What a bunch a crackers and a salad bowl mix to boot. We're the mesclun of famblies.
The party was held at my sister in law's house. Now her house is a 50's rancher with a one car carport on the end, which she has converted into a porch. Not many people could pull that off but there we sit every time as weather permits, at trash-art cafe tables and wrought iron patio sets. A breeze blows through from front to back and trinkles wind chimes that have been purchased with delight, packed with care and brought home from some kitchsy art village. Half a dozen thriving orchids in as many colors sit on an antique table with chipping paint and just behind those, off the porch in the grass, is a turkey tail fern hanging on a shepherd hook plant hanger. There are beverage buckets around the perimeter here and there and a off the back side of the porch is a small patio vegetable and herb garden with a bluebird feeder and a finch feeder taking center stage. The kitchen door opens from the porch into the house and has cafe curtains hanging on the window that swing & the breeze sorta brushes past your nose & smells like fresh cotton when you open the door to go in. There's metal yard art shaped like a goony bird, toys for the grandkids (and my kids) in one corner, but for the most part, there are people laughing, smiling, eating, drinking, embroiled in conversation, kids running through, and never do you feel you are sitting in a carport.
So. SIL has writer's block and she feels like if she reads us a chapter maybe she'll get unblocked. One character didn't like her name, another didn't want to do what SIL wanted her to. They were not cooperating.
"UNBLOCKED!" says BIL - her own brother, we're speaking of now. "I doan wanna be read tooooo, dayuhm!"
"DAVID, SHIT! QUIT CUSSING, my KIDS are around SOMEwhere!" This is the OTHER brother we're speaking of NOW, who, unfortunately, happens to belong to ME. Well, not unfortunately, but I'm not quite proud to be sharing this particular convo. although it is purty dang funny......
And the worst part is BOTH of these men are in their FORTIES. Jiminy crickets. Meanwhile, sister in law, who has cooked corned beef, mashed potatoes, turnip greens, a ham, a turkey, carrot salad, broccoli slaw, and rolls, and FED these two ungrateful heathens, sits patiently waiting for them to zip up so that she may continue. . . . to unblock. It's like the writer's form of Milk of Magnesia or something.
And sooooo the reading begins. She gets out three sentences and BIL - this is SIL the writer's huuuuusband I'm speaking of this time walks in, "Huneeeeeee, where's the club soda???? I can't find it and - oh gaaad - we need another round of vaadka racks- oy, I can't find nuttin."
So perhaps you've guessed he's not from around heah.
So Donna begins her story about a southern woman (shocker) who is from a long line of women that die before their 65th birthday. This woman is 64 and 10 months. She's planning her funeral. In this particular chapter she's at the beauty parlor having her hair and makeup done exactly like it will be done when she's dead so she can make sure it's gonna be done exactly right. When that's finished she's gonna march over to the funeral home and choose her casket. Just as she's choosing her casket, brother David jumps in-
"So so so how are you gonna market this book, anyhow... it's definately not a romance like that LAST one, whut IS it?"
Clearly it was an attempt to deflect, to redirect, to MAKE HER STOP READING. Didn't work.
SIL is a talented and entertaining southern writer and storyteller. The reading of the chapter ends, containers of tapanade and dip have been polished off, bottles clink into the garbage can, BIL has found his club soda and refreshed the vaadka drinkers. Everyone is still chuckling except brother David who has long since left the scene with a brew in each hand, mumbling some nonsense about audible reading being for kids at bedtime.
By the time we ate dinner it was after 8:00pm. No one noticed. The kids were covered in grass and sweat and I took one look at them and smiled because I knew when we left they'd be asleep before we ever got onto the main road. My sweet, lovin', stinky, sweaty babies.
So SIL and I are the clean-up matriarchs by now it's 10:30pm and I'm loading the dishwasher and SIL hands her son (who is 28) a pot with the turkey and ham grease and says, "Here. Go throw this out at the back corner of the yard. But not in our yard. In the neighbor's yard. But not the nice one. The one we don't like." Van Morrison's singing to us in the background and I can see my SIL's shoulders shaking as she sends her son on his chore. Hehe, I hear.
Minutes go by, we're singing and doing the bump even as we clean up. Mustang SALLY!!
"WHAT!! What's wrong????? Son? WHAT??????"
"I had to run . . . *gasp* back *wheez* ! That big muscle Harley dude came out from that house and hollered Who's there? Who's there - what're you dumpin' in my damn yard??? Then he came after me with a frickin' SHOVEL!!! I had to throw the pot at him - I think it hit him in the head cuz he fell and hollered and now he's not movin - oh what do I DO, WHAT SHOULD WE DO???????"
"Oh my oh my oh my oh GAWD I was jesssss, I mean, ohhhh Caren lawww whadda I .....I.....I.... I should never have I can't believe I just yooooouuuuu nasty little puke you had better run fast cuz if I catch up to you on these arthritic feet yoooooouuuuu I can not beLIEVE I gave birth to such an ungrateful heathern you come back here like a good son and let me beat you senseless you just WAIT until I get my sore ol' hands on you oh if I laugh any harder I'm gonna need a damn Depends YOU - oh where did that boy go? Wah shit.
That twenty eight year old in hiding is my nephew, has a nine year old that's my #1's best bud and his first cousin once removed.
Twenty eight year old nephew's son's Mom's fiance is helping clean up the kitchen. Drops turnip greens on his shoe. MAN DOWN!!! he says. Har. "Wha, who, who's down!!" Brother in law is turning sixty five. Donna's husband. Couldn't be farther from Southern. Jewish. . . from Detroit. What a pair.
Neice turned fourteen. Sister in law (David's wife) turned eighteen with twenty two years of experience.
It was a wild ride, a peaceful slide, and a good time was had by all.