Never Safe From Ridicule At The Dinner Table
In my family, you need to have thick skin. Especially if you were eating with Peter. And no one was immune -- not his mother, Nettie, or his sisters, family, friends, etc. -- from being made fun of, or being the subject of a practical joke or pig squeal. If you were sitting at his table (and all the cousins wanted to sit with him), dinner was going to be fun.
Every time we sat down to dinner, there was a fake choking stunt, or Pete would be putting his fork into your ear, taking a bite of an imaginary item, and make crunching noises in his mouth. No matter what age he was 10 or 46, he would be doing these antics. Even the last Thanksgiving we had together just a couple of years ago, he was doing disgusting things with milk, a straw and his nose.
One week, Peter took my sister and I to "The House of Hocus Pocus" on Coney Island Avenue. He bought 4 vinyl fake vomits and then brought us down to the basement to practice how to make the right noises while we took turns vomiting the fake vomit. So at dinner, just after Nettie served the plates, we were instructed on his count to take the vomit in our hands, and when he made a wrenching noise, to stand up from the table and let the vomit fall from our hands onto our food or the table. He instructed one of his sisters to scream to their mother that the food is poisoned and everyone is sick.
Well, Nettie ran into the room and looked at all the kids with vomit next to their plates while Pete made his best wrenching noises. She ran to the table, look real hard at the vomit and screamed at Pete, "What's the matter with you!" When his mom screamed at him, Pete couldn't keep a straight face anymore and he burst out laughing.
I remember I was the rat, who told Nettie that "Peter made us do it."
The rest of dinner was filled with fake wrenching noises from Pete and the sound of uncontrollable giggling from the nieces at the dinner table until Pete's father yelled at us to "stop it already."