Survivors of the Z’s- Cal Moore, Ashford City, California
It was thanksgiving
And the whole family were round.
The table was piled up with food and the flavours caused your senses to twitch. It was heaven as I looked around at my uncles and aunties and cousins.
The jokes pouring in from different people.
Some not so great
But they were still funny
It was a night that was a permanent stamp in your memory as relatives from far and wide visited.
I sat next to my cousin David. He was a little older than me. I was twelve at the time and he was fifteen. I looked up to him. He was the cool one. The one I wanted to be like. Because I didn’t have any siblings of my own. He just fit the description of an older brother.
We were hosting it that year and my parents had gone through hell to get everything sorted
And in the end
It was all worth it
Because when the day came and all of our relatives came piling in from far and wide. Some from Iowa. Some from New York. Some from Oregon and some from Florida.
The time we had spent on setting things up was well spent.
David was from Florida so it was very rare that I saw him and when I did. He looked cooler everytime.
“How’s baseball, David?” I asked
“Great,” he told, “we’re unbeaten so far, coach said I’ve gotten better in my pitching”
“Thats awesome,” I said, “so, do you think you’ll ever be professional?”
“I hope so,” he told, “its what I wanna do, I don’t wanna do anything else”
“Wish I was good at baseball,” I said
“I could teach you how to pitch?” He said, “see how good you can get”
“That would be awesome!” I said, “lets do it”
“Great, I’m pretty good at teaching this stuff”
“Thanks David!” I said
“No probz Cal”
My dad suddenly stood up and he tapped his glass with a spoon. All went silent.
“Its time for the annual daddy joke off, remember, it’s gotta be about Thanksgiving, nothing else,” he explained, “I will go first and if nobody laughs, I will not be happy,” he stared seriously and smiled after, “only messing, if its shit you can throw something at me”
“I don’t like this chair its a little wabbly, can I throw this at you?” My auntie asked at the other end.
We all laughed and so did my dad, “If its that, crap” my mom said, “we will all do it”
Dad put his hands up, “all the dads will have their turns to tell a joke, this year, as I am hosting, I’ve decided there’ll be a forfit”
“Oh crap,” Uncle Frank said, he was my mother’s older brother, “leave the TV out of it”
“What, because you’d rather watch your sports than spend time with me?” Auntie Karen said
“You bet,” Frank winked
“TV it is!” Dad shouted
“What, no!” Frank begged
“Should’ve kept your mouth shut, Frank,” Dad said
“Damn it ” said Frank, “no wonder why I’m so good at my job, I have the biggest mouth”
“Lets hear it then Uncle Jeffery!” David said
“Ok,” Dad started, “What happened when the ermmm, one second…”
“Well that was terrible,” an auntie said
“Ah, here we go, I remember now,” he said, “What happened when the turkey got into a fight?”
“What happened?” A few asked
“He got the stuffing knocked out of him!”
Some of us rolled our eyes
Some played with their food
And some giggle at how shitty the joke was.
Dad stood there and listened, but nobody laughed, “come on, nobody thought that was funny?” He asked
“Ok, judges?” uncle Frank said
“Terrible,” an auntie said, “I thought the performance lact confidence”
“Wow, you are all taking this a lot more seriously this year,” Dad said
“It would’ve been better if he didn’t forget the joke,” I said
He looked at me, “thanks son”
“Yeah,” David said, “that kinda sucked Uncle Jeffery”
“Wow, thanks you little shit,” he said to David, “don’t expect anything for your birthday next year,” he pointed at me
He winked at us both and smiled. Next to tell a joke was Uncle Calvin. He was Dad’s older brother. The two always joked and messed around when they were together. They never stopped. They also argued a lot as well. Looking at them made me wish
That I had an older or younger brother or sister of my my own.
“Watch, listen and learn little brother,” Uncle Calvin told , “Can a turkey jump higher than the Empire State Building?” He asked
“Yes,” Dad said
“Why can it?” Uncle Calvin asked
“Well brother,” he said, “because, maybe a building cannot jump”
“Is that the joke, Calv?” Frank asked
“Yeah,” he answered
“Well that was dissapointing,” Frank said, “judges?”
“That was awful, no way near as good as last year,” Calvin’s wife, Maya said.
Everybody gave their verdicts and he sat down.
“You’re right little brother,” he said, “tough crowd”
“Told you,” Dad said
The other five uncles had gotten their turns and the one that won was Uncle Frank.
“Thank you, thank you everybody,” he said, he looked at the others and my Dad, “we will let the women decide”
“Shall we say,” mom said, “no TV for a week, girls?”
“Yeaaaah,” the aunties agreed
“The big games on tomorrow,” Uncle Calvin said
“You can’t do this to us,” dad said
The other Uncles couldn’t believe it either.
“Yes we can,” Mom said, “you can spend time with me”
“Well boys,” Uncle Frank said, “I’ll be thinking of ya when I’m watching the game”
All the uncles looked dissapointed. Accept for Frank of course. Then the laughs began to flow once more. All my cousins, aunties and uncles, shared stories of what had happened in the past year since we last saw them. What did they have planned for next year? My cousins spoke of what they hoped to do when they were older.
One hoped to be a singer
One hoped to be an actress
One hoped to be a baseball player
One hoped to be a police officer
And one hoped to take over his mother’s business
One by one they shared their hopes for their futures.
Then their was me
I didn’t really know what i wanted to do. I guess I was still finding myself.
It was time for everybody to leave and David and I spoke before he left.
“Next time you come to visit, I’ll teach you how to pitch,” he said
“Thanks David,” I said
All the goodbyes were said
All the kisses and hugs were given from everyone and now the house was quiet once more.
We all walked into the living room and crashed on to the sofa.
“I am exhausted,” Dad said
“Me to,” Mom said
“Me three,” I spoke
“Was great seeing everybody again though,” Dad mentioned
“Yeah, till next year,” Mom said