When Mom arrived home from work the table was set, the meat loaf was about ready to come out of the oven, the potatoes were cooked, and the green beans were ready. In fact, I went so far as to thaw some strawberries and bake biscuits for strawberry short cake.
Mom looked at me suspiciously.
The food was brought to the table. I really felt like we should all join hands and say grace (something we never did).
I even sat at the table.
Mom knew something had to be up, because I never sat at the table. I wasn’t being rude, but my uncle Bob’s eating habits were abominable. He smacked, slurped, and chomped like a raccoon gnawing it’s leg from a trap. I think he did it just to rid me from the table.
Mom demanded I eat at the table, but I said not without earmuffs or I sit and not eat. I told Mom I should not be compelled to eat in his presence. Mom thus allowed me to fill my plate and eat in front of the TV.
This night was different. I sat quietly as Uncle Bob smacked, slurped, and chomped his way to culinary oblivion.
Suddenly, as if by cue, Mom asked me, “Did you feed the dog the rest of the Kal Kan?”
“Oh no, Mom,” I said like Eddie Haskel. “I had my hands full just preparing supper.”
“Jack,” Mom said to my Dad. “Did you?”
“No,” Dad said.
“Bob, did you?”
I thought I was going to blow mashed potatoes through my nose. I restrained my laughter, but not my radiance.
“Not me,” Uncle Bob said with his mouth cramped with food.
“That’s funny,” Mom said. “I left a half can of dog food in the refrigerator and now it’s gone.”
“Hmm,” I said like Rod Serling. “That is strange.”
Uncle Bob paused. The brain synapses were firing and on overload. “Was it in a Tupperware container?”
“Yes,” Mom said.
“Oh, I thought that was sandwich spread,” Uncle Bob said. “I put it on bread with mustard and it was good.”
“Didn’t you eat some straight with a spoon,” I said and looked at Mom.
“Yeah,” Uncle Bob said with a hint of embarrassment. “But that didn’t taste so bad either.”
“Well from now on,” I said. “If somebody says you like dog food sandwiches I’ll call them a liar, because you like it without bread.”
Mom blew mashed potatoes from her nose (not really, but she did choke).
I helped Mom with dishes that night.
“You set this all up, didn’t you?” Mom said.
“Yeah, but it would have been impossible without a willing accomplice.”