It's blasted hot. Hope my hair don't fry off, or my eyeballs. Need 'em to look where she's pointin'.
"Just go over there with everybody and mingle; get something to eat. I'll be back soon."
That's my ma. She's gotta pick up some 'tater salad or somethin'. She'll be back soon, she tol' me. And those folks over there? That's the Abernathy famly reunion.
Lookit all them people. Must be a zillion of 'em. Don't think I seen that many folks in one place my whole life.
Ain't never been ta a reunion before-least not that I can remember. Ma said I went ta one last year, and the year before that. Don't think she ever lied ta me, so I guess I been ta one. Don't really count, tho', if you don't 'member it.
Anyhow, I guess I better head over there and get me somethin' t' eat, like Ma said.
Man alive, I ain't never seen this much food. I'm headin' for the plates when I feel somethin' on my back.
This ol' man with more hair in his ears than I got on my whole head got his arm around me and is talkin' ta me like he knows me good. Ain't got any idea who he is.
"Oh, I'd know you anywhere, Son. You're the spitting image of your father, and his father before him. So glad you could make it, Jimmy Jr."
I just smile at him, all polite-like, like Ma taught me.
"Where's your folks, Jimmy Jr.?"
Ain't suppose ta talk with my mouth full, so I jus' point ta where Ma went. Ol' Hairy Ears ain't lookin anyway.
"You fill up that plate, Jimmy Jr., and come sit by me. Got lots of cousins just your age I want you to meet."
Ma always says ta respect your elders, so I do just what Ol' Hairy Ears tol' me to. I pile my plate up with chips 'n cookies 'n fried chicken 'n some a that wiggly square stuff with lumps in it (you know, the stuff ya see through). Anyways, I follow him over ta this five million mile long table and sit next ta him, and start stuffin' all that food inta my belly.
Anyways, he's callin' over all these kids and tellin' em I'm Jimmy Jr. I just smile 'n nod 'n wave, cuz my ma always says ta clean yer plate, and I just ain't got time ta stop eatin' if I wanna git home b'fore dark.
I'm finishin' off a chicken leg when I hear Ol' Hairy Ears talkin' ta some guy, and my hair stands up on my neck.
"That's quite a son you got there, Jimmy."
I try ta slide outta sight, but there ain't nowhere ta go. I'm too big 'round ta slip under the table, and there ain't no room ta git out any other way. I just close my eyes and ask the good Lord ta make me disappear.
I feel someone grab m'collar. I'm in for it this time.
"Young man, didn't I tell you to wait for me? You have no right barging into this party with people you don't know."
It's my Ma again. I just act 'barrassed, like she told me, 'n slide out 'n follow her. She done 'pologized fifty times 'fore we make it ta the car.
"How'd you do, Mark?"
I pull cookies 'n fried chicken 'n pretzels 'n stuff outta my pocket 'n spread 'em out on th' seat. I kin tell Ma's proud of me.
"You kin have alla it, Ma. Can't fit another bite in my belly."
Ma musses up my hair and smiles. I know I dun her good, and heck, it was jus' as fun as she tol' me it would be.
And the best part? Ma said the Wilsons are havin' a reunion next Sundy.
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