We always ate our Sunday dinner on stage

We always ate our Sunday dinner on stage.

Uncle

would sit in first position, surrounded by miles of net,

stitching

on thousands of sequins in between mouthfuls of peas and over-cooked beef.

His ballet hands were

tired of the ointment he put on grandma’s infected leg twice a day for eight years.

But he did it, so he could put the picture of him in a               dress               on the mantelpiece.

Every Sunday he told me that he was in the theatre, though I never found out

where or

when.

 

Dad

wore his white-collar suit to every meal                                      to hide

the overalls that were

stitched

to his body since birth that would leak blue blood over grandma’s doylies every time he

smiled.

His voice was a shadow not meant for children.                                On Sundays, I would catch it and

fold it in my napkin. After dinner, when the adults were having coffee,

I would make it tell me the bedtime stories dad would never read me at

night.

On our way out of grandma’s house, dad would place a few coins we couldn’t

spare on the hallway dresser. Next Sunday they would be gone.

 

‘We always ate our Sunday dinner on stage’ was inspired by My Family by Margret Perry (2-606) in the Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiography.

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