Kevin guffawed and Mike cuffed Len on the back of the head which led to Len giving him an enthusiastic punch back. Mike reeled back, knocking over Kevin’s beer. Kevin jumped up, swearing and Mike and Len roared with laughter.
I looked up and saw a row of small nieces and nephews, eyes wide, staring.
I stared in turn at my mother. What had she been thinking?
Ever the good hostess, my mother sprang into action, mopping up the mess. June and John’s wife Lisa decided they’d take all the kids down to the beach. “What about lunch?” Amy wailed.
“We’ll have a picnic!” Lisa said enthusiastically. I heard them in the kitchen, throwing food into a bag. They couldn’t get away fast enough.
Slightly subdued by the spilled beer and the disapproving looks from Grandma Thomas, our guests were quiet while the food was served. They each downed a few more beers then thought to offer them around the table. Everyone declined. John, the oldest and most susceptible to looks of desperation from our mother, tried to engage them in conversation. We learned they had all three gone to high school together. Len said he was on disability from a back injury. Mike smirked when he said that and said, “Yeah, it’s really debilitating.”
“Shut up,” Len said, reaching over to smack Mike. My mother and both grandmothers instinctively grabbed glasses on the table to keep them from being knocked over. “At least I didn’t just get out of jail!”
“Just a DUI charge,” Mike said in what was perhaps meant to be a reassuring way.
Grandma Jones looked like her eyebrows were going to shoot clear off her head they were raised so high.
“So how about you, Kevin,” my dad asked, “What do you do?”
“I’m a cable guy,” he said. “So if you need me to hook you up I can. You don’t want to actually pay for cable. It’s robbery. I can hook you up.”
“That does sound like robbery,” I said dryly. John ducked his head to hide his grin.
“So do one of you own the house down the street?” my dad asked. “Or did someone just hook you up?”
My mom shot my dad a warning glance. John still had his head down.
Our guests were oblivious to any mischievous intent though. “It’s my parents’ house,” Mike explained.
“Ah,” Dad said.
Finally lunch ended. “We appreciate you coming,” Mom said, leading the way to the door. Len, having had the most beer staggered a little and bumped into the wall. He sent a picture on the wall swaying.
“You’ll have to come see us sometime,” Mike said. “Maybe we’ll have a party this weekend.”
“We need girls to come,” Len said, looking at me.
I just smiled. Or I tried to.
Check back tomorrow to see the aftermath of this party!