Some of you, not many, have asked me to keep you abreast of the latest in my ongoing genealogic journey.
And since there isn't much going on worth scribbling about, I'm reprinting my latest post from my invite-only, family-only blog, "The (Insert Surname) Haunt." A first for me.
Some background: Anne is my first-cousin from Colorado I never even knew existed until around 6 months ago. She tells me we actually met in Florida when I was a toddler and on the lam from the law with my dad. And similarly newfound, Carol, a close, but slightly more distant relative lives in California (pronounced: cauliflower-ia).
While this post may not reveal much about my mostly missing background, it does prove that I am in need of professional help. You know, a properly-fitted straightjacket. Perhaps a healthy dose of electrical current. Good stuff like that. So, rather than think of this as a blog post, consider it more a cry for help.
Be it amusing, disturbing or maddening, it goes as follows:
Annie, long time no…well, long time no hear.
I just knew Carol was pulling my leg when she told me you had run off to Pakistan and joined the Taliban. Totally plausible, as I hear they are eager to recruit and train disaffected Caucasians such as ourselves. Ever consider how you might look in a bomb vest?
First of all, I snagged these morsels from your most recent blog post:
Saturday the girls mother dropped them off at their grandparent's home - a motel cabin court in Lake Butler, Florida.
Jane and Anne were left with their grandparents for some time while their parents sorted out the details of separation and divorce. They slept on canvas cots in a curtained off area of the large kitchen in the motel main building.
Tell me, was I there at the cabin court? Remember my earliest recollections? Sleeping on a cot, playing with other children and bicycling in a circular pattern? Got a picture or two of this place?
V’ger needs to know.
As to the religious persecution thing, I know what you’re talking about and it has always mystified me. Both my mom and her mom were staunch, hard-core Catholics. Big time “bible-thumpers,” you might say. And they raised me to be exactly the same. Church, folk mass, confession, Parochial school (when Leo and my mom were separated) CCD classes, church-sponsored activities, Boy Scouts in the church basement. The whole package.
For reasons that really do escape me, once I struck out on my own, I had no interest in any of that. None. I simply turned my back on all of it. Ironically enough, I then went and hooked up with a girl, (Wifey), who’s mom just happens to be an ex nun. So I suffered through this period when she would try to correct what my mom and grandma had gotten wrong. She would make me into a devout churchgoer. And in these respects, she failed miserably.
But, I never understood this your-either-with-us-or-against-us mentality wherein the non believers constantly attack, belittle and mock the believers. I live by a simple credo: Don’t touch me, mine or any of my stuff, and we’ll get along just fine. Cross any of those lines and you might find your eye socket relocated to where your nose normally resides. You do your thing over there, and I’ll do mine over here. No sense hacking on each other. So why does it bother so many over there what the folks further on over there are doing? I don’t get it. Whatever floats your heavily-listed boat, no? Perhaps Prozac should be mandated for everyone by executive fiat.
It’s like the divisive abortion thing. Why all the menacing glaring back and forth at each other? Why all of the discontent? While I find abortion to be quite repulsive, that’s your decision to make and you’ll have to live with it. What you do has no bearing on me, so why all the fuss? I dunno. Perhaps people spend way, way too much of their time sober.
I’m kidding! I’m joshing. Chill out, chickadees.
As far as the family get-together is concerned, I am all for the idea with the following proviso: (Wifey) does not travel well. Wait, allow me to amend that. (Wifey) cannot travel. For example, it’s a 16-mile ride from here to Harveys Lake, a ride that gets her to scrambling for something to upchuck into. It’s horrible for her. Horrible. Awful. As for myself, I’d rather invade a heavily-armed, well-fortified country all by my lonesome than get in an aircraft ever again. That ain’t happening. Remember William Shatner in the Twilight Zone movie? That would be me. And I make no apologies because the way I figure it, we’re all entitled to at least one totally irrational phobia.
I’ll say this, if any of you are up for the long drive, we’ve got an extra bedroom with three beds of varying sizes as well as plenty of off street parking. And, a yearly blowout scheduled on the second Saturday of every August, where almost all of my local relatives make an appearance. Consider that an open-ended invite.
Getting back to the religion thing, I’ll inflict the following true story upon you. For Peace, this is one of those, “Dad, I can’t believe you wrote that” moments. As I had warned her of before we got into this reconnecting with long lost relatives adventure…here I come, warts, boils, scabs, really cool-looking scars and all.
A couple of years ago, I was on vacation mid-summer when it was announced that the girls were taking mom out shopping. Trust me, while (Wifey) is very active and has plenty to do, she rarely leaves the house. That’s just the way she is, and, as I said, she’ll be losing her lunch right quick with even the shortest of trips.
So, no sooner had they pulled out of the lot, I powered-up the mixer, turned on the amp, and slid a Def Leppard CD into one of the two drawers.
And, true to form, I cranked that volume knob higher and higher until pieces of the foundation were being rumbled loose. Trust me, my speakers, er, my columns, are bigger than those giant redwoods Carol has in her back yard. By the way, the biggest lie my grandma ever told me was that I’d be deaf when I grew up. See, if it ain’t got pedal-distorted guitars blazing away, and if it ain’t at least 120 decibels or so--loud enough to kill most Polka-loving people--I’m rarely if ever interested.
As for the lack of hearing loss, luck or heredity?
Anyway, having the house to myself on this rarest of rare occasions, I then decided to crack open a frosty 16-once beer and plug my Strat into the mixer and play along with Def Leppard’s “Switch 625,” a fast, faster and furious guitar-dominated instrumental.
So there I was at near about 11 AM, in shorts, shirtless, playing the Strat and enjoying an ice cold beer for breakfast. And when Switch 625 ended with a mighty arpeggio, I realized that some boob was thumping on the screen door. And when I appeared in said doorway with no shirt, a guitar around my neck and a beer in my hand at least an hour before high noon, there stood two of these Jehovah Witness door-to-door do-gooders launching into their usual spiel without missing a beat.
And I have to say, they seemed kind of puzzled, almost startled, when I said to them smiling, “Guys, is it not obvious that you’re too late to save the likes of me?”
And with that, one flick of a fader got the foundation to rumbling itself loose again.
From the thoroughly ersatz, blasphemous and little-known book of Markie: Blessed are they who rumble thee forth.
Stay in touch.