Bent Words

Bent Words

December 12, 2009

Went to my mother's side family Christmas party in Madison.

Based on the amount of people I didn't recognize, I approximated that it has been at least five years since I have seen anyone from that side of the family. Initially I had requested my mother make Family Flash Cards but I believe she declined for fear of potential failure. She has (had) six brother and sisters and since all of them, save for one, procreated and all them, in turn, procreated, it's next to impossible to keep all their names/faces straight.

For example....

My uncle Mark and aunt Sheryl had three daughters named Jesse, Jamie and Jennifer. There was one summer in which I knew who was who based purely on height but twenty years of full upward and outward growth, coupled with a general sense of not really caring, have passed since such brevity of clarity and now I have no idea which is which. My mother kindly offered to point them out to me at the party but I did not think at the time that she would stand right next to one of them and founder.

"So you're not Jessica?" I heard her say as I retreated toward a face I knew.

I believe she eventually blamed me for the mishap as though I had slipped a stupid pill into her wine prior to her greeting her family.

Sorry, Mum, but, you know, the cheese stands alone.

Anyhow, all these women whose names start with J had babies whose names start with M. Madelyn, Maddison and Max. 'Tis a trendy little tradition the trite group of triples has traded, eh? Almost so sweet that one can hardly see fit to surmise it all in one sitting, let alone six. Simply sensational. (I have thought a few less flattering S words which would more accurately summarize my thoughts on the issue but I shall now, quite graciously, digress.)

My aunt Mary was at the party. I love my aunt Mary. She's the sassiest woman I know. I knew she had MS but I was shocked to find out she also has breast cancer which has apparently spread to her bones. The cancer ate away two of her vertebrae which were replaced with some sort of plastic. "I can't stand too close the fire," she quipped.

Because of her illnesses there exists an unspoken modicum of freedom which is not granted to those of us with a clean bill of health. In other words, she can pretty much say and do whatever she wants, regardless of how scurrilous, and get away with it.

For instance, we all knew it was she who appropriated a male part in the form of a cocktail wiener for the snowman-shaped tiger meat. Although it was reasonably considered my own suggestion to add the Swedish meatballs to the equation, it was ultimately Mary who made the eventual augmentation.

She somehow managed to make a little boy cry when she would not move from his view of the Christmas cartoon playing on the TV. When finally the boy ceased his crocodile tears, Mary then scolded him for being so "damned sensitive." I retreated to the far end of the house with little interest for the eventual outcome. In her defense, however, five year olds are unnecessarily emotional....

While explaining my current situation with The Boy, whose presence makes up little more than a part-time role in my life, she stated that "it's not so bad to only have half a man -- as long as you got the good half!"

Her antics greatly decreased the amount of senseless questioning I surely would have endured had she not simplified matters so well. I cannot recall explaining the fact that I'm not married and without kids more than three times -- the only brilliant bit of chatter (cross-examination) most family members can think of when speaking to me during any given occasion since they know nothing of motorcycles -- and that's likely a record.

Thank you, Mary; I love you.

I rather fear, however, that she might not have long to live. The cancer is Stage 4 and they can only attack one issue at a time thus allowing the bone cancer to spread while they tackle the breast cancer.

I do wish her the best for she is a bright, beautiful light in our otherwise not-too-exciting family and I'm just not ready to have passed to me the Torch of Lewd Behavior.

Oh how I wonder what the Christmas party on my father's side shall bring...

Written at 7:34 p.m.