Linda Treiber

Linda Treiber
April 04
a.k.a. Linnnn
You are cordially invited to close your eyes and throw a dart at any one of the titles listed in "My Links" below. Those stories are all bits and pieces of me. Let me know what you think...


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1 Act Play - 4 Generations of Women
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Random, Because I Can
I Fought the Law and...
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Editor’s Pick
JULY 22, 2010 8:28PM

Dad's Mandatory Family Dinners or The Unusual Usual

Rate: 53 Flag


Yes.  It's us.  And a cat.

“Get in here and eat this!” 

Mom usually let half the civilized world know that she had slaved away over a hot stove to provide grub for our weekday night ritual of MANDATORY FAMILY DINNER. 

The clash of silverware and crockery being slammed around usually punctuated her general well-established loathing for cooking, but we always ate well.

“Put on a damn shirt, hang up the damn phone, put the damn basketball away and let’s go,” said dad after his nightly bourbon and water and Huntley-Brinkley.  

It was like herding cats to break us away from our oh-so-important kid activities for a meal, and dad cracked the whip buckaroo-style when he needed to.   No shirt, no vittles was the rule.  Bare feet were ok though. 

We never wore shoes.

Every “school night” my little brothers and I would troop into the chic burnt orange and avocado colored kitchen to sit at the FAMILY TABLE that I had previously set with plates, glasses full of milk and utensils. 

We each had our places and never deviated for fear of knocking the earth off its axis or something even more dire.   Dad across from Jon,  Mom across from me, and Chris being the odd third kid born later, sat on the end of a big brown Formica rectangle. 

That worked out best as he, more often than not , had to make a hasty escape.

Dad had his iced tea in front of him, brewed very dark and sweating with cool droplets of condensation.

“Who’s saying grace?’ 

I would just stare at his tea until someone else volunteered. 

Chris, the youngest and, by birth order probably the most reckless, rose to the occasion on occasion.  He’d reverently fold his grubby hands, bow his curly haired head, suppress a giggle and shout at the top of his lungs:


And if dad could’ve reached him, he’d get a smack on the side of his head.   But because I was in the way, I usually got the brunt of his lunge.  

I am an expert at ducking, which came in mighty handy later in life.  Another story, that.

Everything was usually usual.  Except for what happened on one very unusual night.

The nightly ritual began as usual and went something like this:

“What did you learn in school today?”


“Why is (Insert Nun’s Name Here) calling me?”

“Don’t know.”

“Did you feed the cats and the skunk and the guinea pigs and the mice (Insert Other Exotic Pet Here) today?”

“Yeah, dad.”

“How was swim practice?”


“Who broke a glass today?  Your mom told me…”

“He did!” 

Jon and I point at Chris, who just rolled his eyes and loaded a fork with something to fling at us.

“D’ja clean it up?”

“Yeah, dad.

Then, after contemplatively munching his salad and looking at each of us curiously with half squinting horn-rimmed eyes –

Wait for it, wait for it…

“Want to hear what I saw in the office today?”

 Mom: “No.”

All three of us in jacked-up unison, hands clapping with glee:  “Oh yeah!


Whilst savoring glistening piles of spaghetti noodles covered in chunky red sauce, parmesan cheese and meatballs, he would describe in extra technical (gory) detail a boil he lanced or a hemorrhoid he vanquished. 

Who knew rubber bands were so handy? 

Sometimes he’d tell about drunken puking handcuffed patients whose scalps he  sutured together as the police waited in the corridor. 

Or about the crazy nuts kid who pushed all the furniture up against the examining room door so not to get a booster shot. 

(Dad’s nurse Marty, a wily ex-Navy nurse, tricked that kid into thinking dad was Clark Kent moonlighting as a doctor but on a special mission.  The kid submitted to the needle rather than shame himself in front of Superman.)

We knew hemoglobin, and femurs, and synapses, and the sizes of big bore needles, and pre-eclampsia and metatarsals and uteruses and breech birth and sphincters. 

