August 15, 2006

Scenes from familyland

I. Familyland North
Familyland north bears some interesting resemblances to earlier generations of Alice's family. My cousin, not his wife, is the primary cook, just as my dad was the chef chez Alice when she was growing up.

His 12-year-old son spent Saturday night at a sleep-over, playing penny, nickel, dime poker; my dad had a weekly poker game -- with higher stakes -- every Wednesday night from 1964 until his death in 1991.

Their nine-year-old daughter got to taste Mommy's wine and comment on the flavor. She said it tasted orangy. She was right.

I am sure her wine vocabulary is considerably more expansive than that. For all I know, in a blind taste-test, she can distinguish a chardonney from a pinot grigio or a merlot from a shiraz.

Both children, when younger, drank their milk from wine glasses -- it was the only way their parents could convince them to swallow the beverage.

No matter the generation, the life lessons seem hard-wired. They are perhaps not the ones that most children learn, but in my family, they are just par for the course.

II. Familyland South

Alice thinks the ink on her brother's third divorce papers may be dry -- it's been at least two weeks, maybe a month. Shortly after he moved out/was pushed last October from his third wife's, he got involved with a woman half his age (she turned 21 in January). Last night he called with BIG news:

The girlfriend is pregnant, and their baby is due in January.

Alice just doesn't know what to make of this. Three marriages, and he manages not to get any of his wives pregnant. But now he wants to be a father, at 42. They've even picked out names, and that's the part that really got to her: whether it's a girl or a boy, following the Jewish tradition of naming a child for a relative who has died, the child will carry either Alice's grandmother's or her father's name.

Am I scared? Yes. Hopeful? Maybe. Excited? Not a chance in hell. When the shock wears off, perhaps there will be more reactions to report. Meanwhile, Alice can't help thinking that when she put the off-White Rabbit to sleep, little did she know that south of the Mason-Dixon line, the rabbit had already died, the old-fashioned way.

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Blogger sporksforall said...

As my very SOuthern mother says about these kinds of things, "well, I declare." By which she means somebody shoulda thought this through. Oh well, happy aunt-hood!

12:03 PM  

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