After a Torturous Wait
By Dean Worbois
The grownups had no sense at all come Christmas Eve. Or was it they just loved to torture little kids?
The torture didn’t begin until after a huge dinner was held at our house. Obscure aunts and uncles gathered. Uncle Jake always brought “special” candy bars that we were told had to be frozen before eating, so they went directly into the top part of the refrigerator. Cousins we barely knew showed up and it was fun to get under everyone’s feet, chasing and screaming with them. Tall people with strange odors milled about chatting, as if they owned the place. Then we were all called to dinner.
I was old enough to know that the big dinner table had been extended with extra leaves, although to me they looked like boards that matched the table. Even so, we kids often got shuffled to card tables. But there were times we would sit with the adults. I loved seeing all the colors and shapes of the food and the glasses and the plates and knives and spoons and forks. I remember the clink of metal on china and the big plates and bowls of redolent food that passed from right to left and sometimes from left to right. I heard odd stories from near-strangers who did different things than I had ever imagined—stories from farms and construction sites and offices. And it was a thrill to see these people listen when I blurted out my own tale of an interesting adventure.