Why you may not leave the table.


I have this Aunty. Her name is Aunty Penny. She is my Mum’s oldest sister and is kind of an earth mother. Scrap that. She IS the original earth mother. We spent some great times with her and her family growing up.

She is not afraid to talk about everything. She is into gardening and travelling. Recently Mum and Aunty Penny went on a textile tour of India, while I could think of a million things I would rather do, such as, as I am doing right now, listening to David Koch interview Pauline Hansen.

Actually, after a minute of this, India’s back streets are starting to sound kind of appealing.

Aunty Penny came from a time where your plate was expected to be licked clean every night because of the starving orphans in Africa. She would make this very difficult, because she would trot out exotic dishes such as beef stroganoff. which we were horrified by. And things in clay pots featuring currants. I mean, where were the sausages? Along with each meal, she prepared a huge bowl of salad which sat in the middle of the table. We were never allowed to leave the table, until the entire bowl was empty.

At the time, my brother would not eat anything not covered in tomato sauce. My older sister was a vegetarian who was not really into vegetables. My younger sister was compliant as she was born a people pleaser, while my youngest sister was but a twinkle in my mother’s eye.

Oh we would sit for HOURS looking at that big old bowl, while Aunty Penny would drink Lambrusco at the end of the table, in the ultimate Mexican Stand-off.

There was only one thing we could do.

When she was at the fridge, refilling her glass, we would all grab a handful of soggy salad and sit….and wait with the salad heating up in our little hands.

One by one, we would excuse ourselves from the table to visit the latrine, where we would empty the salad into the toilet and flush.

With Aunty Penny becoming increasingly merrier, she noticed that we were getting through the salad and encouraged us with words of commendation.

After a long time, the bowl was empty.

But the plumbing was fucked.

I was reminded of this story last week, when I heard the words come out of my mouth.

“No one is to leave the table until that salad bowl is empty.”

Isn’t it funny how these little nuggets from the past can come back into your subconscious and out of your mouth?

Do you have an Aunty of Note?