Hi Society

My sister and her husband invited us to a very fancy Opimian Society
dinner held in the city one year. The Opimians are wine connoisseurs.
We are not. Just the thought of sipping nice wine and eating out somewhere
other than the local burger joint where children can eat and then whoop
and screech down whatever slides or tunnels thoughtful patrons might have
provided, brought a ray of sunshine streaking in to our world.
I believe we said something like “Yes. Thank you thank you thank
you. When?”
Seated at our oh-so-perfectly laid table on that oh-so- eagerlyawaited
evening the following week were my sister and her husband,
and an elderly couple whom we had never met.
The theme was Spanish, the meal was catered exquisitely, and the
wine was plentiful. While we sipped our Macabaeo- Parellada do Conca
de Barbera 1994, I chatted to the gentleman seated on my right who, it
turned out, owned a vineyard in Chile.
He was explaining the unique growing conditions in his area that
made his wine so very special when we were interrupted by a faint but
persistent ringing in my purse. I had wrestled with the thought of turning
it off so that I could enjoy a quiet evening, but settled instead with the
threat to our eldest, who was the designated baby sitter that night, that he
was not to phone unless there was a death, or at least a lot of blood involved.
Excusing myself from the conversation, I leaned back and answered
my phone. As I did so, I heard my sister politely explain,
“It’s one of her children. She has six you know.”
I listened as our son explained somewhat breathlessly that our dog,
Molly, had just trotted up with one of our chickens in her mouth. Since
both blood and death were involved, he figured he could call.
“Is it dead?” I asked. He replied that it most likely was. “Then pick
it up by the feet and smack Molly over the head with it a few times” I said
firmly, unaware of the sudden silence at the table beside me.
Alex protested that he couldn’t touch the dead bird.
“Use rubber gloves then” I said with determination, explaining as an
aside to my sister, “Seems Molly grabbed a chicken around the neck and
killed it.”images
After arguing with Alex that Molly needed to be disciplined for
her actions, our conversation was interrupted by his younger brother’s
breathless announcement; “The chicken just went buck buck”.
“Then put her back and lock the coop door,” I said.
Alex said some thing that was lost to me by the sound of children
yelling in the background. “Tell the children to be quiet.”
I pulled the phone from my ear as he delivered the directions in
no uncertain terms to his siblings. When the noise diminished slightly, he
repeated his question: could he round the chickens up with the baseball
Alex used the bat in the evening because he was nervous about the
possibility of a coyote seeking a free chicken dinner.
“Use the bat if you have to, but don’t hit any of them too hard,” I
sighed, unaware of the nervous glances beside me.
I signed off and calmly tucked into my paella, only to notice that no
one else was eating. In the silence that ensued, I paused. Perhaps an explanation
was in order here.
“It’s OK,” I said to my sister. “Apparently Molly only stunned
the bird. When Stanley tried to grab it with the gloves, it clucked and
took off.”
After a charged silence, the gentleman next to me said, “And
Molly would be…?”
“Her middle child” my sister cut in smoothly, as my husband
choked on his chorizo.
“My goodness” replied the elderly wife. “These new methods of
child rearing never fail to amaze me. You must have” she paused and
gave a fleeting look at her husband, and then finished “very unusual
I glanced at my sister, smiled thinly and said,
“Oh, you should meet my sister’s kids.”

4 responses to “Hi Society

  1. What a talent you have in re-telling the story. The one-sided-overheard-conversation is a classic, and this is so good I think you could sell it to Monty Python.

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