Listen To What I Hear
by Wendy Knuth
Pay attention. Listen to what I hear. I took pride in my craft. I slaved all day with no help, no offers of help. I expressed my affection through my work. My loved ones gathered around, and took part in this, the most intimate of family traditions, a holiday known most for family gatherings and for a day of thanks. No compliments were heard, no thanks, no giving on anyone’s part but mine. I was waiting, just waiting for even the smallest something.
As the last family member left the table, save for myself, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I was ired by their rudeness. I heard a voice coming from myself expressing in a disappointed and loud voice the same words I was feeling: “I worked hard all day for this fine meal before you and no one even said boo!”
My family was just as shocked by my reaction as I was by their non-reaction. The children eyed each other, eyed me, and then eyed their father nervously. My husband, at first, looked surprised. His perplexed expression relaxed, and slowly turned to adorement. A faint smile slowly crept upon his face. He then said “boo” in the nicest, most loving way. My children giggled in the moment and also said “boo”, each in turn.
It was the smallest something. But really it was greater than that. From resentment and compassion was born this family tradition. A gift of folklore to the family, from the family, for the family. My legacy? Perhaps. I am no longer here, and yet, this old soul lives on. After every family meal . . . Boo! It is what you would expect this old ghost to say, but it is what I hear.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.