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Family Dinner: The Screenplay

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FADE IN:

EXT. BACK PATIO – EARLY EVENING

A late-summer evening in a typical suburban backyard. A family of four is gathered around the dinner table. MOM is serving salad on each plate. DAD has just finished filling water glasses. KID 1, age 7,  is fiddling with his vegetables while KID 2, age 4,  has pulled too many napkins out of the napkin holder and is trying to replace them. The yard has some toys scattered around, but you get the sense that the commotion of the day has subsided, albeit briefly.

KID 1

When you grow up, can you do karate as, like, your job?

MOM

Wait – didn’t I put the parmesan cheese out on the table?

DAD

I just saw it here, somewhere. (Lifts up pile of napkins) Hiding right here.

(Everyone settles in and begins eating)

KID 1

I mean, would someone pay you to just do karate?

MOM

Well, you could be a karate teacher, right?

KID 1

I don’t know if I want to teach it. I just want to do it all the time.

DAD

Lots of grownups take karate before or after work, or with their kids, or join karate clubs…

KID 2

Did you know that Saturn is a planet? It has rings. And Earth is a planet too.

MOM

That’s right – we just read that in the space book last night. I think when we go camping we should look for stars and planets and maybe meteor showers.

KID 1

When are we going camping?

DAD

Not this weekend but the weekend after that. Let’s remember to look at the star charts before we leave so we’ll know what to look for.

(Forks clank on plates, eating continues)

MOM

So, did anyone laugh really hard at something today?

KID 1

I wasn’t laughing at first, but there was a kid at lunch who was laughing and milk came out of his nose. That made ME start laughing really hard.

KID 2

Milk came through his nose!?!?!

MOM

One time when I was a kid, my brother started laughing at dinner and by accident he spilled his grape juice all over his plate of spaghetti. Grandma was SO mad.

KID 1

Did he get in trouble?

MOM

I don’t remember – I just remember a big mess. And I remember that I had to walk away because I was trying not to laugh too.

KID 2

I was laughing today because there was a boy who was trying to put a pair of shorts on his head.

DAD

Shorts on his head? Doesn’t he know that you’re supposed to wear shorts on your ears? (winks at KID 2).

MOM

OK, so who had a good day today? Raise your hand.

(Four hands shoot up into the air)

FADE OUT

****

Folks, family dinner doesn’t have to be pretty or fancy or serious, or even Oscar-worthy. It’s just about sitting down together to eat. And you can talk about spilling grape juice in spaghetti, or wearing shorts on your ears. Just talk.

Want to read more? See the Blog for Family Dinner.

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