I Still Have a Penchant for Fancy Forks

At the ‘Writing from the Heart’ workshop I recently attended, we were given 20 minutes and a prompt.

One of them was “Dinner at our house was…”  Here’s what came out.

Dinner at our house was…

at the big round table
in the small dining room
golden colored, thick wood
housed within yellow, textured wallpaper

flatware silver
napkins paper
place mats thick and rubber

maybe we ate something like meatloaf
the red ketchup juicer in the middle
a little pile of Shaklee vitamins
in the corner of our place setting

Mom preferred the nonfat milk
a serving of thin, watery, bluish white
filling glasses that rarely emptied

somehow one fork – different from the rest
had made its way into our silverware drawer
with intricate designs embellished on the metal
Deemed “the fancy fork”
my brother, sister and I would call dibs
“I get the fancy fork!”

Dad – I don’t recall him much at mealtime
there are flashes of a coffee table set for one
late night and we are in pajamas
mom serving him in front of the television
us heading on towards bed

And Mom,
when did she eat?
always moving in the kitchen

These were the early years
before 11
in the old house tucked inside the orange grove
before divorce
before we moved to town

By high school, in the suburbs
Mom would say,
“Let’s eat together, it’s important”
but by then there were friends to see
we’d been snacking after school
cheese quesadillas
cinnamon toast crunch cereal
bowls of ice cream with Magic Shell

Mom working
three teenagers at home
just ignoring the crock pot with a chicken
set to warm

courtesy Kevin Dooley

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