some serious potty mouth. I have no idea how he learned this...oh wait, from his father, never mind. We laugh so hard. It’s even funnier when Della starts in.
|in case you don’t know your rap music, this is 50 cent, yes that’s his name .|
Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, our good manners. We actually do have a grip on things and are fairly presentable in public, I think. Especially Max. He has always had a bit of diplomat in him.... an inner calm and finesse that slays elderly women and endears him to teachers and authority figures. He will probably go far one day. If we can get the ‘soup fiasco’ off his record, he will go far. It’s a big if.
So. During Advent, a group of churches come together and do a Wednesday evening service followed by a soup supper. It’s at a different church each Wednesday, leading up to Christmas. I like the idea of this. I like for my kids to see how other people do things and to be forced to assimilate into new situations. I like the pomp of Advent and want to them to be clear on why we celebrate Christmas. I like to see the inside of other churches and meet new folks. I’ll be honest and say that I also don’t have to cook that night.
On this particular Wednesday we were at the Catholic church. It’s a beautiful church. They featured a wonderful local soprano and the service was brief and meaningful. Afterward we filed into the parish hall for supper. There were lots of soups....twenty or more. Max is a very good eater. He likes quantity and quality and his palette is quite refined. He finished his first bowl and got back in line to sample some more. I was still in line because that’s how it works for mothers. We fix everyone up and then finally, maybe, take care of ourselves. He’s standing beside me with his bowl and spoon. My friend Tracy is on the other side of him. We both have full hands. There are scores of little old Catholic women behind the table lording over the crockpots.
And this is where it all goes into slow motion in my mind.
He serves himself some soup. It looks to be cream of broccoli. He’s standing and waiting to get to the bread table and decides to take a bite of soup.
Something is not right. Something is very wrong, in fact. He heaves a little. Then he heaves a lot. He spits the soup back into his bowl, and spits in it yet again to clear it all out of his mouth. He does this all with such grandiosity of gagging and comotion that the whole room tunes in. And then.
We all see it coming, but are helpless to stop it. Tracy and I both scream, in chorus with everyone in eye shot.
He takes the bowl and slam dunks it BACK INTO THE CROCK POT.
A hush falls over the crowd.
A woman grabs the pot and yanks the chord and starts to huff away. The room is still quiet and Max is not done. Unfortunately, he likes public speaking.
“God! That was awful!” he turns and announces to the entire room.
So now he’s taken the Lord’s name in vain, insulted a little old lady, AND attempted germ warfare.
This is so not my child. Except that it is.
If there was ever a time for a ‘hail mary’ this was it, but I probably said something like ‘Holy. Shit.’ because that’s more my style.
We prepare our children for all sorts of situations. I had somehow missed the ‘what to do when you taste something bad in a group setting’ lesson. I thought it would fall into the common sense category, but what do I know? Not jack, in the grand scheme of things, and it’s a good thing to be reminded of.
You know me, I like to look on the bright side. I admired his conviction. He took swift and decisive action. He damn sure didn’t mince words. He was clear on his position. It was a full service learning experience for everyone present. Thank me later. After the furor died down, I found myself back at the table with Tracy and our bevy of hellions and, get this, a bowl of cream of broccoli soup.
I had to taste it.
He was right. It was unbelievably bad. Scorched, rancid, maybe decades in the freezer. Absolutely horrid. I made Tracy try it and she agreed, and that means it was REALLY REALLY bad, because she would eat a raccoon's butt hole if it were made available to her. She eats all sorts of weird crap, God love her. It was so bad.
We are going back tonight. In crime novels they say that the killer likes to return to scene of the crime. I get that now.
I’m crossing my fingers that I’m not gifted with another ‘learning experience’. Feel free to join us. Bring the kids. Spin the wheel.
Have some soup.