Dinner Relative

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Every family has this relative who shows up for every holiday dinner;
everyone knows his name, recognizes the bony forehead and rounded cheeks so common in the family.
That voice, an appreciation of good music and bad puns, how he knows the details about everyone’s health —
he’s one of ours for sure, and yet, in the living room conversations,
when he’s in the bathroom or playing with cousins out in the yard,
it becomes clear that nobody really knows
where he lives, what he does for a living, when they first met him —
not even who the hell invited him to that first holiday dinner, whenever that was.

And then he returns,
sits in your uncle’s favorite chair
and speaks in that confident friendly voice that puts everyone back at ease.

Nobody really knows who he is,
but everybody is certain that he is one of us.

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2 thoughts on “Dinner Relative

  1. This is a great thought and story. Yes, it is a truth in many of our outback towns where there is always this certain someone there who simply comes. This is an interesting and thought-provoking piece of writing. As a child there was one Christmas – some mysterious uncle – no one later could say who he was.

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