This happened 30 years ago but still gets dragged up at family reunions...so I thought you might enjoy it.
We were invited to spend Thanksgiving with my father's relatives. Keep in mind as I tell this that, due to distance, we always spent more time with my mother's family so I actually was not closely acquainted with my father's relatives. I knew most of them by name only, so my parents thought this was a good opportunity for me to get to know them.
The gathering was being hosted by a cousin of my dad's, let's call him "Bob" and his new wife. I had only met "Bob" once, when I was about five years old. I'll call the wife "Linda."
We get to their beautiful home and everything smells wonderful. However badly Linda behaved later, I have to give her points for her decor and fabulous cooking. They had turkey, ham AND roasted deer meat (this is the South, you know) as well as four different kinds of cakes and pies. A long line of luscious-looking side dishes had been set up on folding tables. Little did I know that I'd get to taste little of it.
I was glad to see my cousin "Kelly" because she was someone I DID know and figured at least I'd have someone to talk to because all the other kids were SMALL kids. Instead, "Linda" corralled both of us, put her arms around us, and told us in an overly sweet, overly slow tone (as if we were tiny children) that she was sooo glad to meet us and we are just soooo cute, and how much she needs us to be her "helpers" and we don't mind that, do we? Big overly lipsticked mouth grinning the whole time.
Not knowing what else to do, we say sure. She puts us to work serving food. When at last all the adults are served, we try to make plates for ourselves, but she says, "Oh, no, my helpers get special seats!" She took us into the game room and seats us at tiny tables (we're in our teens) made for the smallest kids and announces that we're each in charge of a kid's table, and to make sure they behave!!!
The kids are being served macaroni and cheese. There is also a plate of macaroni and cheese in front of my place and Kelly's.
To give my mom credit, she looks incredulous and goes back to the buffet and makes a plate for me. Kelly's mom looks dismayed but does nothing so poor Kelly gets mad and cheese too!!
The kids behave like total brats. I try to keep them quiet, but don't know their names or even which relatives they belong to. Linda comes in and gives us all a stern look, says the adults are being disturbed, and tells Kelly and I to "remember that she trusts us!" in that baby talk voice. Big lipstick smirk again.
The dinner is a nightmare and moms keep coming in and out to tend their wailing brats and give me and Kelly dirty looks. They treat us like their personal babysitters. I can't wait to get out of there, but then Linda comes in with the huge gaping red mouth and tells us in baby talk again that she needs her helpers now! You guessed it. Kelly and I are put to work clearing the table and washing dishes.
My parents thought this was tacky but hang around yakking anyway. It was the longest day of my life. I told my dad I could understand why he spent so little time with his relatives if they were all like that! Fortunately we never spent another holiday with them again.