He spoke of this mysterious virus that was killing men right and left in Ft. Lauderdale and how he could swear it was changing its nature to avoid antibiotic treatment. 

He lavished tales upon us of extracting still wriggling tropical parasites and cleaning out suppurating insect bites and setting compound fractures that looked like broken tree limbs.

He gloried in all things that spewed, smelled, winked, leaked or had to be lopped off to prevent infection…Nothing was too sacred and nothing blunted our appetites for information or for dinner.  All his case accounts, no names attached, were spectacular, the more intricate and invasive the better.

Dad was a medical genius.  Marcus Welby, M.D.  could suck eggs.

As the meal wore on, like clockwork, my brother Jon, every single night would get excited and spill his milk all over the table.  Dad would then routinely end his tales by angrily sending Jon to his room. 

Truth is, somehow dad thought Jon did it on purpose.  He may have.  Jon is the doctor now in the family.

And he always got out of doing the dishes that way!

Here’s what happened that particular magnificently messed up night though.  Dishes were the least of it.

Dad, all spun up from telling tales, expressed his faux-fearsome disgust for the milk spilling with dramatic arm gestures and the threat of getting out of his chair, his hand on his belt. 

Once the moose was loose, run away.

This night however, in mid-bellow, he froze, half out of his chair and his face clenched like a catcher’s mitt.


Dad flopped back into his chair, threw his size 13 bare foot up on the table, literally splashing down into his plate of spaghetti. 

A thin spray of arterial blood and sauce geysered up from it arcing over the table to gently, like a sacrament, anoint the face of my brother Jon.

Sticking out of dad’s foot was a large jagged piece of glass still sporting part of the Hamburglar decal from a Happy Meal of long ago.

Chris literally dematerialized in a slip stream of particles as though Spock finally got the transporter to lock onto his coordinates on a hostile planet.

Jon sat shocked and staring like Carrie after the prom.  His face was spattered with blood like some demonic fusion of a Pollock crossed with a Warhol, a Dali and a smidge of a Picasso.  

Mom, holding her hand over her mouth, lurched down the hall at a clip.  She could be heard trying to discretely lose her cookies. 

Dad just looked at me, then looked at his spurting foot, then looked at me and said:

“Get my bag.  You’re going to learn how to stitch a wound tonight.”




There’re more where that came from! Click on the titles below for more Family Stories:

Dad Creates A Stir

Dad’s Sunday Lesson or Jesus in My Tummy and the F-Word

Dad Builds Character

Dad’s Mandatory Family Dinners

Of Mice and Dad

Of Mice and Dad: The Tail of the Tale

Georgia Justice Hostage Show: Aunt Polly’s Ordeal in Cordele

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Your stories of your father never fail to amuse, even when there is spurting blood involved.
Well, now, THAT'S a family dinner!! And what a good-lookin' family!
this was great..
Marcus Welby...:)
Rated with hugs
I did not see that coming at all. Well spun.
Wow and wow! My brothers tried to outdo each other telling
"gross-out" stories at the dinner table. I'm glad they never met your Dad. This is such an entertaining tale! Great stuff...
That is the BEST story EVER! I do mean EVER! Pretty dang cool family you have there..
i just love your dad.
Dear, dear friends who read my stuff,

I had a big needle medical procedure today (go figure I'm posting this particular story tonight...ha!) and I am flippin' sore. I'll be catching up on reponses to your comments in the morning.

Oh! And no worries. B-9 again! I'm livin' large!

