Members of the Hughes family claim they were on high alert as soon as they entered the home and noticed the delicate sound of a dulcimer coming from the kitchen, but it wasn’t until they heard the mournful timbre of Canada’s reigning folk queen punctuated by the deliberate slamming of kitchen cabinets that they knew something was seriously wrong.
“Whatever it is, it must be serious. I mean she’s listening to Blue for Christ’s sake,” said 14-year-old Emily. “I don’t know what upset her this time – we did the dishes and took the trash out, but she still keeps walking by our bedroom doors and loudly sighing during the musical interludes”
While being subjected to their matriarch blasting Canadian singer-songwriters on a decades-old CD player is nothing new to the Hughes children, they are quick to add that with Joni, the outlook is often bleak.
“Basically, when dad fucks up it’s a couple days of Alanis Morissette, or when her old friend from college calls we get a week of KD Lang and then things go back to normal. But Joni… Joni is an entirely different beast,” warned 16-year-old Tyler. “This is likely the start of a major downfall. Our one saving grace is she hasn’t pulled her old college guitar from the attic so we’re not quite at DEFCON 1 yet.”
“She hasn’t even got to The Last Time I Saw Richard and when she does, I know we’re going to learn some things that will shatter our sense of familial security in ways we won’t be able to process for years to come,” added 17-year-old Kylie.
“I miss last week when she was happy and just kept listening to Paul Simon ”
The children went on to explain that, in times like this, they feel it’s best to flee the scene and wait out the storm like their father, Bill, who has spent the better part of the day quietly sipping Laker Lager in the garage while watching a seven part World War II documentary.
When reached for comment, Mrs. Hughes was quick to give a devastating and ominous glimpse into her current mindset.
“I wish I had a river I could skate away on,” she said, bracing herself against the kitchen sink and looking listlessly out the window, “I wish I had a river so long.”