FOPOB (father of POB (partner of blogger)) is a hard guy to pin down. He doesn’t like to “commit” to coming over for Sunday night dinner when he is in the City (and not at his beach house). This weekend was no exception: he wasn’t able to say yes or no when asked again yesterday. He’d let us know. Ok.
In fact, he let us know by coming over at 3:15pm, unannounced. That’s so early even for MY dad who would come at 9am, if we let him. That’s ok. I couldn’t even emerge from the bedroom until 3:45pm. Then I felt guilty and let POB escape to the kitchen. At 4:15pm, FOPOB was itching to watch the Giants game. And in a slightly-passive-but-really-overly-aggressive move, I told SOS (our son, source of sanity) to keep FOPOB company, believing full well that SOS would get bored within 5 minutes and start trying to convince FOPOB to change to either Nature or Discovery channels. And it would drive FOPOB nuts.
You think that wow I can be awfully mean sometimes. Yes, yes, I can.
Somehow, despite my best-laid plans, SOS started to get into the game. (My son: the child who went from worrying about the euro crisis to watching people gratuitously concuss each other in 48 hours. I am having whiplash and I will remind him of this indignity until the day I die or the guilt kills him — whatever.) The Giants versus the Redskins. The Redskins? Really? Do we still have teams with humans (in this case, Native Americans) as mascots? Haven’t we progressed as a civilization? Oh, wait, that is my way left-of-center whine. I am a centrist now. I digress.
FOPOB was impatient at cocktail hour (6pm) because the Redskins (pause, take a deep breath) were beating the Giants. And, because HOSOB (husband of SOB (sister of blogger)) and CB (cousin birder) were talking about bird nerd things that even a loving and adoring sister-in-law and cousin could not possibly abide. SOB was seeking shelter in the kitchen with POB, leaving me to referee the “boys”.
So I threw out random things, like the blue inner feathers of a mallard and the way hummingbirds make their calls with their feathers, to bring the conversation within normal nerd parameters. Nothing doing. DOB (Dad of blogger) rather adeptly tried to steer the conversation away from what could have been mortal boredom (did I mention how much I adore HOSOB and CB?) by musing about the difference in conversations he had when he was our age 20 years ago. OK, DOB, that was 40 years ago when you were our age, but who is counting. Yes, it was just after the 60s and you were wearing mustard colored bell bottoms and Mom was wearing floral halter tops, “hostess” pants and Elvira the Vampiress make-up, but I am sure your politics had sound bases. Still, he had a good point.
FOPOB, who had a moment to shine, instead said flatly that the conversation was boring, he’d rather watch his team lose and did anyone realize that Casablanca was on TV tonight? I poured everyone more wine. DOB mentioned he liked it and I told him it was NOT Trader Joe’s $3.50 special Merlot. “Really?” DOB was genuinely surprised. I excused myself to the kitchen where POB was hiding out. I asked POB to kill me before SOS ever had to have this conversation with me.
Thank G-d Cousin Gentle arrived. And time to eat. FOPOB wanted to take dinner-to-go but we locked the door. SOB had to take a call from the hospital. SOS wanted to run back and forth from the dinner table to the TV in our room to watch the football game. I considered Crazy Glue to keep him in his chair but I settled on the Evil Eye of Doom and Despair that I inherited from my mother that kept us in line. It is amazing how a few moves of the facial muscles can subdue a child. It worked. Luckily, I also still have the brute strength in my arsenal, if necessary. But only for a little time more.
At the beginning of the meal, we toasted the many sides of the family that were present. We toasted our good fortune in being together. We remembered the victims of the attack on our Nation 10 years ago.
At some point in the conversation, we started talking about the different sources of the Bible and how women may have been writers. HOSOB asked what I knew about this. So, of course, I held forth, but with a caveat. I started with, “Unencumbered as I am with fact or knowledge about the subject matter . . . .” Cousin Gentle was impressed that I said this. I was shocked. I thought this was an implied caveat in any conversation in our family history because clearly Uncle Loud, Cousin Gentle’s father and DOB, would have otherwise been mute for most of their lives.
After that, someone complained that the chicken was salty. Someone wondered about having added marjoram (a spice I still don’t understand) to the quinoa dish. FOPOB wanted to take dessert to go (keep trying, dude) in order to watch Casablanca at home on his ginormous TV.
So, we were deep, we were shallow, we were loving, we were honest. . .and in so doing, we gave meaning to the statement:
WE ARE A FAMILY.
I love you all.