What Cranky said. And, BTW, is that your dad in the photo or was Joe Biden visiting that day?
Hope you are feeling better! I'm thinking that this is damned hysterical and perfectly laid out and that if I'd grown up in your household I would have been much thinner after losing my appetite during dinner. great stuff! Many thanks for the laughs! Too funny!
Awesome! I love your family dinners!!
Now, THAT sounds like a good time!!!!
Hilarious but I would have rated for the Huntley-Brinkley reference alone.
We seldom had sit down meals at the kitchen table because my father and one or more of us kids was running a chemistry experiment there. How we learn. Great post as usual
Linda, I think you've made me lose my appetite:) So well told!
What?!?! This didn't get an EP or cover? It's the best family story of the day. What a delightful tale. Thanks.
My husband used to cringe and turn very pale when we had company for dinner and someone asked me about my day. I was an OR nurse and loved telling tales about my job. Many people learned not to ask.

I think I'd have loved your dad, spurting arterial blood and all. At least it spurted on spaghetti and red sauce. What if it had landed on fried chicken and mashed potatoes? Could have ruined it for everyone. Did your poor mom ever learn to tolerate the--interesting--dinner conversation?

This is such fun, Linnn--thanks! Rated. D
Linnnn, this is just great. And an awesome ending. Do we get a sequel?

And your drive-by mention of the AIDS virus dates it perfectly.
I will expect to see this one on the cover as soon as the editors see it! What a great story!
Bonnie: Isn't it ironic? Jon suffered for his art. More than anyone knows. His med school was in Grenada. That story's coming...if he'll let me.

CC: I am enjoying remembering the quirky times to whic he contributed heavily. You honor me with your attention. :)

Mizz Vance: There was this whole other modelling and acting side to the fam that mom was in charge of...That was our "comp" for a season.
Linda: Ol' Marcus didn't get any play in our house! Thanks!

cartouche: Nor did I! I am honored by your attention. Thanks.

Doireann: Oh they'd've loved my dad! Thank you for rerading.

Mizz Lady: Oh dang I am blushing! You are such a sweetheart!

dianaani: I do too. He likes hugs and his Louis LAmore books these days.
Matt: WTF? Biden!?!?!? I owe you a spank for that. But I love that you keep reading my stuff. xo

Muse: With respect to each, I have been hearing of so many bad daddies of late, and mine is nuanced but deep down a good, good man. The Good Daddies need some exposure too, so...

Poppi: Always a new thing, never boring. Thank you. Your Nellie piece was disturbing yet awesome! Thanks.

Kit: You'd have fit right in! Yes it t'was.

nerd cred: "Good night Chet." "Good night David." Bwaahahahahaa! How things have changed...

jack: Good god, man, you're a SPAMMER selling shoes with subtley pervy names. Bones for audacity, dude!
Token: Our science experiments were in the backyard...Dad had a soft spot for exotic pets. One such did effect the kitchen once...that story's next

Linda: Oh I think not Mizz Way Cool M.D, herself. You've seen it all too and probably have some doozy stories of your own. :)

Walter: Shhh! Their sleeping. Let them get their beauty rest. Don't want any cranky editors. xo for you lovely thought.

They're sleeping...

I feel better now. Typos happen, but gad man, that one's a bear!
Yarn Over: Mom sometimes contributed things she'd hear on news reports, so she was no angel. Just never let your elbows hit the table or you could end up perforated by a fork!!

mLeeS: You are such a loyal reader of my stuff. Thank you. Life's rough enough so laughing is a remedy that you don't have to co-pay for.

Mr. Bard: Yeah, spooky how I remember casual conversations from dad, and some of his doc buddies about that really resistent infection they were all seeing...Not until about '83 did anyone talk about it being linked to the gay community. Until then nobody really cared if you were gay or not...
kate: You rock! I have no patience whatsoever with sewing clothes. No, you win!

sophieeh: Honey, you are welcome at my family dinner table anytime. Eveeryone here at OS is...
Dear Open Salon Editors,

Thank you so much for The Pick.

I am not sure you get thanked enough for providing this community in the "ether" for us. It is such a privilege and a pleasure to come here, kick off my shoes and just spin one. It's a balm to a restless soul. Many souls.

So thank you very much. Very much.

