American Supper

The “American Supper” without a single burger

Was not the worst of the PTA’s sins that year

Because we’d already survived “French Day”

With the kids in stripy black and white,

All wearing berets, and carrying strings of onions.

And German Day had, of course, been predictably sausage-centred,

Although there was a significant absence of beer steins

And, frankly, I’d expected lederhosen,

And some thigh-slapping dancing,

But perhaps that would have been too much like a good time?

It was well known that the PTA and the concept of a good time

Were many steps removed.

Or so said Mr Cooper, before showing up in costume, anyway.

On German Day, he looked like a refugee from “The Producers,”

So, it was a good thing they didn’t let him sing.

The American Supper at least had hot dogs,

Or what passed for hot dogs,

Because someone had remembered the buns and the mustard,

And the Cumberland sausages were distantly related to the genuine article,

If you squinted, wore a blindfold, and perhaps held your nose.

And someone had remembered the flags,

Which had been printed off on the school printer,

And were almost accurate,

If you didn’t count the stars.

No, the worst thing about the “American Supper”,

If you discounted the lack of burgers,

And the incorrect sausages,

And the fact that someone had brought vol-au-vents, for pity’s sake,

Was what the great minds in the PTA had decided to call it.

“Supper” wasn’t a thing in my childhood,

For us it was always “dinner,”

On the days when we had something for dinner.

“Supper” was a middle-class, South East England thing,

A “separate the haves from the have-nots” sort of thing,

A “make-the-young-teacher they mistakenly think is one of them feel inadequate” sort of thing.

“Supper” was the reason I was cringing all night.

“Supper” was the word that curdled my intestines even more than the mustard,

Which – by the way – was Colman’s of Norwich and not French’s, as it should have been.

“Supper” was the thing that had me smirking and wondering what they’d come up with next.

I was confidently predicting “Spanish High Tea”,

Although, on further reflection,

“St Lucian Elevenses” has quite the ring to it, don’t you think?

The PTA certainly thought so.

Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Safe and Sound Press. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains unproduced but available to interested producers! 

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