Monday, November 21, 2005

Well, at least there are forks in my family tree...

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and that means one thing to me. It means I will be spending Thursday afternoon at my grandparents' home with members of my family. When my mom called me earlier this evening (see post below for more about this evening) and asked me about Thanksgiving, I told her that I was going to their house. Her response, "Good for you. I have one thing to say, 'Better you than me.'"

Silence is golden. I firmly believe it is the family motto. Both sides of my family tree "forget" to share important events of their lives. I feel distanced by the silence, and there are times I don't care. Years of distance has detached me from caring. The lack of contact does not make me want to reach out and call across the country at odd hours of the night. Absence makes the heart grow fungus.

An uncle of mine passed away a couple of months ago. I had never met him or even his step-son, my cousin. My uncle died of pancreatic cancer and left this world after two weeks of hospice care. I think my mom met him once, last year while visiting Las Vegas. There is no emotion when the family discusses this. It is just a fact; repeated news on the telephone wires.

My dad's side of the family is strange, to say the least. I was closer to them growing up, probably because of geographical location. Iowa is much closer to Minnesota than Arizona is. On Dad's side, I have two aunts, two uncles (one is a soon-to-be or possibly already ex-uncle (prison time and the crime does not want my aunt want to maintain that relationship)), three cousins, and five second cousins. I have not even met the youngest of the second cousins.

One of my cousins is really cool. His name is Chris and he's a great guy. It is a shame that someone so amazing has had to endure all the hardships he has. I've written about Chris before, you can find it here.

His brother is Matt. Matt alwasy thought he was the cool one. In his social circle, he was the jock, the kid with the best clothes, and he always had to have the best car. But he lacks personality. I do like Matt, but he is not interesting. Conversations end quickly. Matt has two kids and a soon to be ex-wife. He's two years old than me, but I guess his wife preferred the 54-year old man she had an affair with. They've been married less than 3 years. I wonder if his ego is more than a bit scarred.

Chris and Matt's parents are nearing retirement. They decided they don't want to leave money to Matt and figure that they'll outlive Chris, so they are spending what they can now. My aunt about a $5,000 sewing machine that hooks up to her computer. My uncle has been on a classic cars buying spree and their garage is now called the "Garage-Mahal."

My other cousin is Traci. She is divorced with three kinds, but she doesn't even try to be a mother to her son. Aaron was passed off to my aunt after being spoiled for years (actually, the only discipline he's ever seen was his step father who my grandmother seems to think should be on Jerry Springer but was actually a pretty decent guy). Aaron has no idea what respect means or how to give it. Here is a kid that could benefit from boot camp, but the military would probably refuse his enlistment.

Aaron was living with my aunt (his grandma) and she finally kicked him out of the house. Traci didn't take him back in. There has to be more to the story than what I got from my dad, but what I do know is that he wanted a tattoo.

My aunt refused to grant permission for him to get the tattoo. So what did Aaron do? He had his friend heat up a screwdriver and brand the letter "A" into his arm. And now he is living with some girl. Seventeen seems a bit young and I doubt he is still going to school. Aaron is a kid who would have cut out of line the day brains were handed out.

When my dad told me about the "A," I had many questions, but details for blog posts do not occur to my dad a pertinent information. I want to know:
Which arm?
Where on the arm?
Is it a large "A" or a small one?
Why the letter "A"? Does it stand for Aaron, ancharcy, or is it just the only letter he bothered to learn?

Then the oddest part of this whole story that my dad gots from my grandfather is when Grandpa says, "We've got a lot of Amys to keep track of." My dad is confused because no one in our family is named Amy. He questions this. Grandpa says, "Yeah, we have Matt's Amy, Julie's Amy, and Chris's Amy." Matt's wife is Amanda. Julie's daughter is Amanda. Chris is single and childless. Maybe Aaron's girlfriend is Amy, or Amanda. Who knows?

Wish me luck on Thursday. Last year was a joy.