I had dinner with my parents and brother on Christmas Day. They said that they had to eat somewhere “nice” (read as, “expensive”) to impress their friends. We went to 13 Coins where meals cost $25 to $50. I ordered a dinner salad because I couldn’t spend that money on food I could readily prepare at home – I would have rather spent it on gifts for homeless waifs.

I received a grand glimpse of my brother’s power of persuasion. My brother jokes, kids and then derides people if they don’t think and act like him. His step son has been in and out of jail and his own son has also had his stint in jail as well as jobless and homeless. My brother is not a good role model but then his own dad was not a role model as well. It is how generations turn with each birth of a decade. The sad turn of families if not seen in advance.

My brother would tease and deride my parents. I felt something different about my parents at that dinner. They were sad, bleak, and there was a general darkness about them – overshadowed, maybe. As my mother gets older and weaker, she becomes more susceptible to his games of words. Shaken by something that he said in a very offhand manner, she tried to laugh it off when he said, “just kidding.”

My inquiry was as to his age. He is 56. He should know better than to jest with mom like that.

It saddened me. And now, I am at a loss as to the approach.


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