Read this quick ‘cuz I might chicken out…

It was a scheme, “a manipulation,” as he called it. My mom sent him to the store for a small standing rib roast. Enough to feed four.

Instead he came home with a large four-ribber. ‘Cuz he likes lots of company.

So we received a late Saturday night invitation to come for Sunday dinner. And who are we to turn down a meal? Especially at my mom’s. Especially when it’s prime rib.

My mom says she’s too old to have everyone over for dinner at the same time anymore. She did it at Christmas and it wiped her out. So now she’s inviting one or two of her daughters and their spouses at a time.

It was going to be a nice, quiet, laid-back Sunday dinner and I was looking forward to it.

Mom was in the kitchen busily attending to the roast, au gratin potatoes and brussels sprouts (all delicious) when we arrived. The other sister was already there, glass of wine in hand, snacking on cheese and crackers.

I was just standing around so I offered to make the salad.

The conversation was lighthearted and jovial. In all her bustling around the kitchen, my mom lost track of her wine glass.  She went on a focused mission to find it and joked about needing it. I joked back. Something like, “Yeah ‘cuz you’ve always been such a heavy drinker.”

That’s when meanie sidled up next to me, my cutting board, my dull pairing knife (note to self: buy the woman who has everything but a good knife a good knife) and the tomato I was chopping and said, “There’s something that mom and all the rest of us know that you don’t seem to know and it’s this: There’s always an element of truth in every joking thing that is said.”

There might be an element of truth in every joke, I don’t know, I’ll have to think about it, but there is not an element of truth in every statement that is made in a joking manner.

“I disagree,” I replied. “Because I am 100% certain that I do not think mom is a heavy drinker. Never have. Because she’s not.  Have you ever heard of irony? It’s a device of humor.”

And get away from me and my cutting board.

“Actually,” I went on, “I would never joke about something that I thought was true.” (I might bring it up to the person privately, but I wouldn’t joke about it publicly.) “With me, you need to be more concerned about what I don’t say (the things I only think, like the thing in italics above) than about what I say. I’ve always been that way.”

“Yes,” she purred with a self-satisfied grin, “I’ve suspected and counted on that all these years, with all the mean things you’ve said.”

What? The queen of mean is accusing me?

Why does she always have to slither up and try to spoil the evening? She didn’t/doesn’t ever completely spoil it – she only succeeds in imparting a bit of a rancid aftertaste, but she sure tries.

I suppose things haven’t changed since childhood, when she was bent on having ALL mom’s love.  Six sisters, but she wanted it all.

I used to think, There’s enough to go around. People don’t possess a finite amount of love that runs out.  So chill, there’s enough for all of us.

Why is/was that so impossible for her to understand?

Fortunately, and of course, the same goes for God. A countless multitude of us will be standing victoriously, gratefully, and lovingly at His throne and each one of us is (not will be) loved right back.

I’ll keep praying for little miss meanie and hope I get paired with someone else next time.

(And I’ll hope she never reads my blog. Because this time I didn’t just think it, I wrote it.)

And I’m not joking.