Last night was our annual City Chicken Feast at Grandma 4444's house. It's traditionally our holiday meal together; since Uncle Bob works in retail management, we have our Christmas dinner after Christmas, instead. However, it's also a meal at which there is a fun competition to see who can eat the most city chicken "legs". Historically, the biggest competition is between Mr.4444 and Uncle Bob, even though the young men (Kyle and cousin Robbie) have thrown their hats in the ring a couple of times. This year, Holly's boyfriend, Nate, joined in, too.
[Of course, winning the competition could've been "political" suicide for Nate--Would he dare attempt to beat his potential future father-in-law? That was the question, and I got my answer; he played his City-Chicken hand beautifully, eating just one leg fewer than his potential future father-in-law.]
The fun part about this night is always the way Mr.4444 and his brother approach it, and last night was no exception. Before the meal, there was lots of speculation by the rest of the family. I stirred the pot a little, earlier in the day, when I shared a link to Mr.4444's Training Stomach Capacity method with Uncle Bob, who knew better, of course. (Mr.4444 does not prepare in any way except by going easy at lunch.)
|Kendall, Alayna, Kyle, and 4444 cousins Anna and Robbie|
At dinner, Mr.4444 insisted he really wasn't interested in winning, claiming he'd retired.
He started the meal casually, laughing innocently when we suggested he might be playing off.
We filled up our bellies, along with our hearts; starting with the traditional prayer (a.k.a. Aunt Bethany from Christmas Vacation) continuing with accolades for Grandma 4444's cooking prowess, retelling stories we've heard repeatedly, and ending with a plateful of homemade cookies.
Kyle's girlfriend, Alayna, having met the extended family for the first time,
says she found us to be "crazy, but not in a bad way."
Of course, no 4444 family dinner would be complete without Uncle Bob
laughing so hard that The Vein on his forehead popped out.
As usual, he tried to resist losing control, but with this family, it's inevitable.
No Photoshopping, I swear...
In the end, Uncle Bob won handily, but not without Mr.4444 pretending to try to beat him at the last minute (by requesting that three more legs be added to his plate so that Bob would eat a couple more than he probably wanted to).
In the end, though, nobody cares who wins. There is no prize, we don't remember who won from one year to the next, and no contest is worth choking to death over, certainly; that's not what it's all about. It's about family, fun, and tradition...
...and laughing until we cry.
For more scenes from across the globe, visit the offerings at Unknown Mami.