January 18, 2008

Y'all come back now, ma'am...

Five days in Tiny Town, Slow Southern State, where brother (the bro), sister-in-law, (A), and niece, Kayanna, reside. 120 hours with my mother, including hours of one-on-one transit and ho-motel time. (119.5 hours too many for my nervous system.)

We went to celebrate Kayanna's first birthday, and to meet the relatives on A's side. (While the bro's previous wives never earned the title of sister-in-law, A is the mother of my niece, so regardless of what happens to his marriage, which I hope is stable and lasting (previous evidence to the contrary) she will always be related to me, always have a special place in my heart for making me Aunt Alice.

Fortunately it was a big party, first birthdays being more of a celebration that the parents survived a year than that the child did, so we didn't chat much with A's relatives, mostly nodded and stayed on the level of introductions. Surprisingly, my mother didn't drink until after Kayanna's Tinkerbelle-themed fete was over.

(We must thing alike, A and I. Knowing nothing about the party's theme, I had brought Kayanna the perfect complement: a DVD of Peter Pan.)

My niece is perfect: her temperament is serene; she has huge blue eyes, fine blonde hair, incredibly soft and unmarred skin, and the smile of an angel. Sure, I am biased, but my next-door neighbor in Wonderland (with no vested interest) says if Kayanna lived in Wonderland, she would make a great baby model, on the cover of American Baby or its current equivalent, as her daughter was.

Tiny Town is not much to write home (or here) about except for a few details. Unless hearing a Japanese chef with a Southern accent counts for racial diversity, Tiny Town is in the clear on that account. I did, however, notice upcoming observances for Martin Luther King Day, so perhaps the town, all 50,000, did get the integration memo.

It is not cosmopolitan by any stretch of the imagination. The inhabitants are, per Southern custom, exceedingly nice and polite. Shockingly polite to those -- and apparently I am one -- whom they perceive as their elders. Several of the guests at the birthday party said, "yes, ma'am" to questions I posed. Ma'am? Moi?

I'm not sure how long my Yankee mouth and I would last there, but, as Scarlett said, "tomorrow will be another day."

And I shall return (sans mother), to dote again.

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Blogger the only daughter said...

My sister-in-law don't have much in common. We do both love two of her children. She gifted me with a niece and a nephew who I don't see often enough.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous teresa said...

Don't you sort of kind of wish you could take your perfect unmarred niece and keep her somewhere safe, allowing her to make it all the way to bona fide womanhood without getting fucked up along the way? But I guess "taking" your niece and "keeping" her anywhere would amount to interstate kidnapping, jail time for you, and the very trauma you were trying to avoid for her.

The politeness can get to be a might creepy; I pretty much wear my otherness like a winter coat and I KNOW unpleasant thoughts are lurking behind that fa├žade. I don't necessarily want to hear them, but the 180-degree thing is unnerving.

2:49 AM  
Blogger Books, Computers & Puppets, Oh My! said...

The South - love the manners but not the mindset.

11:56 AM  

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