The 5 o’clock dinner

That’s right. Ferd and I have been eating at 5 o’clock sharp. Daddy is away, and it’s the Amercian Way. None of this waiting around for 7:30 to start dinner when we’re hungry about 10 minutes after snack. Last night we started out with a few slices of apple and a side of sour cream potato chips. For the first course, buttered spaghetti. For the feature, a nice and crispy hot dog with a little more of our favorite sauce (butter) on broccoli. For dessert a mint chocolate cookie ice cream dish (mamma was too cheap to buy the cones this week) and to tide us over until bed, a bowl of cereal.
This way after homework, we still have plenty of time to get the music on and dance. We each play our favorite (Ferdinand–“Bohemian like you”, Dandy Warhols. Mamma–“I Wish”, Stevie Wonder). We always miss Dad when we dance, so we play one for him too. (Dad has a lot of favorites, so it’s hard to pick. We tried Nina Simone, Donald Bryd and Los Amigos Invisibles. Ferd said what Dad would really want would be to play Dandy Warhols again, so we did that too.) By 8 we had books read and were lying in bed. Ferdinand couldn’t fall asleep until after 10. At quarter til, I threatened to throw away all of his candy; when he said that was OK, I figured he really was afraid. “Ferd” I said, “you got your mom, you got your dog, you got about 26 stuffed animals and Christmas lights wrapped around your doorway–how does fear find its way through that?” “Oh, mom” he said, “I can’t explain it.”
What could I say? I put the music back on and stayed with him until he fell asleep.

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