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Good Food & Friends




Good Food and Strange Friends

Good Food and Strange Friends

“Herbert the food is done,” came the nagging voice of a woman from out of the kitchen. “Bring the boys in so we can eat it while it’s hot. Herbert! Did you here what I said, get the boys!”

The middle-aged man sitting in a soft reclining chair sighed deeply, irritably regretting the day that he married his wife, Cecile. His only haven was the living room—when she wasn’t in it of course—sitting on the couch watching television and drinking apple cider. With another deep sigh, he got up from his chair and walked over to the door that led to their back yard.

“Boys, your mother says its time to come in for dinner; hurry it up.” After which Herbert burped loudly and returned towards his comfortable seat.

“Don’t you dare sit down Herbert Preston, get in here and have a seat and wait for the boys, and don’t you dare even give me a lick of trouble. Ya hear.” Cecile barked as she squinted around the corner with her thick rimmed glasses that made her resemble more of a toad than a woman.

“Alright, Cecile, you don’t have to get all huffy about it.” Herbert said nervously as he approached the dining room passing the corner where his wife was standing.

“You ain’t seen me huffy yet, Herbert! And I know that once you sit down in that chair of yours that it’ll take a pry bar with grease to get you up out of it. You come over here right now and take your seat at the head of table and be a good example for your boys.”

“Alright, alright just stop talking to me.” Herbert said exasperatedly as he took his seat sluggishly as if it was painful to sit down.

“Now you just set there until I get the food ready and try not to fall asleep.” Cecile was saying when she heard the back door screech open and the two young boys tromp in. “Its about time you lazy things got in here, now wash up and be quick about it.”

“Yes ma’am,” both of the boys replied in a shamefully with their heads down as if they had been the cause of a great misfortune, but they rushed to the bathroom and washed up faster than one would of thought possible for a twelve and fourteen year old. After thoroughly washing and drying themselves, they walked slowly back to the dining room and carefully took a seat at the table so as not to disturb any of “Momma’s” wonderful masterpiece that she had laid out across the table.

Herbert and the boys sat at the table quietly, breathing softly while staring down at their plates waiting for “Momma” to return with the steaks. Moment by moment, the silence just continued with the clock silently ticking in the background…‘tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock’… then finally the clock struck six o’clock and the tiny yellow little bird came out and went…‘cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo’ before returning inside of the clock. Momma then promptly came out of the kitchen bringing with her a steaming plate of hot juicy steaks, at which all of the men perked up at.

Cecile set the plate neatly and gently down right in the middle of the table, after which she folded her apron and laid it all perfect like on its usual place next to her stack of ancient cooking magazines. Like a routine exactly timed to perfection, she sat down gracefully and folded her hands in front of her and looked at her husband sweetly.

“Dear will you please ask the Lord to bless the food that has been so marvelously prepared for us?” Cecile said with such sweetness that it seemed like she had just left a candy shop having consumed many sweet treats. Herbert at first was apprehensive and appeared to almost object, but Cecile then glared at him in her penetrating gaze, still smiling, and he let his shoulders slump down and folded his hands as well at which time the boys took as their cues to do likewise.

“Dear Father who’d art in heaven, hallowed be’d thy name. Thy…will is done as here art it is art done in Heaven. Give us your bread as we…enter not into evil but ask…for thou will to be done…again as we forgive those who…trep’ass again us. Leads us not into temptin, but give us freedom. Amen.” Herbert finished as he wiped the sweat from across his forehead.

“Amen,” the boys and Cecile said which she then took a steak and passed it to one of the boys who carefully took hold of the plate and gently set a steak on his plate using the tongs. He then passed it onto his father and so thus the food was passed around the table; the succulent green beans dripping with butter, the creamy white mashed potatoes with swiss cheese, and the steaming french bread melting with butter.

Once all of the food was sent around the table everyone ate silently.

Each person stared at their plate quietly crunching away. That was until everyone heard the sound of footsteps approaching the door followed by the slow rise of voices. The entire family looked up from their plates and at each other, as if making confirmation that everyone was hearing the same thing. Voices laughing could then be heard and before anyone could rise from their seats the door swung open and in walked two men dressed in tan slacks, white polo shirts, and jackets. The two women with them wore heels, evening dresses of light blue and champagne with shawls covering them.

Then men took their jackets off and helped the ladies’ with theirs, all four of them still laughing and chattering up a storm. One of the men then put all of the “wraps” and hung them up in the closest closet. The other man then grabbed a couple of chairs and set them beside each of the boys, at which the ladies say down, while the taller of the two men had taken some chairs out of the living room and set one of them next to Herbert and the other to Cecile; the two men than sat down.

Both Herbert and the boys were shocked at what was happening, but they looked to Mamma, who was sitting thunderstruck not saying a word. The boys felt particularly uncomfortable around the young looking women, but did nothing as they noticed Mamma did nothing. Herbert wanted to say something, but he waited for Cecile to say something first. Cecile began to speak several times, but she couldn’t quite get any sound out of her mouth, which made her face only get more red and angry looking.

Still laughing hysterically, the two ladies began passing the food, and that’s when one of the men noticed that they didn’t have any plates or silverware to eat off of, all four of them laughed hysterically about it as the man nearest to Cecile arose from his chair and retrieved some eating implements for their party. While the other three waited they made comments about how good the food smelled and how tasty it appeared, just when it seemed like they were going to eat out of the dishes that the food was in the man returned with plates and silverware and dispersed them to his friends.

During the course of all of this, Cecile continued her speechless demeanor and was appalled at the apparent rudeness of these uninvited guests. She sat in her chair with her mouth open, her face turning beet red, about ready to scream her head off but nothing would come out. The men sat there sheepishly and stunned, and seeing that momma wasn’t doing anything, neither did they. The silent dining room had turned into a rabble rouser of laughter and ridiculous conversation.

By now the uninvited guests had passed all of the food around and were eating it while speaking, making Cecile blanch and shake her head in disgust. Even though she was furious at these people for barging into her beautiful and orderly house, she appeared more upset at their apparent disregard for table manners and propriety. Her carefully placed table spread had become chaotic with dishes bumping into each other and potatoes splattered here and there. The decorum at which she was most prideful about was moment by moment deteriorating and the more it deteriorated the more red her face became.

With one last low belch the guests were done, but that then encouraged a belching game between the two men while the women laughed and made jabbing jokes as they watched them. Of course Cecile was mortified and plugged her ears at this turn of events, while the boys looked on with great mystery; they had never heard someone burp before and they were profoundly taken aback. Herbert even though he was becoming more relaxed inside, did not wish to show anything just in case Cecile exploded at any moment and yelled at him for putting a toe out of place.

Eventually one of the men looked at his wrist watch and said that it was time for them to leave. Sighing the four strangers picked themselves up, stuffed with all of the scrumptious food, and walked to the front door. The men draped the shawls over the women and grabbed their jackets and in a matter of seconds they were out the door still laughing and smiling about the night’s events. Slowly their voices and steps tapered off until there was once again the perfect silence that had existed before their intrusion.

The boys gazed at the messy table, and then risked a glance at their mother who was redder than they had ever seen her. Herbert, who was staring absentmindedly at the center of the table, didn’t even bother looking at his wife who was now slowly standing up shaking. She then started breathing harder, and harder, and harder followed by grunts, and slowly escalating into hysteric screaming at which point she fell down on the kitchen floor dead.

The boys looked at their prone mother laying on the shiny white floor who’s eyes were emptily gazing towards the ceiling. They then looked at their father sighed taking his eyes off the center of the table, regarding each of them with a vacant expression.

“So, who would like to watch some sports?”