When we got to Rex's parents' house, the three boys immediately rushed upstairs to put their backpacks in Jared's room. Rex's mother met us in the entryway and took my jacket. "Hello, Lynn," she said, "It's nice to see you again." Then she yelled up the staircase, "You boys come back down here. What is the meaning of rushing off like that without even saying hello? So anxious to get to your video games that you can't even be polite to an old lady?"
The boys came back downstairs. "Sorry Mom," said Jared. "These are some guys I know from school, Sam and Joe."
"We ran into them because Sam is my sister's fiance's little brother, and Joe is his cousin," I said.
"Small world," said Rex's mom. "Does that mean you knew Lynn's sister's fiance from school, Rex?"
"Um, I didn't know him that well since he wasn't in my grade, but I knew his two sisters. They were in the same grade as me, and they were in that play with me and Jill."
"That's nice," she said. "Well, supper's almost ready, you can go in the other room and set the table."
After this exchange, Jared noticed that he hadn't bothered to take off his jacket yet, so he took it of and laid it down on the table in the formal dining room.
We went into the kitchen and saw the humongous pot of chili bubbling on the stove and the corn bread in the oven. It smelled pretty good.
Rex got a stack of plates and bowls out of the cupboard and handed them to me. I started putting them around the long kitchen table. The table had benches along the sides instead of individual chairs in order to make it easier to fit as many people as possible. Even so, it would be quite a squeeze with nine people at the table.
When the table was set, Rex's mom told Jared to go call his father and sisters for dinner. Jared did as he was told.
<- previous page
Rex's dad came down and took his place at the head of the table, and Rex's two sisters took two seats at the far end of the table, one at the foot of the table and the other at the end of the bench against the wall. The three boys squeezed themselves onto the same bench with her, and Rex sat in the middle of the bench on the opposite side with me next to him. His mother came and put the food on the table and then took the last place on Rex's other side.
Of course we knew better than to touch the food before the prayer. As soon as everyone was seated and quiet, Rex's dad solemnly said, "Rex, would you like to say the blessing on the food?"
Rex looked at his dad as if he thought his dad was completely crazy and said "Dad, I've told you a million times I don't believe in God. Why do you keep insisting on calling on me for the prayer?"
Rex's dad seemed unfazed by this response. He turned to me and asked, "Lynn, would you like to say the blessing?"
"Dad!" Rex said, this time really annoyed. "Will you leave her alone? She gets enough of this kind of nonsense from her own family. She doesn't need to deal with more of it here."
At that Rex's dad looked as though he wasn't happy to have his authority as patriarch challenged. He turned to Jared and sternly said "Jared, would you like to set a good example for your older brother and say the blessing on the food?"
Jared got the hint that he'd better not disobey at this point, so he said okay and we all bowed our heads and folded our arms.
"Our Heavenly Father," Jared began. "We thank Thee that Rex and Lynn could have a safe journey to come here to visit us. We thank Thee for this food and ask Thee to please bless it to nourish and strengthen our bodies. We say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
next page ->