So I’m pretty sure I know nothing about my family.
A few weekends ago, we headed over to Pocatello, Idaho (you daho!) for my cousin’s wedding. My father, RJ, and me. We met my grandmother and uncle over there and RJ and I got to bunk up with ol’ granny for two nights. Needless to say, we watched a lot of CNN. But we also introduced her to the Food Network which is a very good thing, considering she has almost every episode of every daytime show on Animal Planet memorized.
My uncle, however, has not changed in any way, shape, or form. He condescendingly told us we needed to pay more attention to nature so God could teach us some lessons. This directly before he tried to convince us to go see the lava hot springs in 105 degree weather. Maybe another time, Tommy. For dinner, he made us walk to the restaurant, then forbid me to order anything but a salad, calmly telling me I didn’t need to eat anything else – just look at me. RJ got away with ordering buffalo wings which turned out to be disgusting, but he nixed her ordering anything else, telling her she needed to eat them and learn her lesson. I ordered some mozzarella sticks for her.
On the way home, I learned some interesting things about my uncle. He wanted to be a priest, then he decided he didn’t agree with the Catholic church. Talk about a turnaround. He also has a PhD in environmental biology, worked for the government, was a Core of Engineers whistleblower and a nationally published political cartoon artist. He throws a mean softball pitch as well. And now he’s just some weird single almost 60 year old who drives up and down the west coast trying to start home churches and buying rocks to sell in the galleria.
My grandma made 200 fans by hand for this wedding. She enlisted the help of Kiki to adorn them with the name of my cousin and her beloved. She brought along a camera and then used it to take pictures of me knitting and of my dad’s new digital camera. She also provided for some high entertainment when she lost her dentures. My grandmother is hilarious to watch when she’s around people she thinks less of. We were around a lot of those people on this trip. She’s all sugar to their faces and plenty of spice after they’ve walked away. It’s not a good way to be, but it’s still pretty darn funny.
Turns out, my grandmother married my grandfather after knowing him three weeks. She’s a native of Seattle, him of Zanesville, Ohio. They met on a dude ranch and he saved up gas vouchers for two weeks to go see her in order to propose. It was during world war two and he worked out at Hanford on the nuclear bomb project. His family was from upper crust society. My grandmother’s family wasn’t. That caused a lot of friction between in laws on the subject of wedding etiquette. They were married in their future farm house. I’m not sure if my great grandfather walked my grandmother down the aisle – he disappeared while prospecting for gold in Oregon and was never seen again. My grandfather received carte blanche in choosing a lot to build the house my grandma lives in now. My grandmother chose one across the street from woods and a stream, figuring it’d be good for their kids to play in. Six weeks after they moved in, the government bulldozed it all to build a middle school.The cousin who got married is one of my two favorite cousins. My other favorite cousin got married last weekend in California. This cousin, Maria*, married a Mormon. Which for most people, doesn’t seem to be weird. Until you find out my cousin was raised in the Brethren church. My aunt has practically been disowned by her in-laws for attending the local Calvary Chapel. Maria’s husband left the Mormon church to marry her. I think it’s a good thing he did, and not because I believe the Mormon religion is false. Mostly because if he’s willing to leave his religion for a woman, he must not have been very dedicated to it in the first place. His mother wore black to the wedding (it was almost 100 degrees), and told everyone she was in mourning for the death of her son (the one getting married). I thought that was sad and not very supportive. And a bummer for her that her other son is head over heels in love with Maria’s younger sister. It was a strange wedding. All the Mormons on one side, all the Brethren on the other, and then our little family of outcasts. We left the Brethren when I was in fourth grade. So no one was really in the mindset to acknowledge us. It was cool, in some ways, because we were first in line as family, and got our pick of tables.
My grandma’s fans were a hit. My uncle visited with so many people he almost passed out from the heat and exertion, but no worries, he replenished his body with much water, vegetables, and fruit. And I ate cake and hugged my cousin before she headed off to Jamaica.