Dinner Conversation

Tonight I went to a birthday dinner. We met at a rustic restaurant in the boonies, decorated with deer antlers, buffalo heads as trophies, rock fireplaces, and wooden floors. My dad and I had the cajun grilled catfish! Holy moly! What a lish dish!

An uncle from Mississippi came in to see his brother and go to a college reunion. My brother's daughter was the honored birthday guest and she had brought along her friends, a married couple and their two year old daughter. My parents were there and then of course me, the "black sheep"to my Uncle, the zany Aunt to my niece, the daughter of a thousand words in the first five minutes of any nerve racking close quartered family encounter, (without an ally sitting next to me). As much as I love them, I am so very different from them in my core beliefs.

I'm adoringly, aggrevating to my Uncle. He and I know we are polar opposites on the political scale. He also knows that I pretty much have his number as he feels he has mine. Little does he regard anything that I say, or know, as much worth. Little does he seem to regard the worth of his oldest daughter. He has favorites among his children. I don't get that, but there ya have it.

The young married man at the table, (I had his name for a second or two, then bam, it was gone like it had never been said), is from Canada. I asked him if he missed the cool weather and he said sometimes. I said, that the older I get the more heat intolerant I am. My mother laughed self-consciously and he said, well, that's pretty much the opposite for most folks as they age. They generally gravitate to warmer climates. I told him that's because I have led a dyslexic life. (No, I don't have dyslexia, but I have done many things in my life backwards, often times medications will affect me in opposites way that they normally affect the majority, I tend to even process things backwards sometimes. What does this mean?

I have no idear! (as Eddie Izzard would say)

Dyslexic living just seems to describe me. I've never been good with specifics regarding myself because even though I am a truth seeker and an analyzer of self, as well as most of what interests me, I don't stay in the same frame of mind for very long. It's not so much a restlessness, as it is a personality shifting metamorphosis, like a shape shifter. (Where in the heck do these thoughts come from) EX: A pipe cleaner can be bent in all sorts of shapes but you can still tell that it's a pipe cleaner. I may look like me, but one never knows exactly where my head is tripping off to in the midst of a conversation. Is someone going to approach me now and ask if I have been diagnosed as A.D.D.? I'll save you the trouble. I haven't been diagnosed and yes, I may still have the tests done.

This may be one of the worst blogs I've ever done because I waited too long to get busy with it. I have been playing catch-up in mail and blogs for much or the evening and I haven't been able to focus on much of anything else. I look at the time and it is after midnight as I write my first word.

Back to the dinner -- so my uncle overheard my heat intolerance comment and asked, Where would you want to go live? I said, I've been thinking about Maine. He shook his head and smiled. Have you ever even been to Maine? And I said no, but James Taylor lives there and that's a good enough endorsement for me. He said, Well, if James Taylor lives there it's got to be alright. (very sarcastically, but I was impressed that he even knew who James Taylor is.) I added, but there are wonderful beaches there and lots of islands and it's a kayakers' haven. Then he added, and it's freezing cold, with ice in the water. And then I thought about it and said, OR, I wouldn't mind living in the Seattle area or New York City or Connecticut either. He just shook his head. We dropped the subject.

I wanted to say, much later, that He's never been to heaven but that doesn't mean that he wouldn't want to live there. But to have said anything further at that time would have been misplaced.

I don't know why I don't sense an ounce of sincerity in his body. It all seems like veneer to me. I see a sad, old man, seeming as though he's afraid to die and can sniff its' calling in the air that surrounds him and follows him wherever he goes. I see small signs of desperation in his eyes, and I think it's because he has left too much unsaid to the people in his life that have needed his love through the years when he was too busy to give it. Now that he is old, he has glimpses of who his children are and hardly knows them. Much less himself.

I hope I'm wrong.


© deborah leeson 2005

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Posted by: Markonator - Every family's got one, Deb.

My uncle Dave was was better than everyone.

