Monday, May 12, 2008

Peg the dreg


My mother Linda and I decided to take Junior to the senior center to see my grandmother (my mother's mother) for her birthday. We brought the camera and a chocolate cake. We were told by the director of the center that my grandmother would be in the crafts room at 11 and that we could have the cake there.

Oh how mistaken we were!

For one, you cannot bring a small cake to the center. You must bring a large sheet cake so that everyone may have a piece. Second, you cannot go into the kitchen and get silverware and plates yourself. You must wait for Peg, the official supply-getter. And if Peg is outside smoking cigarettes and flirting with the custodian then you had better sit your caboose down and wait.

For an hour. I could exaggerate and say that little old people were slinking down in their chairs, foaming at the mouth as they waited for their miniscule slice of cake (we had brought a tiny cake) but they were fine.

My mother, however, was not. She seethed. Fumed. Slapped the tops of tables so hard that people jumped in their seats.

“I can’t get a ^&*ing fork and serve this $%^&ing cake myself? I have to wait for %^#*ing Peg?”

To be fair, she didn’t swear. She’s too prissy to swear, in fact she’s never even smoked a cigarette. She did have to go to her car to take a blood pressure pill. During which time the elders and I commiserated about life under Peg’s heavy thumb.

“She’s a bitch!” someone shouted. “Serve the damn cake.”

Finally Peg appeared. I’d like to say she was booed but people quieted down as she started serving. She was so concerned that there wouldn’t be enough to go around that she cut teeny tiny pieces. There was actually cake leftover. When Peg pointed this out to my mother I thought my mother’s head might explode. Thankfully it was time for the variety show: Earl was going to play the piano and my grandmother was going to sing.

They both had chocolate cake stuck in their teeth. It was the perfect time to leave.

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