Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Big Bite of Beef at Christmastime

When I was 14 years old we had a big Christmas dinner at my home. My mom and dad invited several family and friends to our small apartment. We did not have an official dining room. There was a tiny table in the kitchen. It was packed with scrumptious food, and there was barely room to sit. My brother and I inhabited the low rung on the food chain, so we ate on the floor in the hallway beside the kitchen. [side note: I used to keep a stocking cap permanently attached to my head in those days. Keep this in mind for the upcoming scene.] We had many good things to eat: Dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie and a suculent roast and many other tasty morsels.

Gifts were opened that morning, people came to visit. Little time had been left to eat, so when dinnertime rolled around, my brother and I were quite hungry. We sat on the floor and stuffed our faces!

About halfway into the first plate of food, I took an exceptionally big bite of beef. I gave the lucious lump of meat a few quick chews and swallowed. Unfortunately, the hunk of meat got stuck just as it started to go down. I found this quite curious and decided to tell my brother about it. In a nano-second, I experienced the awkward sensation of not being able to speak! I learned something very valuable and I am not sure the thought had ever crossed my mind before: A person needs air not only to breathe but also to talk! And I was unable to because of that big bite of beef stuck in my wind pipe!

Panic soon had me in its snare and I stood up from the floor with stocking cap still on my head. My brother saw fear in my eyes and followed me into the kitchen.

The guests were talking and eating and having an all around festive time when I walked in. Their faces turned to me with jovial anticipation. I had a wild look on my face and my mouth was moving up and down, but no words came out.

My brother soon appeared behind me and with a mighty blow, lowered a clinched fist down onto my back. This caused the big bite of beef to eject from my mouth onto the middle of the table where it landed with something like a ker-splat. This all happened so quickly that folks were still removing forks from their mouth when it struck. I'm not sure if they were more surprised at my choking or the fact that a person could actually swallow something so large!

The sound of that meat smacking the table was music to my ears and the feel of air rushing into my lungs was exhilerating!

Since then, I have chewed my food with a little more caution, especially when I eat roast beef!


Tom Atkins said...

Chris - Tom Atkins from church here. David showed me the way here. I look forward to reading more here as time goes on.

Chris said...

Hi Tom

Good to hear from you!

Be forewarned of a possibility of a small bit of zaniness.