Dinner with the Fisher’s…

Our lovely college student Brittany, recently was required to write a paper on an interesting subject.  She chose to write about a “typical” dinner with the family.  I’m proud to have such a talented young lady in our home.  Here is what she wrote.

 

I crinkle my nose as the smell of a freshly cooked meal overwhelms the air surrounding me. As my family sits down at the dinner table, I glance at my stepfather. With his nicely trimmed beard, Beatles hat, and hemp sweater, he looks up and says with his southern drawl, “Let’s get to eatin!” My family’s mealtime conversations are far from anything normal. Mike, my stepfather, has Frank Sinatra playing lightly in the background and jumps up from time to time to dance to “Summer Wind”. “How was your day?” is the question that usually begins our dinnertime dialogue. My sisters babble for a bit about their schoolteachers or a current new 6’4’’ boyfriend. Then I begin to explain my concern for life post-college. My stepfather reassures me that what I am doing right after college, will not be what I am doing fifteen years from now. “Brittany-Sue, when I was in college, I had NO idea I would end up being a stockbroker. I have done everything from cleanin’ up Kennel crap, managing a restaurant and preaching, to construction, landscaping, and driving around in a truck delivering beer! It’s all about the journey! Just worry about this semester, sweetie!” Then, while comfortingly rubbing my back, my mother directs the question towards her husband, who, with excitement in his eyes, looks how a kindergartner would look when waiting to get called upon. Often times, I find myself leaning in, making sure to pick up on every word of his colorful and vibrant retelling of the day.  “I went golf ball hawkin!” He looks very pleased as he takes a bite out of his raspberry-marinated steak. He begins to explain how “hawkin” has a certain ‘zen-like’ quality to it and laughs at the puns being formed when he says things like “handling dirty balls”. “I saw the most miraculous sight today! Buddy-boy and I were on the seventh hole, a deer came out, and started kicking the golf ball around! Such a sight…nothing compares to being out there in nature with nothin but your dog and a pitching wedge.” About two minutes into his rant he stops, scoops up my mother, and says “Our song!” They then begin to twirl around the living room like a ballerina does in a jewelry box.

   Demanding attention is an act that Mike does not need to partake in. When he walks into a room, its’ occupants want to hear what he has to say. He has the mind of a philosopher, with the heart of a dreamer. I will always remember something that he preached in a sermon when I was sixteen: “Step outside your everyday way of living.  Look at today for exactly what it is…a present.  Today is the most important day in your whole life.  So focus on it.  Let today be the day you stop and smell the flowers, let today be the day you notice the clouds again, let today be the day you start chasing butterflies.” His ‘embrace the moment attitude’ is why strangers are drawn to him, why I take pride in him, and why my mother dances with him.

    After his mid-dinner workout, Mike venture’s back to the table and instructs me to go into his office and retrieve a book. His office is very fascinating: a blue acoustic guitar plastered with stickers promoting peace, one reading “Free Tibet”, leans effortlessly against his desk; the program from his latest play, in which he takes the role of a father of a crippled boy, hangs on the wall adjacent to the window; in the corner of the room, sit two large buckets of “hawked” golf balls; worn books are lined up unevenly on a shelf; The Electric Kool-Aide Acid Test, by Tom Wolfe, being the requested piece of literature. As I return to the table, I am caught in a battle between husband and wife.

                       

                        “I asked you if it was Jasmine rice, Michael, and you said no!”

“You never asked me that. You just asked me if we had rice and I said yes Ma’am!”

“When I talk all you hear is ‘blah, blah, blah, isn’t it?” my mother concluded.

Feeling slightly confused, I said “I have the book.” They were already laughing and holding hands again. “These two are nothing more than teenagers with degrees”, I thought to myself

‘You should read it, Britt!” Mike says enthusiastically.

“She’s got plenty to read already in school, honey.” My mother says.

“Yes Dear, but those books do little to stimulate the noggin!”

After taking a bite of my mother’s amazing mashed cauliflower, I say, “ Couldn’t agree more. College isn’t the place to go for ideas, according to Helen Keller!”

 

            With the conversation at an end, a high-pitched yet manly yell rings in my ears. “CLEAR THE TABLE, GIRLS!!” “Do you have to do that every time?” Mom asks rubbing her ear, hoping that her eardrums have not been damaged. “These scraps will be great for Buddy-boy!” That man and his dog…it truly is a sight. I suppose living with six girls can be an adventure within itself for a man. Hair ties, various undergarments, and tampons creep up on him throughout the course of his day. He has, on more than one occasion, been startled by a lonesome ‘just in case’ tampon in the side mantle of his own vehicle. With Mike’s many eccentricities, the word “tampon”, uttered around him in public, is enough to turn him pink. He will remove himself from any conversation when it crosses the line between girly and girly. In our defense, however, Mike did cry watching the Notebook. “A real man cries!” is his response when I bring it up. “Real men don’t watch the Notebook!” my fourteen year old sister jokes as she walks up the stairs. As my family congregates our now full bodies to the living room to watch The Office, Mike turns to my mother and says, “Great dinner, Maria! I think next time though, we should try it without the Jasmine rice.”

 

 

 

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