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Tears at dinner time

November 2, 2010
Kayla Herrera

I've been over to my friends' houses for dinner.

I've seen them say grace and eat quietly or sometimes we don't even eat together, but the kids grab a plate and go to their rooms.

My family tries to have dinner together a lot, but it seems like dinner time at the Herrera household is, crazy beyond anything I have ever encountered.

The follies usually commence with the cooking. My mother never wants anyone in the kitchen with her.

She repeatedly claims, "There's too many people in here, I can't work!" when really, it's only me. We have a large kitchen with an island in the middle. So it's almost impossible to help with the cooking because no matter how many times you try to convince her there is plenty of space, there never is.

I am usually chasing the dog. Even at 21 years old, I still love to aggravate and play with our dog.

This includes running back and forth in the eating area of the kitchen with the dog tailing me.

Of course I get yelled at. Do I stop? Sometimes, not usually.

My father has this thing about Mexican music. I mean, he is half Mexican and my sister and I are both a quarter, but he really cranks it up during cooking time.

Then he walks into the kitchen with his arms out, pinky-fingers curled and he does this little dance and gives a holler like Speedy Gonzales.

It is usually loud, obnoxious Mexican party music, too.

My sister and I just glance at each other and roll our eyes.

My mom joins in, too, but she usually can't go through with it before laughing.

Our dog, an Aussie, just stares happily at everyone with not a clue in the world.

My sister and I set the table.

We sit down and go on to eat.

Conversation usually consists of aggravating one another and joking around, or on the contrary, getting into a deep discussion.

Too many times do we laugh ourselves to tears at dinner time.

This sort of discussion, 80 percent of the time, is usually instigated by a feces comment from my father and somehow it carries on to something else.

By this time, one of us is impersonating someone, and we are beating the table with our fists, clenched in laughter.

My dad has this weird laugh; all of his facial features say laughter, but no sound comes out of his mouth until the end.

His face becomes beat red and sometimes he has to remove his glasses. My mom snorts, which makes me worried that one day I will too.

My sister does not really have a characteristic laugh yet, but I am waiting for the day when she does.

I know my laugh is boisterous and jolly, as I've been told. For such a small girl, I sure am loud.

Most might say this is inappropriate. I don't disagree.

I am pretty sure we have some of the most inappropriate dinners around, but I can tell you, I am glad we have dinner together at all.

Most the time during the day we are in our rooms, or off at school.

Some families never have dinner together.

For this, I am blessed.

Kayla Herrera's e-mail address is



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