Monday, July 06, 2009

Family Gathering

The Funasaurus has a Crazy Uncle. Crazy Uncle is a unique soul with a Master’s degree in poetry from some fancy university, which he has forsaken on his quest to idealize the downtrodden working class. He has spent the last thirty years or so as a janitor, to be among his people. He also has decided not to drive and does not own a car. That’s all well and fine, until some family function inevitably comes up, and everyone is all, “I suppose we should invite Crazy Uncle” and then we have to draw straws for who has to go fetch Crazy Uncle and give him a ride to said function.

Enter: Fourth of July, 2009. Location: Funasaurus extended family’s farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. The Funasaurus’ mom volunteered to pick up Crazy Uncle (seeing as how it’s her brother) and then managed to somehow shirk that responsibility me and The Funasaurus, adding, “Oh, and he is bringing some friends.”

Super duper. Because Uncle Crazy’s friends are always an interesting set. More often than not they are homeless, much younger than he is, and full of baby mama-esque drama. Up we pulled to the little apartment that Uncle Crazy is sharing with his friends from Ohio (they took the Grehound) who are, indeed, homeless, and madly in love. And very eager to display their love in the front lawn of said apartment. They piled in, and The Funasaurus and I attempted conversation. “So how do you guys know Crazy Uncle?”

“Through my wife,” explained Homeless Dude, who is busy fondling the woman who is, apparently, not his wife.


We are still unsure as to how they know each other.

We got to the house, and we went in to start preparing potato salad and other traditional 4th-esque food. The rest of the extended Funasaurus’ family is quite normal, and very friendly. They even invited my parents down so that we didn’t have to choose between families, which makes life very easy.

Eventually it was time to eat, and after selecting the perfect hamburger with slice of American cheese, I waddled out to their fabulous deck (I say “waddle” because I have gained ten pounds in the last week or so. TEN. POUNDS.) where one table wass full, with people like The Funasaurus and my dad sitting around yukking it up, and the other table is half-empty, only hosting Crazy Uncle and friends thus far. I sucked it up and took one of the empty seats at the table with Crazy Uncle & co.

Moments later, The Funasaurus’ mom came out of the house, followed by my mom. I watched them both assess the deck situation, and eyeball the one remaining seat at my table. “Oh, here, I’ll let you sit with your daughter!” exclaimed The Funasaurus’ mom benevolently to my mom, as she darted off towards a lone deck chair. And thus my mother got to join me at the Table of Incomplete Sentences. At least my mom got wine.

There were a few false starts at conversation, but eventually we mentioned something about the radio, and Homeless Dude got all excited about a local radio station in Ohio. “Do you work at the radio station?” asked my mom.


“So, then, what do you do, if you’re not at the radio station?”

“A lot of things.”

At least he was consistent in his curt, useless answers.

“He does landscaping with his dad,” Uncle Crazy offered, appreciative of our attempt at conversation.

“Not that much. We do more roofing,” countered Homeless Dude.

Uhg, that must be hot in the summer,” I said, polishing off my lemonade.

“Not really,” said Homeless Dude. “I take off my shirt.”

We weren’t quite sure what the appropriate response was to that, so I looked around for more lemonade, while my mom studiously nursed her Chardonnay.

“I used to be a stripper,” added Homeless Dude, when apparently we did not respond to his shirtless comment in the way he wanted.

I watched my rather prim mother nearly choke on her Chardonnay out of the corner of my eye.

Coincidentally, the conversation died shortly after that, so we excused ourselves to go admire the flowers at the far end of the yard. “I wish I could give you some of this,” said my mom, swirling the dregs of her Chardonnay as we walked. That is why she is my mother, and why I love her very much.

The rest of the afternoon passed uneventfully. We got to give Crazy Uncle & co. a ride home, and then a ride to WalMart, where they decided they would prefer to be for fireworks viewing. The Funasaurus and I drove home, comparing notes and watching the fireworks across the horizon from our vantage point on the highway. When they’re that far away, going 75+ miles an hour doesn’t really make a huge difference. Among other things, we agreed we should probably get our child a very large car seat. Safety first, and all that. If it just happens to be chauffeuring-prohibitive, that’s just an added bonus.


Cate Subrosa said...

You're so funny :)

I was nodding knowingly at "at least she got wine" and cracking up by the time you got to "not really, I take off my shirt."

Brilliant :)

Jane said...

I am LAUGHING my arse off reading your story. Your writing is so great!
At least homeless dude didn't offer to prove his stripper dancing skills for you and your mum, so that is something positive, right? ;)

Holly said...

oh my.
happy to let you borrow a car seat any time you need to not make room between now and happy-arrival-time. :-)

Chico said...

I am crying, I was laughing so hard with the image of mom, mid-sip of chardonnay, hearing homeless dude pronounce that he used to be a stripper! That must have been priceless!

Diane said...

Awesome story!

(And a little wine can't hurt!)

meno said...

I love how Crazy Uncle is too cool to own a car, but expects to be driven around in yours, should the need arise.

A bit hypocritical eh?

Just a few more months of life without anesthesia (wine)for you. Try to hang in there.

Anonymous said...
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Christie said...

My ex-husband has an Uncle Crazy, too. For our wedding gift, he got us a salad spinner and was so very proud of that thing, he told everyone at the wedding during a toast what he got us. In his very lovely leisure suit, and probably strung out on crazy pills. He also had that startling blue eye that wandered all over the place like Mad Eye Moody. He gave me the heeby-jeebies.