30 September 2012

The Family Board Meeting

"Copyright Owen Jones 2012 (c)"

By: Owen Jones

The Family Board Meeting

I was sitting at a beautiful, round mahogany table in a massive, hard, but comfortable, hard-backed chair, which was also of mahogany and I was looking out of the large bay window, in the middle of which, the table stood.

There was a heavy net curtain over the windows, which made it hard to see anything outside clearly. I could see green on the bottom of the vista, presumably grass; blue at the top, presumably sky and a rapidly-moving strip in between, which I supposed was traffic, but it was very hard to tell.

The room was on the ground floor, so I assumed that the net curtain was to prevent people from seeing in.

I fell into a reverie, but when I looked up, my father was in the process of sitting down.

"Hello, son", he said, "How are you this morning?"

"All right, thanks, Dad, and you?"

"When you get to my stage of life, things don't change much and especially not quickly".

"Look, Dad, do you mind if I go and get a beer? I was out late last night and didn't know you wanted to see me until I got home. A livener, you know. Do you want one too?"

"You go ahead, but not for me, thanks.... Oh, go on then. I'll join you. I haven't had a beer for ages".

I got up, left the room and found a fridge full of bottles of beer and wine. I opened two beers and went back inside. I was surprised to see my mother, my sister and one of my brothers sitting at the table. They all nodded and smiled as I passed them to retake my seat.

I gave Dad his beer and offered to get the others something to drink, but they declined. I took a swig and, as I did so, my father stood up and tapped the table with his index and fore fingers.

"OK, this family board meeting is now in session". Everyone smiled at Dad's dramatics and he sat down again. It was really great to see everyone together.

I was in my element.

"We, the family as a whole, have been going through a hard time", he said. "Some have fared worse than others, but we count our strength in one number - the family. Not individually. With that in mind, does anyone have anything to say about him or herself or the family as a whole?"

My mother spoke first: "We are all doing our best, Colin, but we all need a little help and support from time to time. You and I have both needed it many times over the years".

"True, that is very true ...".

Everyone was studying the table, looking embarrassed, so I said:

"It has been hard for me since I was burgled and since I lost my job, but I still have some money, so it could be a lot worse. I am hoping to start a new career on line".

I said it with confidence, I think, but with a confidence that I did not feel. I just didn't want my family to worry about me".

"Yes, alright, son. We know how hard it has been for you and we know that you are coping well".

I was all right too. Really, I was. I told myself so as often as I could remember to.

I looked out of the window and drifted into a day dream again. Then I remembered my beer and downed what was left in one. As the bottle was up before my face, I heard Dad tap the table again and say, unexpectedly for me:

"This family meeting is over. Thanks everyone for coming. Until we meet again".

When I put my empty bottle back on the table, I could see the table clearly again. My Dad was still there, but we were alone.

"Where'd they go, Dad?", I asked.

"Oh, they have things to do elsewhere, but why don't we meet up every Saturday morning? Same time, same place? We can call them family board meetings, if you like. Somewhere where we can all talk about our problems and thrash them out. Successes too, of course. Where we can be a family - even friends - again".

"Yes, I'd like that, Dad. Hang on a minute, I'll just get another beer".

From outside the room, I heard Dad say: "Don't forget, same time, same place next week and any Saturday morning you want to come along. We will be here waiting for you".

I took another beer, opened it and went back into the room, saying: "Are you off now too then?", but the room was already empty.

I woke up in my bed when the alarm rang at 8 o' clock with a hangover again.

There had been a meeting. A family board meeting, Dad had called it, but what had happened then? I had had a couple of beers but not much. Had I gone off on a bender somewhere? I went into the kitchen to make some coffee.

I set the coffee machine and put some toast on and while that was happening, I went into the bathroom to wash my face. I looked in the mirror and saw the wall clock behind me. It read: Sat. 9:00.

That was odd. I had thought I'd missed a day. But it hadn't.

Then, I remembered that the only people at the family board meeting were myself and members of my family who had passed away.

It was very comforting to think that they still cared and I made up my mind to attend those family board meetings every week.

by Owen Jones

Source: http://behind-the-smile.org/
Owen Jones is a writer and self-publisher of a novel ('Behind The Smile ~ The Story of Lek, A Bar Girl In Pattaya'), 100+ ebooks, 150 web sites and well over 1,000 articles.

This story may not be copied in any way without the written permission of it's author, Owen Jones, but you may link to it, if you so desire.