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Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Potato Salad Payoff

Talk about blended families. Our family tree has more exes than a Tic Tac Toe tournament. At 2:00 in the afternoon on holiday weekends all the children automatically rotate parents from force of habit. This weekend I found myself seated at dinner next to an entertaining young man who was engaged in a fork joust in an effort to to keep his creamed corn from touching his potato salad.

“Well, hello.” I’m nothing if not a sparkling conversationalist.

The fork executed a remarkable thrust and parry to save yet another food item from corn domination. “Yo.”

Limited verbal motivation. Uncombed hair. Aversion to cohabitation of vegetables. I hate that nagging feeling that you’ve seen someone before and can’t remember where.

“And who do you belong to?” I really should write this stuff down.

“You. I’m your first-born male child. I inherit your kingdom, such as it is.”

“What’s your name?”

“You told me not to tell anybody that doesn’t say the code word.”

“What’s the code word?”

“Nice trick. You warned me you might try that.”

I liked him better when he was poking holes in the entrée.

I squinted critically and turned his face side to side with my palm. “You don’t look like me.”

“Yet one more thing to be thankful for.”

I paused to consider. Wit coupled with a side order of sarcasm. A single sterling family trait does not make him an heir to my fortune in frozen Girl Scout cookies and unrecycled grocery bags.

“So what’s your name?”

“Nice try, Mom.”

“If I’m your Mom, tell me something personal that only I would know.”

“You hide leftover Easter candy in your underwear drawer, you can’t reach the Tupperware bowls on the second shelf, and you cry during the end of Secondhand Lions whether you see the first half of the movie or not.”

A few lucky guesses does not equal a DNA match.

“And what happened on Friday,” I queried, conjuring up memories of Family Scrabble Night.

He swallowed the last bite of uncontaminated potato salad and guzzled a half gallon of iced tea without stopping for breath. “Friday was allowance day. You owe me five dollars.”

Anybody with that kind of money memory has my blood in his veins.

Now how can I get him to tell me the family password? Maybe I can buy a vowel.

5 comments:

Carolyn Erickson said...

Very clever. You just wish you couldn't remember him. ;)

And I love the new pic!

the Bag Lady said...

The new photo is great! And love your stories, even if the Bag Lady doesn't always comment. Some days, you are just too sharp for the Bag Lady...(ha, that should read, 'most days...') and rather than make herself look stupid, she just doesn't say anything. (seem to recall mother saying something like that...)

Amy Mullis said...

Two of my favorite folks were here today! (Bag Lady, you don't fool me. I check your blog; you're not lacking for wit!) And thanks, ladies, for the kudos on the new pic. Hubby was trying out his new birthday camera on a day trip to Charleston and it was either pose or be surprised by sudden Kodak Moments!

Melanie Avila said...

Great picture!

Dawn said...

Too funny!! I loved, 'more exes than a tic-tac toe tournament.' You are just amazing. HOW do you come up with this stuff???