A Dinner Scene

“Speaking of people sounding black or white, I just watched this thing on back-up singers-,” the family matriarch began, steering the conversation in a new direction.

“Yeah, one of my friends mentioned that that is just a fantastic film,” the no-good smart-ass disrespectful-though-very-funny adult middle-child added.

“It really was!” she said earnestly, taking back the floor. “And the surprising part was that a lot of the singers were black and got their start in churches as little girls.”

“Ha. That’s exactly what my friend shared about the film. Funny.”

“Well, what I was going to say was that there was one scene where the girl said that she was singing back-up for Ray Charles. And she told a story about a time when Ray Charles stopped the concert and just played one note over and over again telling her that that was the note to sing. That note,” she said, repeatedly pressing her finger into the table with her eyes open wide in a reenactment of the scene. Laughing, she continued, “And the singer said that after that moment she never missed a note ever again. It was so embarrassing.”

“Crazy,” said the middle-child, voicing the sentiment he felt was expected.

“I mean just think of it. With all that noise and the sound of the crowd he was still able to pick out her voice,” she said, letting a natural pause emphasize her child-like wonder of the skill involved in such a feat.

He lived for moments like this one. Unable to withstand the opportunity, he timed the punchline perfectly as he inhaled with about-to-speak force and added with a tone of disbelief, “And he was deaf!”

“Blind!” the son-in-law corrected forcefully, coming to her defense.

“Blind!” the mother rejoined, happy to be defended but wishing she was faster to correct the constantly instigating know-it-all smart-alec.

Not only quicker on the draw, the son-in-law was also the first to shake his head and leave the table mad at himself for ever believing his brother-in-law had anything of value to say. Everyone else just laughed and laughed. The middle-child just smiled.

As for our storyteller? Her face red as a beet she laughed until she could not laugh anymore as she wondered what she ever did to be treated this way. She would have thrown something at him if everything in the room wasn’t so darn nice.


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