Then he died.

Just like everyone.

Posted by PumpCrop

Another type of family here... in the biker community there is always several who are the baddest, the strongest, the more manly then anyone else. After a while, you learn to except their fantasies as part of them. *shrug* Every family had their "Holier-then-thou" self sufferer.

And besides, the only bad thing I can think of being in Maine is it's full of Yankees.

Yep, I guess there comes a time where it's just easier to nod your head and try to keep your eyes from glossing over.

1. I like that you said "lish dish"

2. You're like me, my dad always makes fun of me because I want to move to
places I've never been, i.e. Seattle and Chicago. James taylor is a good reason for maine,
but doesn't Martha Stewart live there too? I agree with what the canadian guy said too about
most folks growing towards heat.. only because sooo much of florida is old people.. just like on that one sienfeld episode. He nailed it. But once again I too don't like the heat and gravitate towards colder places. It feels crisp and neat, and I like bundling up.

3. this was a good blog anyawys but sorry if I kept you up too late with the drivel.

Posted by lukee

Martha Stewart lives there? I didn't know that. I doubt I'll run into her much at parties. ;-)
And the reason I like the cold are mainly the ones you mentioned. Plus a few more.
I enjoyed the drivel. I drivel all the time. (as she looks over and says, did you hear that kitty?)

Posted by Chaotic_Structure

I enjoyed the drivel too. I'm glad we both like drivel. I hope we're talking about the same kind!

Posted by lukee

Well, Luke, as far as I know, drivel is drivel. I guess there are all sorts of drivel but when I use the term I am trying to sum up with that one word, the myriad of "scrambled egg" thoughts that bounce around in my head and need to be "lanced" so they can stream out and be examined for analysis, comparatives, connection, and if I'm lucky begin to entertain me and perhaps even clear my head for a bit. Is that the drivel you mean? LOL!!

Posted by Chaotic_Structure

phew, we're on the same page
drivel can also be slobber or spit
like a baby or a caveman, or a dinosaur even.

Posted by lukee

I know exactly where you are coming from. After the November elections (and my lack of voting for Bush) the afore mentioned Uncle, I call "granddaddy", didn't speak to me for 3 months because I hung up on him. Our conversation was something like:

G: "Ahh, my little black sheep. Well Sarah, you know the best man won."

S: "No Granddaddy, he didn't. Frankly I don't care what the family thinks, Bush will never be my President."

G: "What has Austin done to you? You use to be so sweet and kind."

S: "I am still sweet and kind, I just have my own mind and values now." Click.

He will never change. It's sad really. I love him, but from a distance. Because of all the things I've heard him say and do (especially to my mom) I just don't want that kinda person in my life. He doesn't show you the way a true grandfather should be; full of love and warmth. I'm just grateful that God blessed me with a wonderful Grandfather on my dad's side of the family.

Posted bySarah

Ya know? I really didn't know about his relationship with his children much until your mom and I hooked up in the past few years, both going through divorces. I have been dumbstruck by the huge difference between him and his brother, my dad. I am very blessed to have a Dad like mine. If you should ever want a Granddad on your Mom's side of the family, he'd adopt you in a heartbeat. My mom too. ((HUGS))

Posted by Chaotic_Structure

Some people don't realize that it's never too old to change. Change is scary and it takes a great deal of courage to do something drastic... like change. Change is magic.

Posted by Jennzirra

We've had a similar conversation before. We want to embrace change. Change is the only constant thing there is to embrace. (I'm sure there is fault with that comment but it's late)
Thanks, Jenn.


"...it is less trouble and more satisfaction to bury two families than to select and equip a home for one."
- Mark Twain's Autobiography

Posted by nexxus08

Whoah. Heavy. I'm gonna have to think about that one. ........... I don't get it.

