wait. an unanticipated moment of clarity. i spent that friday night waiting out a terrific thunderstorm in dallas so i could drive to best buy for last minute birthday shopping for my nephew (garfield: the movie, god help me) and my brother-in-law (gift card, i give up). the remainder of my friday night festivities included a game of trivial pursuit and likely scrabble at the condom store.
moments of clarity aside, i can only guess that i spent some time by the pool after driving into tyler that saturday. this was likely the day i told my nephew he’s a redneck and, after asking what a redneck is, he responded with a discourse on all the hillbillies he knows. shit. no. wait. clarity returns again to my bubble of melted tyler visits. the redneck incident occurred the week prior because that particular saturday was my nephew’s 9th birthday. instead of swimming in the pool that afternoon, i walked in the door and he ran to my parents’ back bedroom to retrieve one of his birthday presents: an ROTC parade rifle from the local army/navy store.
i looked at my sister. “i can’t believe you got him that.” “uh-uh,” my sister responded. “i didn’t get it for him... mom did.”
“whuh?” my little head said.
mom’s defense: i just wouldn’t hear the end of it until i took him to the army/navy store for his birthday and wouldn’t you know he headed straight for the guns like it was instinct.
remembering years of my mother’s quote “you’re the adult” stayed smartly inside the confines of my mouth.
my nephew believes kids should be taught to like the army and that it’s grand to pick off birds to make sure they don’t increase in numbers and take over our job of ruling the planet. hence my redneck remark. it couldn’t be helped after that onslaught.
then it began happening: an invasion of small children and parents.
my sister had originally invited six children. then an accidental invitation intended as a faux invitation to someone she thought couldn’t possibly make it turned ugly. this is the friend who has not one, not two, but EIGHT children showed up effectively more than doubling the number of invitees in one fell swoop.
it was pool party madness and i did my best to stay inside drinking beer until it was over.
my camera battery died, but not before i was able to shoot one photo of the party... the stack of napkins i lovingly arranged in the Star of David (if the Star of David had 8 points):
my friend christian was in town with his wife stephanie and their two little boys visiting his parents at the lake. christian’s foreign service tour of duty in belgrade was up and he had several months off before moving to their new home in paraguay. i was able to make my way out there after dylan finished making us watch the pacifier and the family had finished birthday dinnering at burger king and dylan had opened his presents.
after angie (the wife brad... another high school friend) left with her daughter, steph, christian, and i sat on the end of the dock drinking beer while the sun set and people began shooting off some rather impressive fireworks. it was a gorgeous night sans the usual swooping bats and meaty spiders. we eventually moved our conversation up to the shire to reminisce about friends. reminisce, gossip... whatever.
now i know that i wafted about in the pool the next day and snacked on homestyle tofu with my mom on the patio. and i think this was the day i finally got my father to teach himself how to make a mojito. now if i could only get him to remember the name.
my father and i stopped in at my grandparents’ before i left town that afternoon. so she could load me up with vegetable soup in a cool whip container (and thusly marked as vegetarian soup) and a lunchsack full of homegrown grape tomatoes my grandfather had just picked. she tried to give me canned pineapple, but i put the kibosh on that while remembering the last can she had given me which haunted various cabinets in my homes for years on end.