I live two hours from everyone. My younger sister and father live two hours west of here, my mother and her husband live two hours north of here, and my older sister and her family live two hours northwest of here. We, and my we I mean everyone else in the family, have decided to do Thanksgiving sensibly this year and have one meal in one place; my older sister’s house. We have three, four, oh screw it let’s just have Christmas at everyone’s house this year, yes, we have done that. That’s another rant for another holiday.
Classical music is something I can drive forever on, if it’s good, and this is a boxed set that is good. I dial up sixty-five miles and hour and the road is empty early. It’s eighty miles, and that usually doesn’t translate into two hours but a lot of it is back woods two lane roads, and some of it is in Albany Georgia. Albany is also another rant for another day. I don’t like the town.
My niece has been offered, and she has accepted, a scholarship to Mercer. We are thrilled, but she’s a little taken aback by all the positive attention. I think she see this as something she was going to get, because she worked so hard for it, why wouldn’t she get it? It was mine all along dammit, don’t act so surprised, people! I told her the people at work were happy for her, and she seemed a little confused as to why I would tell the whole world I have a niece who has a scholarship to go to Mercer. Because I have a niece who is going to Mercer, that’s why!
My nephew is still a self centered jerk, but he’s less a self centered jerk than usual. He eats meals with other people now, which is a step up from my older sister slipping his food under his bedroom door, no, that never really happened but it might as well have. The kid has serious issues dealing with people. I can relate. But hiding in his bedroom from family and anyone but his sister and his mother is big trouble, coming up fast.
Both my mother and her husband have gained far too much weight to be healthy and it worries me a lot. Neither look good and neither are very young anymore. My step father has hip issues, and cannot get around like he once could, and I think mom has slowed down because he has. This is worrisome.
My younger sister still sounds like a hick. Not just a hick, but a hick, hick. It’s hard to believe she is a college educated individual who came close to a 4.0 GPA. My father brought over a ton of old VHS tapes of us during the holidays and my sister sounded even worse on tape. The tapes were, ultimately, a bad idea. But my father has been doing that more and more each holiday, dragging us all into one room and cranking up the past, and we’re watching with morbid fascination at some old slow train wrecks.One day we'll watch tapes of the holidays were we all sat and watched tapes of the holidays where we sat ans watched tapes.
There’s a Christmas tape with me with my ex. That made me squirm a bit. I haven’t seen the woman in over seven years, and she mostly exists as some sort of literary device, a sort of work of fiction that was part of my life. I’m not putting her down, or anything like that, but I’ve gotten a lot of writing mileage out of that seventeen dog years I was married. To see a tape of the two of us together was surreal. There was also footage of my younger sister and her ex the next year. She looked at me. I looked at her. The tapes must die.
My older sister is a lost woman. My niece is leaving home, the first to fly the coop, and it’s like watching one person being led to the gallows while another is set free. My niece is ready to go, straining at the leash, and my sister is freaked over the idea her little girl is going to be gone come September of 2010. That’s almost a year away, but every holiday or event brings that day closer.
I really like my brother in law. He’s a very stable, down to earth, and likable person. He’s the type of guy you could call at four in the morning to come get you out of the mud, and apologize for not getting there sooner, get you out, and offer to pay for breakfast. He’s been married to my sister now for almost eighteen years, and I tell you, I couldn’t have lived with her that long.
My brother in law’s parents were there, and they are from a very strict Southern Baptist family, which caused no end of conflict with my sister when she, and the kids, converted to Catholicism. The “Saying of the blessing” thing is not something I’ve ever really gotten into, but it’s a big deal to my sister, her husband, and his family, and it is one of the sticking points. Apparently, I misunderstand the whole thing. The Cath’s have their own way of doing it, which is fine, and the Baptists have their own way of doing it, which is fine, but is either wrong, or more right than the other? Anyway, my brother in law’s father did the honors and after the first hour or so my little sister and I started looking at one another like, “WTF?” Then we started making faces at each other, and had my mother or father looked up, which they would have never done for fear of damnation, they would have freaked. But the man finally wrapped things up after thanking the people in china who make paper plates, and the beavers for cutting down the trees the table were made of, and we fell to feasting. The food was great. Everyone ate too much and afterwards everyone just sort of hung suspended for about an hour or so. My brother in law’s parents had to leave first, and then my mother, and finally I left, too.
I’m stuffed, still, and I’m wondering now if everyone liked me being there as much as I liked being there.