Posted by Chaotic_Structure

When it comes to relatives, everything is relative. Now, of course, I’m speaking relatively…relative to the observations in your blog. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have the kinds of issues you described. Misunderstanding the younger (and/or older generation) is a sort of genetic imperative! The progeny are invariably considered audacious or lacking in the worldliness or respect of their elders and the same mindset is applied by the younger’s successive progeny. This kind of exponential “Dysfunctional Family Circus” stuff is just part of evolution and should be rationalized thru, not agonized over. After all, they still love us…even if some of the warmth and fuzziness has been worn away by age. I certainly have shared in the kinds of anxieties you wrote about…my solution has been to insert many, many miles between myself and the “offenders.” The Roberts’ Inquisition is substantially diluted when I do make the pilgrimages home. Family is “stuck” with us and we’re “stuck” with them…even when things get “sticky.” Thus spake I. “The Gospel According to Ted” now concludes. Please join us in the Gymnasium for coffee and cake. We’re indebted to the Ladies Auxiliary for providing these snacks…after all, they should be at home questioning the decisions of their relatives. :-)
L, Josh and Steven's Crazy Uncle Ted

Posted by PoetWarrior

Relatively speaking, I would relatively compare the laws of relativity to the relationship of relations.

I guess the point being made by saying, it is what it is and it's good if we can see it and it's not good if that's what we are looking for.

The gospel according to Whothe Hellknows.

Posted by Chaotic_Structure

Well, well, well! The great and enjoyable dinner with the family. And to think you had the privilege of dealing with my dad. Lucky you. But I must say PoetWarrior was very asute in his view of this thing called family. It's amazing how much you can dislike them but still want their approval! Just as my sister (the psychiatrist and chosen one) said to me, "If you weren't my sister I wouldn't even like you. You aren't the kind of person I want to know." Maybe not and that may be the reason they don't know us. They are afraid that perhaps those "things" they find unattractive might just appear in them one day and they don't want to deal with it. Daddy, in all his lack of acceptance, is just as intrenched in his ideology as anyone else, good or bad. How is this lack of acceptance any different than any prejudice displayed by any bigot? Let's not let others standards become ours. Once again, you and Sarah and I might not share all the same views about everything but we do know one thing, we love each other and think the world of each other, no matter what. That may be one legacy we have received from this hardness.

Love to you,Tep

Posted by aoife_zoe

"It's amazing at how much you can dislike them and still want their approval" Touche! and Ouch!
You just described my love hate relationship with my mom.

Posted by Chaotic_Structure

glory, glory. my texas born and bred, kick ass mom. she makes your uncle look pretty tame.

all of our conversations are exactly what you described. i am constantly bombarding myself with feelings of guilt and (dare i say it?), shame, cause when push comes to shove, i can't stand that old woman.

i'm texas born and bred, as well, but two different people never walked this earth.

what scares me the most? someday, in the not too distant future, that old woman is going to die. what will i do without her?

Posted by Elaine

Well, my Uncle looked a bit tamer than he actually was. I didn't share everything that was said. But I'll take your word on it. A Texas born and bred kickass mom is definitely a heavyweight contender.
Thanks for dropping by, Elaine.

Blame it on Rush. Until he came along dad and his brother were practically Democrats. Pffft. Well, aside from that "down with hippies" Up With People stage. Well, okay, aside from the fact that Nixon is still revered by most folks of that era in Abilene. Well ... never mind.

Was the chicken fried good?

Posted by David Leeson

Actually, Dad and I had cajun grilled catfish and it was LISH. Lauren's friends were precious. I especially like the husband. Mom and I
sat across from him and Mom chimed - Don't you just think he's darling? (as though he wasn't sitting right there listening to us) and I said, yes, absolutely. He's a doll. (young man begins to blush, but liking the attention) Mom says, So, do you have any older brothers? And I said, What she means is Is your Dad available? ;-)

And you are ABSOLUTELY right in saying that the beginning of Rush was the end of our once happy political debates. I miss the days before 'Gush'.

Posted by Chaotic_Structure

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