Donner party, table for six…Donner party, table for five…Donner party, table for four…

By Tiber 

My father called the family together for another of his recent pep talks.

“So,” Dad said. “As you know, we’re not quite as…snug in our little financial bed as we once were but-”

“Biggest euphemism of all time!”

My father eye-lasered his oldest son with a “Thank you, Duncan.”

Duncan’s 10 year-old-triplets, maybe in an attempt to defend their father or just because genes are irreversible, spoke up in their usual synchronized monotone.

“Donner party. Donner party. Donner party…”

“Now see? There’s good news right there!” Dad said brightly, causing everyone else to head for the door.

“No, no, I mean, that we’re not in as much trouble as the Donner party!”

“For the moment, ” Duncan replied.

“So we can, at least, savor the moment,” the ever-optimistic Iris Nell added.


Dad was so relieved to find someone sort of on his team.

“And I promise you this. If we ever do get as desperate as the Donner party around here, how about if I ring a bell and everyone can get a running head start?”

This caused my mother to actually express some emotion.

“That’s not remotely fair! I’m bound to be one of the slowest runners in the whole family!“

“Oh, for God‘s sake, Gwen. I was joking! We‘re just…penny-challenged right now. That’s all.”

The triplets started up again, “Donner party. Don-” which Dad mercifully interrupted.

“Come on, kids! We’re not going to end up like the Donner Party at all! You’re old enough now to know the kind of family you come from!”

The triplets then looked at each other and they did proceed in a much more believable direction.

“…’Lord of the Flies’…’Lord of the Flies’…’Lord of the Flies.’”

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