One of my better childhood memories filled with both humor and a bit of wisdom.
| Cody remembered how Boaz sat indifferently as he cried over their mother’s inert body. She had slept all night as well as into the next day and knew something terribly wrong when she did not respond to telephone’s urgent peal. Boaz already milked situation dry by allowing them to take a sick day from school, since no one around to say otherwise. Their dad gone just two years and a totally subservient mother left to care for the unresponsive preteen, along with his way too boisterous and non compliant nine-year-old brother, exact opposite in nature.
Good thing the younger boy knew to dial 9-1-1, since his mom had some type of brain infection. Put into a drug induced coma and both sons sent to stay with their only uncle. Luckily just before Summer break for what should have been several lackadaisical weeks off, but in a brand-new lifestyle so representative of shared meals with three cousins and their parents. So much tinkling silverware like a case of Tinnitus, too many voices in one head, and bowls of food exchanged in frenetic blurs−
“Can I have some more soda?” Cody timidly asked of the aunt by marriage, whom he only met once or twice before that first June evening’s dinner.
Even though the woman possessed kind eyes, she had strict rules to abide by much different than at home. “I’m sorry, Cody, but if you fill your stomach with soda pop there will be no room left for all this food I cooked. You must make what I give you last the whole meal, or I won’t give you more.”
Usually, Cody’s tantrums a sufficient way to make his mother give in, but Uncle Alan picking him right up from kitchen chair and put into a dark bedroom with no extra soda, food, or company. Also unlike at home, no TV to watch except in communal living area. Told to read a good book and mull over his bad behavior. Sure enough, the child at breakfast with a whole new attitude. Pretending they were in a drought every time he looked upon his dwindling measure of juice provided with eggs and bacon.
“Daddy, can I have more soda?”
Cody smiled at the memory his toddler-aged son’s request instilled in him. All the years since that Summer with Aunt Robin and Uncle Alan, nursing soft or hard drink to the point where people actually asked whether just frugal, or perhaps a recovering alcoholic. No better enjoyment than relay the story to his mom, after full recovery from her bout with Viral Meningitis. Jealous her younger brother’s wife a better disciplinarian than she.
Of course, one of life’s lessons learned and easily taught. “Hey, you know the rules around here, Bud.”
"No more soda until we finished our food!" Both son and baby daughter cried out in giggly glee.