I am like you. It’s true. Like so many of you, I have family. In fact, a select few of you actually ARE my family. And like so many families we celebrate birthdays as we did this past weekend. (This is the part where my actual family is saying “Oh, no” because they’re afraid they did something I can make into funny.)
The standard practice for the celebration of family birthdays consists of a meal at a restaurant and piling up at Granny’s house where we have cake and do our best to bribe someone into turning down the thermostat before one of us spontaneously combusts. It’s a little warm. When you have to go OUTSIDE in August to cool off, it may be time to bump down the temp a notch or two. Anyway, that’s what we do for adult birthdays. Kid birthdays usually involve a few hyperactive hours at the bowling alley or some establishment that specializes in blow-up playgrounds. Then of course the adults will accompany the children to the top of the massive bouncy, rubbery slide under the guise of helping them. However, in my family that ends up being my father, aka Great Uncle Pow-Pow aka PeePaw, and my uncle Dean ever-so-gently knocking the kids at the top down the slide as they line up one by one to be pushed. That’s also my mother, Nonnie, bouncing down the slide with one solitary yip, not unlike a Chihuahua, as she hits the surface the first time. Every time she slides.
This birthday, though, was an adult birthday. My aunt Dodie was turning 34*. We opted out of the meal, but did make a cameo afterwards at Granny’s. As soon as we got there Sully got passed off and Connor went in search of the bowl of cat food and/or Daniel, which could be either of his cousins. (To his credit, though, one of them is actually named Daniel; David is the other one, but we think Connor is calling for David when he says Daniel.)
Ordinarily, most of the men break off to watch whatever sport may be on. Everyone else, which I guess would be the women in this case, sit and chatter about whatever comes up. Some of our topics this past Saturday included but were not limited to who’s pregnant, the inappropriate words we may have inadvertently taught our children, class reunions, local goings-on (this time, Rome’s 175th anniversary/toga party), and the occasional bawdy topic that may sneak in. (I don’t wanna say.)
My very own blog was also mentioned. (Tell your friends.) Shortly thereafter, the lightbulb popped up over a few heads that anything good that was discussed may just make it to the internet. So even with the knowledge that no one wants to tell me anything interesting now, I continue to write. Damn you. See, I can even write about what you DIDN’T say to me! Ha ha! You’ll never keep me down. (Link to my blog.)
Two things remain true at these gatherings. Even with so many conversations going on at one time, you can still hear your name if it’s said across the house. And then you will yell and ask what is being said. The other thing is, again with so many conversations going, if two people lower their voices in an attempt to speak privately, everyone else will stop talking, look, and try to hear what is being said. If you’re lucky, you’ll notice in time and stop yourself from continuing. How my family can notice the quietest conversation amidst the chicken coop’s worth of talking, cluckery if you will, is beyond me. For the record, that was me and Kelli, and trust me, you don’t want to know.
We also began the Christmas season. We start early so we can get done early, but we don’t. Everyone buys for the kids, the adults draw names. It is a time-honored tradition. Forgetting whose name you have is another part of the tradition. It’s supposed to be a secret whose name you’ve drawn, but we pretty much all have it figured out by Thanksgiving. Just in time for the day after Thanksgiving shopping trip. Yes, we’re one of those families. We are not, however, one of those families who gets neon yellow shirts printed up saying “The Jablonsky Family Black Friday 2007.” I hate those people.
Yes, the day after Thanksgiving we trek to a shopping mall, usually Town Center, before daylight to buy three presents before noon and eat at whatever generic restaurant is in the mall, only to find out that they don’t have the quiche that I like. Man, why do we always eat there? Outback, for once, I’m just saying. We are not a ‘bistro’ type family; we don’t wear berets.
If you find yourself at Town Center this year, ask for Tomasi. And remind my aunt Diane that’s the name we’re under; she’ll be the one standing there looking around for someone she knows.
Also attending the birthday soirez was a dude that I don’t personally know, as it was his family debut at Granny’s. He was quiet, he was sitting, he was my cousin Sarah’s boyfriend. Now, I never caught his name and I believe he may be a mute, but for all intents and purposes I’m going to refer to him as Ace. Ace learned a very important lesson that day; my family is loud and intimidating. He also learned that from now on he needs to reciprocate when someone waves at him. It’s all right; my husband had a panic attack when he met the whole family.
So that’s how we roll. And to whoever got my name, don’t let this blog sway your purchases in any way.
* I don’t know how old she actually is, but I thought 34 was a good number to go with. Unless you’re actually younger than that.