I looked around at everyone seated at our kitchen table. Normally crowded with the nine members of our family, today we were wedged together like sardines with our guests. The chicken Mom had made was so tender that it fell off the bones and melted in my mouth. Mashed potatoes, rich with butter and tender green beans kept me busy and quiet. Finishing the last bite, I considered licking my plate, but somehow knew Mom wouldn’t like that. It was hard being eight years old, the youngest of a large family.
Earlier in the week Mom had said, “It’s my brother Bushwa’s birthday on Sunday. I’ll make sure he and Augie come for dinner. They don’t know that our sister Tressie and Art will be here, too. I’m going to make a very special meal with a birthday cake for dessert.”
Excited, I thought about what Mom had said. Bushwa and Augie were bachelor uncles who dropped by for weekly visits and a meal. Tressie was my aunt whom I loved. Art was her husband. I was a little afraid of him. He had white hair and a florid face, especially when he talked politics. They lived in far northern Wisconsin, so we didn’t see them often. Continue reading