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Laying my head back, eyes closing,
reminiscing, the years falling away into decades ago
to the 1950s at my grandparent's grand home
It was a gracious dining room.
Noontime sun streaming in.
Chair rail with deep red wallpaper, white trim.
Decorating the lace clothed "Big Table"
was a tallish 1870s porcelain Meissen fruit centerpiece
with lovers circling the stem.
Even the adults had to look around it.
Grandmother "Lil" and "Mister B"
were at their nouveau best.
All their progeny seated in good form
awaiting the traditional invocation by "Mister B".
Also seated were the ones that were to be
"Seen but not heard" at our side table, the "Kids' Table".
Draped card tables for the dozen of us -
me, my brother and sisters and cousins.
Everyone all scrubbed in dresses and ties.
Mine was a clip on.
As expected, a milk glass got tipped. Split milk.
Besides that, we kids had great fun and
became friends again as we did each year.
The thing of it was, none of us liked
being at the "Kids' Table".
We felt lesser, unworthy, subtly so.
Even when I was ten, I knew there were
only two ways to get to the big one:
marriage or go in the army.
We all wondered what it was like to be adult.
After all, most of them smoked.
They all had drinks.
The women had figures, swishy swirls.
The men wore suits like they knew how.
At the "Big Table" they all talked like experts
about stuff we didn't understand
and they laughed loudly at Uncle Bob's jokes.
As the years moved on, things would change,
I saw virtually all my cousins
disassemble their lives too early -
marriages, divorces, addictions, lost jobs, left school -
beleaguered into inevitable submission.
My family miraculously unscathed.
But they're all gone now,
"Big Table" and little table too.
All that's left from the 50s
is my brother, sister and me.
For years, I was at the "Big Table" since my brood and I
took over the Christmas tradition.
The "Big Table" conversation was
superficial and posing was prevalent.
So one year, I put myself at the "Kids' Table". Just for fun.
Yes, milk got tipped.
But oh, the wonderment and hope. A meal that truly was
food for the soul.
Now that I'm old and looking back,
with a quiet smile, mulling it,
I kinda liked the "Kids' Table" better.
Writing Challenge - December 2019 - I Want Christmas Poems
Sponsor, Dear Heart - Wiishkobe Ode
Copyright © Greg Gaul | Year Posted 2018
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