Again, I'm reflecting. As a friend put it, many of us are closer to the back door than the front door of life. I have no siblings. I do however have an extended family that are the best. 27 first cousins. A ridiculous amount of seconds. And, amazingly, though I can be a black sheep, a real pain in the ass, I love them all, and they love me back.
My Dad's baby sister Madelene, the wife of one of the most intelligent guys I have ever known, and a very patient Mom, is close to my heart. She seems to have some kind of radar for knowing when I am at the end of my rope. I am down, she calls me...
They lived far away from the Midwest, my home ground, in Connecticut. Still, I'd visit, and it was golden. A different planet, that household, and a good one.
Happy warm chaos. Five kids, and all of them in my corner. I felt like some kind of exotic species.
This particular visit, PJ Jr, his sisters and I for some reason only known to those of us possessing the estrogen were dragging him down the hall. I have no recollection of what kind of torture, and he hollered at my aunt, MOM! She's treating me like a BROTHER!!!
My uncle, Pete Sr. is also dealing with advanced Alzheimer's. Pete is one of the most intelligent guys I have ever known, and has a wicked sense of humor. He worked for years in publishing, the Mad Men era, sharp as a tack.
He is great at repartee. I've never known anyone as sharp.
He and my aunt were visiting us, here in FL. I was an obnoxious teenager then...Smartass...
He knocked on the doorjamb to my room. I was reading. He said "You need to come outside with me, there's something you need to see"
Me-"eye roll, What? NO".
Uncle Pete-"Come on..GET UP, come see..."
He grabbed my hand and drug me outside, giggling the whole time. He led me to a palm tree in the yard, where there was a huge mushroom, and pointed. Written in Sharpie were the words, "Troll House". I looked at him, and he was falling down with laughter. I joined him.
As a Dad, he is a stand up guy. Kelly, she and I are the two youngest of the brood, told me this story. "I got in trouble one day for talking in class. My teacher made me stay late, and assigned an essay. A thousand word essay, subject, a ping pong ball..."
She went home and told her Dad. He marched to the basement, got a ping pong ball, and wrote "A thousand word essay" on it. Sent her to school the next day with that. Like I said, love him.
There were great times for me at this household, fishing for carp in the local pond with bread, climbing the rocks nearby, and even me and Suzy, Kelly's older sister staying so very awake so that we could put Kelly's bra on the dog, PJ, and send him down the hall.
I love you guys, great times, fond memories, that'a what get's me through.