Every holiday with my family and our long time friends consists of a few eternal things.
- Steven will yell at Shorty to get out of the kitchen.
- Shorty won't be able to stop himself from offering cooking advice and commentary, even when he's not in the kitchen.
- Despite all of us having similar beliefs, there will be some sort of political discussion that gets loud.
- Steven will mix up the food on my plate so that it's all touching despite the fact that it's just wrong.
- I'll make several Brandy and Cokes for myself until I get lazy and make Steven mix them.
- Stories will be told with the assumption that we all know the people and context even though they happened before some of us were born or are about places we've never been.
One change for this year was that I didn't have any Brandy and Cokes.
Maybe because of the lack of booze, I also didn't have the usual reaction to the stories. They're often about people long dead that I've never met so my eyes glaze over then I leave the room to go watch some form of sportsball. Or, they're stories I've heard so many times that I can recite them word for word so my eyes roll then I leave the room to go watch some sorts of sportsball.
There's something to be said for consistency, I guess.
After dinner today, my Uncle Jack started in on a tale from, heck, 25?, years ago. They were at my Great Uncle Louie's farm and Louie started outing my Grandpa Don for all the cars that he'd wrecked over the years. Model A, Model T, Packard, the list was a pretty long one of what we would consider classic cars.
As the story progressed (some of which I had heard before), my imagination filled it out and I heard it n Uncle Louie's voice. They should have a picture of him in the dictionary next to the word laconic. I could also hear my Grandpa Don trying to rebut it all but having to admit the story's veracity.
They've both been long gone but that moment made them seem so with us now. That moment also reminded me how much I miss them.
They were both quality people and theirs was the generation that lived through the depression, served in WWII and Korea, farmed back when small farmers could make a living and worked hard no matter what their professions may be. They knew everyone in their town and could recite the lineage of everyone even outside of their families. They were semi-tough on their kids but totally soft on their grandkids (and great nieces and nephews). When people wax sentimental for the good old days, their stories are what they're comparing today to.
On this day of National gratitude, I'm grateful to still have some folks who lived through the old stories and have the cognizance to tell them. I can't promise that I won't continue to roll my eyes at times but I think I've gotten to the point in my life where I truly appreciate the history and being able to share it with my loved ones.
I hope some day, future generations will appreciate my repeated stories, too. Of course, they'll be able to google (or whatever replaces google) everything and catch me in any embellishments. Damn technology.
BTW, all of the wrecked cars were dumped into the water on the family farm property. Somewhere under the surface is an automobile graveyard. I can't imagine doing that today.