Sunday, March 25, 2012
COME TO DINNER AT TALLIE O'SHEA'S
**Although careers had scattered Marly and her brothers to different locations across Oregon, the standing Sunday dinner at Tallie's brought them home again.
She pulled into the parking area stretching the length of the house. Seven vehicles sat side by side on the pavement, meaning all her brothers had already arrived. Marly
squeezed her Jeep between Collin's new four-wheel drive pick-up and Patrick's older model sedan. Collin had saved for several years to buy the shiny black vehicle and had taken a ribbing from Patrick about the sins of materialism. As a priest, Patrick declared the well-worn, brown sedan fit his pious life-style, including begging Collin to fix its frequent breakdowns.
In spite of the near freezing weather, Marly could hear shouts and huzzahs from the courtyard in back of the house. Part of their Sunday ritual was a game of basketball or volleyball, in spite of Tallie's standing rule that she refused to drive anyone to the emergency room for injuries sustained in "friendly" competition.
Carrying a bolt of drapery fabric her mother had asked her pick up in Portland, Marly walked to the old farmhouse. Tallie claimed she was bored now all her children but one had moved out, and even Jeremiah was gone most of the time since his shifts at the firehouse kept him away for three days and nights at a time.
As she pushed open the front door, Marly called out, "Hi, Mom."
The savory smells of roasting turkey and apple pies drew Marly to the kitchen. She kissed her mother on the cheek as Tallie stirred a pot of simmering soup. "Brought the fabric you wanted."
"Thank you, dear." Tallie waved a spoon toward the back of the house. "The boys are already playing volleyball."
"Yeah, heard them as I came in. Think I'll go see how many bruises they have."
"Fifteen minutes until dinner," Tallie reminded her.
Hoots of hellos greeted Marly's arrival amid the testosterone-charged game already in progress. Three of her brothers wore navy blue T-shirts with the words "blue legacy" across the back; the other four men were shirtless.
"Rotate Marly in," Thomas shouted.
"You take her 'cause she's too short to spike the ball over the net." Laughter accompanied CJ's teasing comment.
Marly rotated in and served, bouncing the ball off CJ's head.
"Geez, Marly," Johnny razzed her. "The only way you can beat the competition is by knocking them out?"
She aimed the next serve at teammate Johnny, but he expected it and dodged out of the way with a grin.
The other team served, but Marly missed returning the ball over the net.
"How would you like to spike the ball?" Johnny whispered.
"No short jokes, or I won't miss next time."
"Be ready. I'm going to lift you on my shoulders on their next serve."
As he did so, Marly smacked the ball straight down onto the cement courtyard between two unsuspecting brothers on the other side of the net.
"Unfair!" came the chorus of protests.
Afterward, any semblance of rules disintegrated. Two brothers lifted a third to form a pyramid and spike the ball. One brother pulled down the net to let the ball bounce over. They had descended into predictable chaos by the time Tallie rang the bell announcing dinner was ready. **
** Excerpt from PICTURE PERFECT LEGACY, copyright Genie Gabriel