Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)
TITLE: Bye-bye, Guy
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Characteristic bug-eyes pop out emphatically as Guy licks his fingers and then gleefully rubs his hands together in anticipation.
Food! Glorious, heavenly, gluttonous food!
Several rows of end-to-end tables are filled to overflowing. People mill about with sweat standing on their foreheads – little beads that form the headwaters of forked rivers running down cheeks and into collars. Eager hands fill and refill plates while voices chatter all the while.
“Haven’t seen you in a coon’s age, Agnes! How are things at the old farmstead, anyway?”
“Why Henry, you were just a little tyke … are you really so grown up?”
Guy wastes no time but heads straight for the homemade egg noodles dotted with giant chunks of beef. The gravy looks and smells delightful!
“Brent, would you hold the baby, please, while I get some more of that fried chicken for the other kids?”
Garden green beans with smokehouse ham and sweet onions catch Guy’s eye. He dives in, then tries a corn casserole topped with buttered crumbs, some paprika-sprinkled deviled eggs, and one of Aunt Lulu’s yeast rolls made from scratch.
“Roseanne, when did you move to the city? I can’t imagine all that traffic …”
“Oh you should see all the places I shop now, and I don’t miss my garden at all! In fact, I just love going to the farmer’s market every Saturday …”
Pies, cakes, brownies, fruit crisps and cobblers, and a wide array of cookies and bars invite Guy to turn to the dessert table. His mouth waters; he hurries over only to discover a lemon pie with mile-high meringue puffed on top like a cloud – mmmmmm, his favorite!
“Let’s play golf sometime Earl … what’s your handicap these days?”
“You know, the doc doesn’t want me playing right now … the old ticker is acting up … heh heh, that’s what happens when ya get old … so I’ve gotta take it easy.”
With his mouth still coated in sticky meringue, Guy tackles another favorite dessert: German chocolate cake. All those shreds of coconut and pecan nuggets smothered in a thick and buttery goo – delightful!
“Look out there, son, I almost stepped on you!”
“Oh sweetie, you’ve got to look out where you’re going in this crowd …”
With mounting thirst, Guy glances toward the big orange coolers full of iced tea and lemonade. But no, just one more sampling of Aunt Rose’s pickled beets first, and then maybe he’ll look for a drink.
“Hey Phil – you’ve used this pavilion a lot in the past, do you know if there’s a fly swatter somewhere?”
“Well, let me look, maybe there’s one in the utility box.”
Meanwhile, Guy can’t resist the homemade pickles and corn relish next to those beets! Although already satiated, he nibbles here and there, driven by the sweet-sour tastes.
“This is the best outlay of food we’ve had at any of our reunions, don’t you think?”
“Sure is – all the favorites, like Granny’s mile-high angel food cake … do you know she uses a dozen and a half egg whites? … plus so many new things! Have you tried that Mexican taco salad? Julie says it has Serrano peppers, whatever that is.”
Guy’s bloated stomach makes him groan; he desperately needs a nap! But where can he snooze amidst such heat and humidity and noise? His huge eyes glance furtively this way and that, studying the surroundings. A faint breeze seems to stir, somewhere up above everyone’s heads. If only he could escape this crowd and perch on one of those big ceiling beams!
“Anyone ready for some horseshoes or volleyball?”
“Me! Me! Me! Me! Me!”
Guy hears the invitation but remains silent. He only wants to sleep!
“These trash cans are overflowing – and I’ve still got these dirty diapers and Joey’s paper plates … he always uses a new plate each time he goes back, silly kid, just like in restaurants … so what should I do with this stuff?”
“Let’s walk down the road – there’s another pavilion not far from here and we can just use those cans. Do you have a plastic bag for your trash?”
Groggy and fading fast, Guy finds a spot on a chair and half-closes his eyes. The voices around him become a murmur … he feels himself drifting …
“Did you ever find that fly swatter?”
“Yup, it’s an old metal one, but it should work!”
Bye-bye, Guy Fly …
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