That Cake, Is That New?


I love my uncle.

He cracks me up.

“I’ll try it, I guess.”  He tells me he only eats like this when he visits.

I’m not sure about that, but it is cute and amusing and as I sit and hear more stories and have the gift of simple time.

Sitting.

Having meals together.

Watching a show with my grandmother.

Hanging out with the dog, who really does seem to gravitate to my Uncle, with the saddest eyes ever, I don’t know how this dog is only 9lbs.

I don’t feel compelled to give treats to dogs, but this little lady, does nip at my heart.

Family.

It’s nice.

Seeing myself reflected back in the bone structure of my grandmothers face, seeing how her legs are my sister’s legs, and let me truthful, blessed to be in this gene pool.

My vanity assuaged by the astounding health, vitality, and youthful looks of my grandmother.

She’s 87.

She lives on her own, does her own shopping, drives, cooks, in fact I was told to not touch the dishes, although I had already and not to help out in the kitchen.

Hmm.

I seem to understand where I get that from.

Independence.

Also hearing stories about my father and his brothers and sister and where they travelled and what they did, where they lived, how my dad spent time in Paris when they lived in a village in France, or hearing about my uncle riding his bicycle down the highway, at the age of 8, in Japan to go play with a friend.

Sometimes I think that children in these modern times are a bit sheltered and over cared for, a touch over scheduled, a tad over supervised, and I wonder what they might be missing, what adventures they may have.

However.

That’s not my concern, now is it?

Children grow up and people change and history happens and stories get passed down, pressed between the leaves of a book on Maui and when the sun is shifting through the sky, the palm trees crash against the blue skies over the hills, I was able to just sit and close my eyes.

Lifting my face up.

Thankful.

Just a simple prayer of thanks.

Just to be here.

Nothing needs to happen.

No depths of feeling must be plunged.

I don’t have to have an “aha moment.”

I just get to have these small pearls of time, moments with my family.

Teasing my uncle.

Then being totally gullible and falling for one of his stories without realizing I am being told a tall tale.

Even at the age of 42 I still am gullible.

I’m ok with that too, I’m allowed to be anything.

Today there was eating and a drive and hanging out with my second cousin and my uncle and going to see Mad Max–totally so Burning Man–I almost shouted out loud during one scene.

“I have those goggles!”

I restrained myself.

I did not holler out, but I did appreciate it to myself.

I never saw the Mad Max movies when they were originally released and it was fun to be a part of the culture.

I reflected that there are some experiences that I did not have when I was a kid, when I was growing up there was a lack of resources, I believe that may be the best way I can put it.

We were shit show poor.

School supplies were a fantasy of longing, always having the cheapest notebooks, crayons, pencils, pens (no wonder I am so particular about the notebooks I write in and the pens I use, it’s an entirely sensual experience for me when I write), clothes?

Please.

I started working in the corn fields detassling for Kaltenberg Seed Farms when I was twelve.

Bussing tables at the age of 13.

I stayed with both jobs until I was sixteen?

I got fired from the detailing job, which was really odd, when I look back, for using profanity, but what it really happened?

I was a crew leader by the time I was 14, which meant I made a modicum of more money, and I led the kids through the fields (in Wisconsin you can do farm labor at the age of 12 and because it is often considered “family work” they could legally pay the kids working less than minimum wage), I think I was making $3.25 an hour, much more than the $2.75 I had started out making.

Gah.

Anyway.

I was let go because I explained to a couple of kids what a gay person was.

Someone said a crappy sexist stupid, rural Wisconsin joke and when two of the kids didn’t get the punchline (to a joke I did not tell, fyi) I told them what a gay man was.

The parents called and complained and I got let go.

Such is life.

I worked more at the truck stop where I was busing tables.

I bought my own clothes.

Then I got onto swim team and things changed and I became a lifeguard and an unexpected shift in my life happened.

Not much, but just enough to alter my life seismically.

But there were things that were missed.

Television, we didn’t always have one, or it was a small 13″ black and white, once I think in my junior or senior year, my mom got a rent to own color tv.

That lasted two weeks, maybe three, but she couldn’t keep up payments.

We did not often go to movies.

When I did it was a huge deal.

I remember with great clarity the movies that I did get to see at the theater: Star Wars (lying on the floor of the car with a blanket over myself and my sister, my aunt Dolores and my dad in the front, my mom hiding in the trunk of the car) at the drive in.

Karate Kid–drive in.

Dirty Dancing–my favorite aunt Marybeth took me to that, “don’t tell your mother I am taking you to this!”

The Killing Fields, with my mom.

At way too young an age.

To give my mom some credit I don’t think she knew how violent it would be, but come on, it was the Killing Fields, not exactly a kid movie.

I saw some movies at friends houses-The Breakfast Club, Top Gun, The Little Mermaid–mostly at swim team sleep overs.

I marvel.

I really do.

How fortunate I am to be in this place, sitting on this comfy couch, with my grandmother and my uncle, the dog, the television, a show, a song, a small quiet moment.

From here to there.

From there to here.

And so many places yet to go.

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