Wednesday, November 19, 2003  

Family Nostalgia

I'm so glad I was able to go yesterday. The funeral was very sad of course and I don't think was a dry eye in the church during the wonderful prayers, stories and kind words that were spoken, but more than anything it was a great celebration of a life well-lived. I drove back to Atlanta last night feeling inspired.

Of course, there is the other inspiring aspect of a trip to Lincolnton, getting to spend time with my extended family, who I would describe as very southern and just a little bit insane. Whenever I am around them (which, unfortunately, isn't very often) I always think that I will go home and write everything down so I won't forget it, which never happens. But a couple of highlights from yesterday, still fresh in my mind.....

Favorite thing I overheard yesterday: From my cousin Debbie "...So I'm in my house, standing there nekkid ironing my clothes, right? And I look up and there is Mista So and So out on the front porch looking at me and just grinning ear to ear. What'd I do? I dropped that iron and I took off down the hallway running like a scalded rat!"

Favorite person to avoid at family events: My cousin Russell, a 40-something guy with a high IQ and a complete lack of social skills. He looks like one of those kids from The Far Side cartoons. You know what I'm talking about. He entraps people in conversation, always about something like "how air conditioning systems work" or, yesterday, "the angle that a coffin would have to be at to fit the circumference of a mausoleum." Uh huh. When trapped in conversation it is best to just put eyes on "Auto Glaze" and keep nodding, whilst waiting for another family member to come and rescue you.

Favorite thing I ate at the church dinner reception last night: Fried chicken. The good people in Lincoln County know how to fry a chicken.

Second favorite thing overheard yesterday: From my Great Aunt Ruth, when asked how she managed to look so good on such a hard day: "Make-up. Lots of a make-up. You throw enough paint on it and even a barn will look good."

Whenever I'm around these people I feel like I've somehow stepped into a Southern Gothic novel featuring the kind of eccentric characters people see in movies like "Crimes of the Heart" or read about in a Flannery O'Connor story and think are just overblown stereotypes. Well, this stereotype exists for a reason and it's definitely not overblown. These people are my flesh and blood and they are strange and crazy and hilarious.

And I feel lucky to know them.

| posted by Mary | 11/19/2003 05:43:00 PM
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