I missed last week, because I was away on vacation, and just didn’t get time to think of a tale for the prompt. This week’s prompt caught my imagination right away, and I’ve been mulling this over for 4 days already. This tale is based on a story a friend told us once.
We sat around the campfire at our annual family trip, laughing, talking, vying for the best story.
These trips had only begun after our parents were already gone, and our children mostly grown. Eight of us, so scattered that it had at times been years between visits for some of us, as we all focused on making a living and raising our children. But now, we wouldn’t miss this for anything.
We gathered for these few precious days each summer, Jimbo, Suz, Fritz, Lindy, Mack, Mo, Biff, and me, Kit, along with our spouses, and sometimes a few of our children, although they were mostly in the phase of busyness that comes with raising families themselves and often weren’t able to make it.
Spouses and children endured the tales of chores and school teachers, piano lessons and baseball games, toboggan runs and the swimming hole, camping trips, town fairs, 4H, weddings and funerals. This particular evening the reminiscing had somehow turned to various spats we’d had.
One common memory was Mom’s dish-cloth, that settled most arguments with just a flick of her wrist. Oh, but she was good at that – getting a bare arm or leg just right with a sting that stopped angry, whiny words immediately. She always said, ‘You kids get along now, someday you might not have each other around.’
Jimbo and Fritz recalled their fist-fight over a girl – Sandra or something like that, neither could remember her name, but they got into it in the barn, each apparently claiming she liked him best.
Lindy and I both claimed that it was the other one who would never turn out the light at night for wanting to read ‘just one more page’.
We all fought over who got to practice piano last – interesting that now most of us contributed to the music ministry in our churches.
Suz and Lindy both hated to dry dishes, and always managed to waste time trying to decide who should take on that dreaded task when it was their turn to clean up the kitchen.
Mack recalled the time Biff was mad at him – neither knew why any longer – and Biff picked up a handful of peas to ‘pass’ and threw them down the table. The food fight that ensued was one of the best (Mom and Dad weren’t home that evening).
The laughter had just died down after that story, and we were all just gazing into the fire, when Mo’s voice broke into our thoughts. Quiet, mousey, little Mo, twin to Mack, third youngest, most often found with her nose in a book, usually got kind of lost in the boisterous shuffle of our large family. What she said really startled us, as much because she said it, as for what she said.
‘I don’t know why you all bothered to fight so much. Whenever I was mad at one, or all, of you, I’d simply go to the bathroom and swish your toothbrush in the toilet.’
Go to Magpie Tales for more stories and poems.