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JOBEN RIVERA-THOMPSON: Saturday morning brings pancakes

  • Thursday, September 12, 2013

Four of the five most important women a man could have gathered around a syrup-soaked table for conversation and breakfast on Saturday at that other breakfast joint in North Augusta not sporting a jukebox: the Sunrise Grill.


The fifth, a man’s sister – a woman on her way to redemption – was traveling up to Sumter to take care of some relationship issues.


And somehow, over coffee and bacon, her story became the Latino reality series TLC has yet to film.


“She should really take some time to find herself,” my aunt said, commenting on how emotional my sister can become.


“She really is deserving of so much more,” my mother added, as my head, like a camera, swiveled to and fro, looking for the next addition.


Thank God the pancakes interrupted.


Breakfast is one of those food genres that are hard to ruin. I’m not so certain anyone who goes out to eat breakfast is concerned about the taste of the food, but the conversations that ensue. No one really wants to take the time on a weekend morning to make breakfast. Instead, it is much easier to huddle or barrel into an established restaurant in the craft. Plus, getting to discuss the week that was is sort of the treat.


Still, sometimes it’s just good to eat pancakes on Saturday.


If it wasn’t for pancakes, our table conversation could have gotten out of hand and my sanity under foot. It could have up and turned Latina, like one of those telenovelas where no one is exactly sure what anyone is talking about, yet it is still entertaining and hard to turn away from.


The pancakes were on the table and I was content to eat. I, the only man present, had no interest in ruining my meal with heavy conversation. My family had other plans. They wanted to dissect every angle of my sister’s life in the time it took to eat.


I get it. Around the table some of the best ideas are birthed, and the reality is that these women have poured into her life as much as they have mine. My grandmother is definitely the handle of it all, my aunt the spout and when you tip her over, my mom comes out. I’ve yet to “metaphorize” my wife. I’ll get back to you on that one.


They spew intentionality. Each in their own right is so highly concerned with others, I’m not sure if they have ever taken a moment for themselves.


“I had not planned my life this way,” my aunt began to say until interrupted by my mother.


Mother, like a teenager, pulled out her phone and played a personal game of show and tell. She wanted to show my wife que bello was her grandson amid my aunt’s words of how she had her life planned her way, but God saw fit for something better. From there, my aunt just stopped and looked in her direction.


Over the years, I have come to call these subtle stops and starts between these two “pillow fights” that never saw their final round: two sisters fighting for attention. No matter if mom or dad is coming up the hallway, one of them of them will get the other one back when they least expect it, even if it’s 40 years later.


If my sister could have been there to hear the advice being thrown out for her or see the example displayed, I would have told her to get what you can from this and when you’re finished, I’ll take your pancake.


JoBen Rivera-Thompson is a Spanish teacher of Puerto Rican heritage at Fox Creek High School. He has Bachelor of Arts in journalism and Spanish from Georgia Regents University. He has written for The Bell Ringer and Garden City Jazz Journal.




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