It was Monday night
, the once a week time-slot designated by the Mormon Church as family night.
My friends’ families used the night to go bowling together or head to Baskin Robbins for some ice
cream. Our time was always spent in the living room, listening to some church lesson Mom or Earl preparedfrom the Family Home Evening lesson book.The eve
ning’s topic was obeying and respecting your parents and Earl
, the jobless motorcycle mechanic
who had wormed his way into Mom’s life by pretending to be a good Mormon,
had taken over. He heldcourt on the juice-stained green couch the Church had donated to us, quoting from the large lesson book spread open across his stubby thighs.
“Thou Shall Obey
Father and Mother,” he read, glancing around at all of us for effect.
I had become an expert at zoning out. I usually tried to revert into my daydream mode
the one wherethe Osmonds figured out they were missing a kid and had come to rescue me. But on this particular evening,
I was too distracted to conjure up new family fantasies so I found a speck on the wall just above Earl’s head
and focused all my attention there. It was amazing how many different shapes a speck could take on if youstared at it long enough.After a few minutes,
Earl’s drone stopped and I heard Mom’s voice breaking in.
“Ingrid, are you listening to me?
we are going to start Father/D
Her words felt like needles pricking my skin.
has decided to implement one-on-
one talks with all of you kids,” she continued. “I think it’
great idea. We need to start changing things around here.”
I looked at her in disgust, fighting the urge to walk over and slug her.