Kin Folks Or When Relatives Visit
by Connie Vigil Platt
I had company over the holidays. I have a large extended family that will use any excuse to get together. Don’t misunderstand me I loved having them visit. They all came loaded with baskets of food and problems to share. It seems that my house is more centrally located, bigger, more available or something like that.
But it reminded me of a Little Jimmie Dickens song “Sleeping at the foot of the bed:”
It was always fun when the kin folks came
And the kids brought brand new games
You could see how fat the old folk were
And learn all the babies’ names
We got chicken and biscuits
And custard pie
We all got Sunday fed
But when night time came you knew
You were sleeping at the foot of the bed
Fortunately nobody had to sleep at the foot of the bed but there were some strange sleeping arrangements. Chairs, love seats and couches were put into use. I have always been a collector of quilts in anticipation of such an occasion, so we had plenty of blankets. No one seemed to mind sleeping on the floor but it was wall-to-wall people, you had to be careful where you stepped if you got up in the middle of the night. But that’s the way it is at our family reunions. Nobody wanted to go to a hotel and miss out on all the fun the rest of us were having.
No sooner did I get finished with one meal it was time to start on the next. The table was set all the time. It was as if a swarm of locusts had invaded the kitchen eating everything in the path. The women all helped with the cooking and cleaning up. I may never find all the cooking utensils. Some were put in the wrong drawer and some were given to the children to play with and get them from under our feet. It is worth a few spoons to see them happy.
Pies and cakes disappeared as if by magic. A pan of cinnamon rolls didn’t have time to cool off. Cookies still hot from the oven didn’t have a chance. Gravy was like a beverage to be poured on your plate. The natural inclination was to make wash tub size vats of stew, red beans and rice, chili and a mountain of cornbread. That would hold them off until supper. The evening meal consisted of a leg of beef or a brace of turkeys. Any leftovers would then be turned into the next day feast of stew.
The work was exhausting but the company was stimulating. All the women shared in the work and confidences, and that way we could talk about the men in the next room. Of course all the men did was unbutton their pants and groan about how good the food was and how they ate too much. But the next meal they were all there shoveling it in. Their conversation mainly involved sports, cars, where the television remote was hiding and other manly topics.
The women washed dishes and bared secrets that everybody but me already knew. There is nothing like a sink full of soapy water to make you bare your soul. I found out things I didn’t really want to know. The babies had names of cars, states, or cities, Mercedes, Dakota, and Dallas. Why not Chevy, Vermont or Spokane? Aunt Sarah has gained so much weight because she has become devoted to the TV instead of her appearance. Cousin Jane has a partner, Alice, and they are not in business. Uncle James wasn’t here because he is in jail for DWI. Tom is a macho truck driver that wears women’s underwear.
I didn’t want to know these things but I couldn’t stop listening.
Everybody has gone and I am alone once again. I started missing them before they were out of the driveway. We all had a good time and the visit was too short. They have promised to come back. I love them all dearly but maybe next time I’ll go to see them. I have to find out what happens next in the family saga.
It will take me until next time to get the house back in order.
Connie Vigil Platt lives in Salem, Arkansas, and has dreamed of writing since she was 10 years old. She didn’t get the chance to fulfill her dream until she retired, but has now been published in Range, Fate, True Confession Kasma and Science Fiction Trails magazines, as well as in Australia, England and Japan. A cowgirl at heart, she prefers westerns, but her love of writing overlaps into all genres. Her novel “Pair A Dice” can be found in all major bookstores and on Amazon.