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Story Archives

Family Story

Andy Corren

By Andy Corren

Mom has a plus-sized can of Maxwell House Coffee clutched to her bosoms, one of those Costco-sized cans you buy for your office, or your camper, or for visiting one of your sons at the Hyde Correctional Institution. Which she has had to do once. Okay, four or five times. Mom doesn’t drink coffee—it makes her paranoid. I sense things are amiss. Why would she carry an entire barrel of coffee on the plane, all the way from Miami to Newport News to Kill Devil Hills? She knows full well you can buy whole beans at the Food Lion for $4.99 a pound. Renay Mandel Corren clearly has a plan.

All I want to do with what’s left of this non-celebratory Passover day is curl up on the couch, watch TV with my probably-gay nephew, gently program him with correct homosexual diction.

I’m too old for my mom to plan for me. So I pretend I don’t see “Free Haggadah With Purchase!” written on the front of the coffee tub. I pretend I don’t see her ripping open a cellophane bag filled with tiny little Jewish hand booklets, and strewing them over the table, her eyes glowing with an unaccustomed religious fervor.

“I didn’t buy it for the coffee!” she triumphantly exults, “I bought it for the free Passover kit!”

Have you ever had a total holiday fail? What did you learn from it?

Andy Corren is a talent manager and playwright in Los Angeles.