Thursday, February 04, 2010


There we were, all of us Christensen siblings, separated for months and reunited once again. We were lounging on couches, chairs, cushions-- whatever we could find in the heavenly mishmash of furniture our mother keeps around the house-- talking, laughing and feeling content. Kristian ambled away and returned moments later from the kitchen. He was holding a container of cookies in one hand and a can of prunes in the other. In a gesture of generosity and genuine good will, he walks up to my sister, Koseli.

"Cookie?" he asks.
She replies, "No, thank you."
He turns to leave, but then, almost as an afterthought, he turns again and questions, "Prune?"
"Ooh!" she says as she looks up with sparkling eyes. "Don't mind if I do!"
She takes a single prune and Kristian moves on to Kari.
"I really couldn't... but I will have a prune," Kari replies promptly.
Shirsti is next. Without a word she pries the lid off the can of prunes and takes a small handful.

Slowly Kristian makes his way around the room. One by one, cookies are denied and prunes are taken in their stead. I watch in growing wonderment.
When Kristian arrives to me I hesitate. I do not want a prune, but I feel obligated to take one. I look around at my siblings, happily munching, and I remember the faraway and much younger voice of my mother asking a much younger me, "Have you had a B.M. today?" I feel my mouth twitch at the corner and I say, in a far more demanding way than intended,
"No prunes. Cookie."

Our parents' push for healthy digestion must have made a lasting impression on us.