11.27.2014 Journal Prompt

Image from Mad Men
Image from Mad Men

November 27, 2014: It was for show.

6 Replies to “11.27.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. Billy sit still!” Janey’s hand poked me in the leg under the tablecloth so no one could see.
    The smell of turkey and stuffing filled the room and was all I knew for sure.
    “Sit still we gotta wait for the camera to click!” she said.
    A Nikon on a tripod with a self-timer and flash. Dad got it for hisself for Fathers Day and had been taking these stupid photos ever since. We never knew when he would wan’ us to freeze up for the camera.
    “Mom when can we eat. I’m hungry” little Joey sitting next to Mom. He was always whining about somethin’.
    “Joey be quiet we want to get this over with” Sis glared at him.
    So here we were sitting in this silly frozen pose waiting for the click of the camera and the flash. Starving.
    “Finally” Jane said in her big sister voice with the click-flash of the Nikon.
    Mom stirred for a moment looking at sis with her tired voice: “It’s ok kids give dad a few minutes.” We all squirmed in our chairs knowing that we were finally off camera.
    “It was all for show” Janey announced after it was over. She could get away with saying stuff with Dad standing there. He didn’t even look up.
    But Mom came back at her with “It’s Thanksgiving, Missy. Settle down. Let’s think about what we are all thankful for.”
    Every Thanksgiving it was the same: get all dressed up and visit grandma and grandpa for lunch at their senior apartment. Then home to have another dinner with just us together. Never understood why. This year we had even decorated the dining room.
    Maybe sis was right. Maybe it was all for show. Maybe Dad just wanted to show off his pictures to grandma or his boss or who knows?
    Sis the oldest; the family reporter. Somehow she always knew what was going on.
    But tonight turned out different.
    Dad looked up finally. Now that the camera had clicked he ended his pose with the carving knife.
    “Give me a few minutes kids I’ve got some news for us” as he served the last portions. Even I could see the worry lines in his face get deeper than usual as he kept carving.
    “Tell us tell us” We all chimed in o’ course. But dad continued carving till the last bone stood out from the pile on the plate. Finally these words. Slowly.
    “This is our last Thanksgiving dinner in this house.”
    There was a silence. Seemed to last forever. Mother stifled a funny sounding cough.
    “The company is moving me to Chicago. Soon. I have to be there working at my desk by January.”
    And then the bomb: “We’ll all be moving to Evanston next month. Mom and I will be looking at houses there and it will all be fine.”
    After that it all went kinda crazy. Mom picked up her napkin and dabbed at her eyes. Sis started crying about missing her friends. Little Joey got into it whining that he didn’t have his food yet. He never understood nothing.
    And I wondered what was gonna happen to my Christmas. How was I gonna get all my presents?
    Sis usually had stuff all figured out but I guess she missed this one. That was the last photo of all of us at our old house. Dad was right. It was news. It wasn’t all for show.

  2. All the stuff ya gotta be grateful for, that’s what ya needs be thinkin. Not down in yer misery and considerin the end of all things. There ain’t no good or God in that. Ya gotta look for the worth in everythin and give thanks for what ya has. If’n ya do that, then jes maybes the world will be a better place for ya.

    I got me a girl, see. She ain’t much to look at. She don’t turn heads in no street and she’s older than me by a more years than may be counted on two hands, and crooked she is, too. Her name’s just Lou which is short for Louise – she ain’t got no other name that I knows of. Me and Lou, we ain’t exactly married, not with a ring or a bit of paper sayin I belong a her and she belongs a me. We just rub along as we is, ya know. And I’m a whole heap grateful for that.

    Before Lou there was just me rattlin ‘round in this big old house that my daddy left me when he died. I was allus just wanderin from one room to the next and all the rooms empty and cold and quiet. Then one day, and it was wet and the sky was grey as ash and the air tasted of metal or blood, and Lou come knockin. She was down on her luck, see, which in a way I was, too, and she wanted somethin to eat and maybe somethin to drink. I ran her a hot bath and fixed her up best I could with a meal. It was sorta nice hearin her singin through the wall – she leaves the door open these days and she allus sings in the bath, her voice a little cracked maybe, but singin all the same. I’m grateful for that, too.

    Yes, so I got this house, which is a roof over my head and over Lou’s. And I got me a little money in the bank, enough I can meet the bills. And I got a job sweepin up at Bin’s Bar, after hours on account of my coughin all the time, and washin glasses and emptyin ashtrays. Old man Cobb, he runs the bar, and he sends me home once a week with some bottled beer and a quarter of bourbon. He says whisky and lemon is good for what ails me and he says he’ll take the price of the bourbon outta my wages, but he don’t never and you gotta be grateful for that.

    Sundays, I dress me up neat. I wear a suit that was my daddy’s first – it smells of him still. And Lou she wears a dress that is as white as clouds, and we both of us go to church for some singin and some prayin and givin thanks. Like I said before, we ain’t exactly married, but I reckon in the eyes of God we is. The minister, he don’t say nothin agin us livin together, and he blesses us most every Sunday in life and he says he hopes and prays my coughin is a little better.

    And at the end of each day I count my blessins, all of ‘em, and I tell Lou she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. She jes laughs and she kisses me like she means it and she says I is the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Ya gotta be grateful for that. We kneels together by the bed and we give us thanks to God. Then we just climb in together and fall soft into sleep.

    1. Thanks for your review. Helps.
      Love your impressions, use of voice. Will keep at it. Maybe once a week we’ll see. Back and forth. All the stuff we gotta be grateful for…

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