~Linda Lenzen Treiber
chris was sitting in the right place. whew.

you had a skunk?
What a story teller you are Linnnnnn... pretty good material to draw from too! Awesome
And I thought suppers at my alcoholic grandfather's table were epic. Whoa. You told this hilariously, Linnnn.

This is one of the coolest Dad stories I've heard in a long time . . . maybe ever!
I literally read this on the edge of my chair...I can't stand blood. I was ready to stop...just in case. What a thrill.
That was cool. Especially Chris dematerializing.
his face clenched like a catcher’s mitt...that's perfect! I love how this conversation took place over spag and meatballs. Gory! And awesome! Doctor's are so cool and so scary and...well, teach us a lot about a to duck being, yes, quite useful. The pose your papa strikes in that photo says so much. Rated for blood and stiches and the hasty escape.
Great Story! We had family night, but they couldn't hold a candle to yours. I think I spilled some tea once. Boring, huh?
Not what I expected, from the family photo at the top! You write vividly and with a wry sense of humor. Nice twist at the end.
Oh GEEZ - I'm not taking abuse anymore for the tame conversations we have at our table. My crowd goes a shade whiter over mention of a foley catheter!!

I'm putting this on a t-shirt, 'Once the moose is loose, run away'
I forgot to comment - the resemblance between you and your mom is striking. Beautiful women rock!
This was such a fun read - I had no idea where you were going with it but the end was surprising and cool ! Handsome parents too!
My goodness! Sounds like a movie scene!
Wonderful story. Sorry I didn't comment earlier, I was fixing dinner.
This is so well told. Amazing story.
Loved this, Linda! I love everything from the family photo to Chris dematerializing to the great ending. Great job...this is hilarious. My younger sister always used to leap up after the meal and start clearing and putting condiments away...she sat on the end where it was easiest to escape, too. Her "willful helpfulness" was insurance that I (trapped at the back of the table until everyone else got up) invariably got asked to do the dishes every night. NEVER underestimate the cleverness of the younger sibling...!
whoa. didn't see that coming! great piece on the family dinner. did you disinfect with bourbon?
Cool, indeed. Most mandatory family dinners are dull and depressing but it doesn't seem that yours were.
how AWEsome! I'd have loved to have had that exposure as a kid.

Great tale, well-told.

Best dinner story EVER!!!!! ;D

Rated and what the hell, Tink Picked!!!!
Love this story. What a great looking family. B9 is wonderful._r
Dare I say it -- a slice of life, literally.

And your family looks like the model family that came in the wallet when you purchased it.
Smart, funny, extraordinary. One of the best things I've read in a long time.The intricate rules of one family's life, like having to wear a shirt to dinner but not shoes, are showcased wonderfully. Congrats on the EP.
you got to do stitches?! right at the dining room table!? nothing that cool ever happened in my family, I got robbed
Love being a fly on the wall of this! (r)
Damn, this is good. Swashbuckling fun -- and superbly told. What a riot! After reading a slough of sob stories on OS, I came across this, and it was like a dash of cool water -- or a spurt of blood -- in the face. I am now officially refreshed. Enthusiastically rated!
Being a queasy eater, I don't know that I ever would have made it through a meal at your house - but that didn't stop me from enjoying your memories. So, did you get to do the stitches?
Waaay coool! Your writing just gets sharper and sharper.
Again, nice write. Reminds me of home. Thanks for this.
I love it when the editor's are right! It is always a pleasure to read your post.
This was a fun read. My dearly departed father in law was a general surgeon. Best story I have is his ability to give himself his own vasectomy after his office staff left. Claimed the hardest part was tying the surgical knots backwards in a mirror.
Just found this one...I love it! What a great storyteller you are, complete with a fabulous memory for detail...
Oh my this was the same at my house! Except it was Bourben and water and Walter Cronkite!
We would have a periodical family meeting about all the crap us kids did or didn't do that mom ratted us out on. And GRADES good gosh the grades--I always ended up with c's and d's but my dad would say "Christine gets the best grades and she's only got one good eye!"