(If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?) – WordPress Daily Prompt
There was a knock at the door and the dogs sprang to life barking and rushing toward the noise.
“Quiet!” I yelled. “Go lay down.” I gave them my best do-it-or–else look and they backed off…a little.
I opened the door, “Hi Grandpa! Come on in.” I kissed his cheek and gave him a hug. This is the first time I’ve ever met him, since he died before I was born.
“I made it.” He stated. “Though wasn’t sure I would find the place way out here.” He scowled. “What happened to living in the city? Not good enough for you?”
“We like the country Grandpa. It’s quiet, the air is clean and we can have a big garden.” I smiled, trying to be my charming self. I knew he was the hard to please type. I anticipated his attitude, but I was determined to make this evening special. After all, it’s not every day a relative you’ve never met before comes for dinner.
Dennis was busy finishing the beef bourguignon. The kitchen smelled heavenly. I had just taken the pie out of the oven.
“Would you like a drink?” I asked my grandfather. Silly question considering he had been an alcoholic when he was alive.
“Beer’s fine.” He grumped.
“What kind would you like? We have Budweiser, Corona, Heineken…?” I listed for him. “Or we have wine. I have a Zinfandel or Pinot Noir or a nice Chardonnay?”
“Beer’s fine.” He repeated. I took a Bud out of the frig and popped the top.
“Glass?” I asked.
“Sure.” He said. “Salt?” He asked when I handed him the beer. I handed him the salt shaker and watched as he put a couple shakes into his glass and the beer began to foam.
“Kids!” I yelled. “Come help set the table. Grandpa is here.”
Four young adults stomped down the stairs, cell phones in hand. “You…plates.” I handed one the stack of plates. “You, silverware, you glasses, and you napkins.” I divvied up the work.
“And put the cell phones away.” Dennis said ready to bring dinner to the table.
“Those all yours?” Grandpa asked poking back to the kids with his thumb.
“Two are mine,” I said. “The other two are Dennis’.”
“You each have your own?” He asked, obviously confused.
“Yep.” I smiled. I didn’t really want to bring up the topic of divorce. Grandma had divorced Grandpa when my mother and her sisters were still young.
“You don’t have any together?” He asked.
“Nope.” I said, smiling again, hoping he would get the hint that this was not a topic for discussion.
“How long have you’ve been married?” He asked.
“Oh, we’re not married.” Dennis smiled, taking off his apron and picking up the dinner and rolls to bring to the table. I cringed.
“You live together, have four kids, of which only half are yours, you own a home, but you’re not married.” It was more of a statement.
“Yep.” I said, smiling again.
“Humph.” He grumped.
“Let’s eat. I’m starved.” Said Dennis.
Dinner went well. Being French, Grandpa loved the beef bourguignon and I think we almost got a smile out of him when we served the warm apple pie. He was clearly confused with everything going on around him. The cell phones that constantly vibrated because when we said “turn them off at the table” translated into young adult speak to “put them on vibrate.” The nice appliances we had including the microwave that so quickly warmed up the dinner rolls. The 42” flat screen TV in the living room. The fact that my boyfriend wore an apron and made chef quality dinners and that we had four children and no wedding rings. That I worked outside the home, while Dennis was the “house-husband.” I could only imagine what he would have thought had one of our children been gay or transgender.
Grandpa wasn’t much of a conversationalist, but he did manage to get a few answers about work, school and the military out of the kids. What his impression was of those answers was hard to tell.
Once dinner was done and the table cleaned, it was time for Grandpa to go.
“Kids, say good-bye to Grandpa.” I yelled.
“Bye Grandpa,” they said in unison as they headed back upstairs.
Dennis shook his hand. “It was a pleasure to meet you, sir.” He said.
I hugged my grandfather tightly. Whatever caused him to be an alcoholic in his younger days, whatever caused my Grandmother to leave him, today he was just my Grandfather. Grumpy, confused, but well fed.
“Wait.” I said before he headed out the door. I went to the refrigerator and pulled out another beer and handed it to him. “One for the road.” I said. After all, it wasn’t like he was driving.