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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tonight’s dinner was a little different than the usual Worley evening meal. Earlier in the afternoon Cole and Nikki decided to put names in a black Harley baseball cap. Each member of the family was to draw out one of the tightly rolled slivers of paper with a family member’s name scrawled on it in blue ink. The name that you pulled from the hat was who you were going to act like at the dinner table.
Jeff, who was reluctant to play, was lucky enough to draw his own name and was able to sit in his regular spot at the head of the table. Jeff took his place and shook his head in disbelief at what his family was about to do. Cole drew Michael’s name. Nikki and Jeremiah drew each other’s names and Joshua and I did the same. I drew in a deep breath and sighed. I had the most difficult and challenging role. If I didn’t know better I would think that Cole and Nikki set me up!
You could see ideas formulating behind mischievous eyes and giggles were prevalent. The table was set with the night’s meal of tacos and all of the accompaniments. It started off rather quiet, everyone was still a little unsure of how to begin. As each item was passed around the table you could feel the confidence growing and laughter was beginning to erupt.
Nikki started the game off by making disgusting “boy noises” with non-stop giggling just like Jeremiah does. Jeremiah immediately put one ear phone in his ear and played with Nikki’s iPod. Cole sat slumped over his plate eating without saying a word. While Joshua was talking about not being hungry because he had just had a protein shake. I was trying to think of what to do for him.
I raised my voice and started in “WE MADE PEANUT BRITTLE IN CHEMISTRY TODAY (no, there is no punctuation because Joshua doesn’t seem to breathe when he speaks) WHY DO YOU THINK THAT WE WOULD HAVE TO DO THAT IT’S STUPID SOME OF THE PEOPLE BURNED THEIRS SINCE THEY DIDN’T STIR IT….”
“Boy, lower your voice,” Jeff quietly said to me while trying not to laugh. I knew that I couldn’t stop. Joshua never stops. He talks, loudly, though out the entire meal. He repeats himself and controls every fraction of the conversation that he can.
“I DID CIRCUIT TRAINING IN GYM TODAY AND THEN AFTERWARD I HAD TO PLAY BASKETBALL I DON’T KNOW HOW TO THROW A BASKET BALL SO I LEFT AND BENCH PRESSED I’M SURPRISED THAT I COULD EVEN BENCH PRESS AFTERR CIRCUIT TRAINING I COULDN’T EVEN DO A PUSH UP……” Oh my throat was beginning to get sore. I didn’t know if I could keep it up.
“Joshua, be quiet. Do you see how much other people are talking? Can you see that you’re taking over the entire conversation?” Joshua recited exactly what he has heard me ask him every night for years at dinner.
I shoved one half of a taco into my mouth. Sour cream, tomatoes and taco meat were dripping from my chin. I chewed once and then shoved the other half in. “How the hell does the kid eat like this?” I was thinking. The other kids were laughing and I thought that Jeff was going to have a heart attack. He had that laugh of his going on, the one where he doesn’t breathe. I kept one eye on Jeff and the other eye on the next taco. I hope I wasn’t going to puke up the entire mess.
“Joshua, have manners! Quit eating like a caveman!” Once again Joshua was parroting what I’ve said forever.
Jeremiah was giggling, Nikki was laughing and Cole was slumped over his plate quietly eating.
“Remember Michael”, said Jeremiah as Nikki, “when dad choked on that toothpick on the train at Disneyland and you tried to jump out of the window?” Everyone was laughing. Cole, as Michael was scowling. “And remember when those bugs were all over Jakob in the car and you climbed out of that window too?” Jeremiah snickered.
“WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO QUIT TALKING ABOUT THAT?” Cole barked as he channeled Michael. He then punched Jeremiah in the arm. Everyone was laughing and getting in to what Jeff and I thought would be a lame experiment on family relations.
“MOM OH NEVERMIND I WAS GOING TOASK YOU A QUESTION BUT I KNOW WHAT THE ANSWER WILL BE SO I WONT…” man, my throat was getting worse.
“If you know the answers don’t ask the question” Joshua calmly said.
“SORRY MOM I’M SORRY I WON’T ASK BUT MAYBE I SHOULD I KNOW YOU’D SAY NO”
“Then leave it at that.”
“OK I’M SORRY MOM DID YOU KNOW THAT ANACONDAS CAN EAT PIGS?”
Joshua nearly fell out of his chair laughing. The anaconda story is one that Joshua is famous for. He’ll go on for hours if he isn’t stopped.
Nikki decided that since no one was acting like Cole that she would take on the part. She grabbed a crutch, hopped across the kitchen and on to the back deck to simulate smoking a cigarette. No sooner had she stepped foot on the deck Jeremiah shut the door and locked it. Cole shook his head. “See, I told you they do that to me” he said chuckling.
Looking out of the window Nikki was making stupid faces at the kids that were watching her stand out in the rain on the deck. “Hey”, Jeremiah blurted out, “that’s just like Cole does!”
She knocked on the door, they let her in and she hopped across the floor on one foot and one crutch, tripped and fell to the floor.
By this time everyone was worn out by trying to be their brother, sister, mother or son. It quieted some and I decided that I had one last Joshua left in me. “MAY I BE EXCUSED PLEASE?”
Jeff nodded his head yes and I got up from the table, walked on my tiptoes to the trash compactor to empty my plate. I tiptoed to the sink and rinsed my plate. Then I tiptoed back to the table with my arms straight by my side not moving. Joshua recognized his walk and was roaring. I then sat back in Joshua’s seat and stuck a finger up my nose. Jeremiah gagged, Cole shook his head and Joshua said “I SORRY MOM”.
The night was complete. The kids were amazed at how well everyone played out one another and the night ended with smiles and a new look at ourselves.
As I left the table I heard Nikki and Cole talking conspiring to do this little game again with the entire family. Oh I can’t wait for that one!

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