I wasn't there that night, but I know this kitchen well. I had many a Christmas Eve dinner there in the 1970s and early 1980s, all many years before this picture was taken in the late '80s.
According to the timestamp on the picture, which I have cropped off in the version posted here (as I have cropped off the dog, at which Mom was looking when the shutter was snapped), this photograph was made a couple of days after Dad's birthday that year – 1987, when he turned forty-three. What we see here, then, is, I'm pretty sure, a Birthday Dinner; probably that year Dad's birthday fell on a weeknight or some night when Mom and Dad or Tommy and Kathy had other plans, so they celebrated my dad's birthday shortly after his actual birthday.
I'm not sure who took the picture, but there is in the picture some evidence of that person's presence: five chairs at the table, though only four people sit at it; five glasses of tea on the table; five plates; etc. Someone clearly rose, camera in hand, and recorded the night for posterity, as they recorded a few other scenes from that night, but I don't know who that camera-wielding person was.
Other things I don't know: Where I was, or Jeff, or my cousin Rick, that night. However, I do know this: By then we were all teenagers and surely not interested in having dinner with our parents, and too old to be made to do so.
This photograph was made twenty years before Tommy's passing in his late 50s. The house is no longer in the family, but it's still standing, and I drive by it periodically and marvel at how much it's changed. (That's true, actually, of a great many places.) I would love to see the inside of it, to see how much it's changed; I believe that the company that bought the property uses the house as an office, and I doubt it's changed dramatically, the living room and bedrooms making good offices as they were. I have great memories of going there and seeing Tommy and Kathy and playing with Ric. It is one of the important places of my youth, and I treasure the memory of it.