After going to the bathroom, I went into the kitchen and saw that grandma was putting supper on the table. It smelled really good; one thing I will say for her, she was a good cook. I think I could have eaten an old shoe right then and it would probably have tasted good.
"Mmmm, Grandma, that smells good! Thank you for fixing a good supper for us."
I had decided to kill them with kindness. I saw a half-smile on her face, and she asked if I had washed up. I replied, "Yes, Ma'am."
"Go call the others in here, then, and everybody get seated. We start meals on time here, no lolly-gagging!"
Going into the living room, I told them supper was ready, and they came. We all sat down and Rosie reached for the bread. I had bowed my head to pray thanks for my food. Grandpa touched Rosie's hand and brought it back to her side.
"We say Grace in this household, Missy! Don't you forget it!" Then he bowed his head and said, "We give Thee thanks for our food, O God. Amen."
I saw the hypocrisy in his prayer, because he just seemed to be going through the motions. His prayer was nothing like the prayer that Mr. Hopkins had said; it had no feeling to it, it just sounded like us saying our lessons at school.
We began eating, and there was no conversation except for "Pass the biscuits or pass the peas, etc."
I spoke up and said, "Grandma, you are a really good cook! Did you have a lot of children to cook for? Did Da have any brothers or sisters?"
"You ask too many questions, boy! Didn't your Da ever talk to you about his brothers and sisters?" replied Grandpa, speaking up for Grandma, who had a strange look on her face.
"No, sir, he didn't. He didn't talk much about anything to us, except for..." I didn't continue, fearful of saying anything critical about our Da that would upset them.
"Except for what, boy? Go on! Spill it!"
"Well, except for telling me I wasn't going to amount to nothing. He seemed to love going to the bar and getting drunk more than talking to us. He liked hitting us with the belt, too."
There, I had spilled it all out. I looked straight into his eyes when I said it. "He didn't believe in going to church and he hit Ma a lot, too, with his fists. Is a man supposed to act that way with his family, Grandpa? Is he?"
Grandpa's face turned all shades of red and purple. Then he turned an ashen color, and got up from the table, going outside.
The other kids just looked at me in amazement, waiting for the reaction of our grandma. It wasn't long in coming.
"Now, see here, you little heathen! You've upset your grandpa with your silly little questions. You go outside and apologize to the man! Right now! Do you hear me? Right now!" She was upset, too, and I knew I had probably gone too far. "You other kids, help me clear the table. Supper is over!"
I grabbed my coat from the hooks near the kitchen door, and went outside. (To be continued)