BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
WAIT UNTIL THE COFFEE’S POURED
For holiday meals, the same rules apply
All families have them, there is good reason why.
Wash your hands before sitting, keep elbows off the table
Children should be seen not heard,
Don’t call your cousin a nerd.
Don’t complain because the kitchen swelters.
And whatever you do — don’t interrupt your elders.
No slurping, burping, or passing gas
If you need something, ask someone to pass.
It was Thanksgiving, I was about fourteen, and of course my two obnoxious (male) cousins were there, as well as three female cousins. It was the usual huge family celebration with both my Mother’s and Dad’s parents and siblings, and their husbands, wives, and their children.
A meal that took more than a day to prepare was usually over in about an hour.
This time it was cut short. I didn’t ask someone to pass and I reached for the olives.
At the same moment that I reached, someone was pouring (boiling) coffee into a cup.
My arm (of course) was between the cup and the coffee—that’s why you always ask someone to pass.
I guess I screamed, I really don’t remember that, or the rest of the day. I was wearing a wool sweater; someone pulled it off—along with most of the skin on my arm. I guess my Dad and Mom took me to the hospital, and I had to spend several days there.
I suppose the party went on without me, I’m sure the whole group didn’t go to the hospital.
I do remember weeks, or months, of returning to the hospital to have the dressing taken off, the burnt skin debraided, and a new dressing applied. I was in a lot of pain for a long time, but I was grafted and I don’t have much of a scar.
Also, I do remember the smell of my burnt skin. People always say it’s an awful smell—maybe I was just hungry, but I thought it smelled pretty good. YUK!