So much of our family bonding took place at the dinner table. It was a rule of dads (as it turned out, a very good rule) that we all be in one place at one time for at least this meal. There would always be some kind of discussion; sometimes they were deep and serious, or sometimes as trivial as Crystal giving us all a detailed, blow-by-blow report of every single B-rated dream she had the night before.
Often, dad led the discussions, and often again, they would be religious in nature. Dad had this special talent to be able to talk for a long time and still have his dialogue seem well thought-out and intelligent in nature. Most of us can only talk for a few witty sentences before we just plain run out of smart things to say. The disadvantage to dads talent, however, was that other lesser mortals attention spans for listening to an intelligent running dialogue seemed to be directly correlated to their ability to have an intelligent running dialogue.
But back to the table at hand. Sad to say though Im sure every word that dad was waxing eloquent was very important and worth paying attention to most of us had reached the point where we werent really listening any more. We were well practiced in the art, however, of giving the impression of listening. We diligently sat around the table, all eyes and ears (if not minds) turned towards dad, while our imaginations slowly but surely wandered out of the room and onto whatever we were planning to do that evening. It was perhaps by divine intervention that our attentions were brought back very suddenly by something so small, none of us could even see it except mom.
OHMYGOSH! CRAIG! Moms voice broke through dads rhythmic lecturing like a fat kid on an old trampoline. We were all suddenly very aware of what was going on (what was going on, anyway?) at the end of the table, where dad sat looking as confused as we all felt. It was then that we noticed mom was frantically pointing at dads moustache like it had turned neon green, sprouted multiple legs, and wandered off his face to find some leaves to nibble
but it was still the same rusted-ginger color it had been for nearly 40 years. What on earth could have made mom react so suddenly like that? What could have been so important that she needed to interrupt dads deeply serious discussion about the sermon, that she couldnt even excuse herself first?
There was this gnat hovering around your lips, and you almost ATE IT!
Dad hadnt so much as twitched since mom had started wielding her pointer finger at him like a weapon. At this point, however, he blinked, then composed a pretty impressive scowl in moms direction. Mom seemed apparently oblivious. She had a look of deep concentration on her face as she searched the skies around dads mouth for this supposed gnat.
Well.., she said at length, It seems to be gone now. Go ahead with what you were saying.
She then smiled a contented little mommy smile, folded her hands in her lap, and looked for all the world like nothing out of place had happened.
Suffice it to say, dad had lost his train of thought.