Saturday, November 6

On Hospitality

Back in the forties, two people starting having kids. Four girls were born (let’s call them Alice, Brunhilda, Cathy, and Dana).

Alice gets married, has two boys, gets divorced, and hasn’t seen either of her boys in years.

Brunhilda gets married, has my cousin Dan, moves from the Island to Jersey, has George, and eventually gets divorced.

Cathy is my mother, who I think is awesome. She gets married, has one girl (me), gets divorced, and that’s it.

Dana becomes a nurse, gets married, has one girl (now sixteen), then a boy, then another girl (who, at age seven, has a better throwing arm than I do).

Dan is two years older than I am. When we were young and everyone lived in the same little part of the same little Isle de Staten, we were together nearly all the time, because there were no other cousins in our age range.

When George was born, I remember thinking how awesome it would be to have someone younger than me around. Then their family promptly moved to Jersey and I never got to know George in the way I had Dan.

After Brunhilda’s divorce, she and my ex-uncle had manymany problems regarding the kids. Daniel and George were in a bad position and eventually, due to Brunhilda’s love of ultimatums, they chose their dad. From here on, we (the rest of the family) never saw Dan or George.

During this time, George got into a bunch of trouble with drugs and The Law (stay in school, kids!), but the only story ever heard from Brunhilda was how much it all hurt her. (This is the woman who used to feed her kids Dimetapp if they got too excited.)

So Dan gets George out of the rehab-that-isn’t-working and into Naval boot camp.

I got in touch with Dan about six months ago, which was great. And then I moved. A week ago, I’m genuinely excited when Dan informs me that George has graduated and will be assigned to a ship off the coast of San Diego.

On Thursday I called George to say hello and good luck, and it was one of those nice-but-weird conversations you have with family you haven’t spoken to in six years. SIX YEARS.

Then he called again yesterday. To ask if he could spend. the. weekend. with. us. before his ship came in on Monday. The old cold me shivered when the new warm me blurted, “of course!” The Boy and I drove out to the Greyhound station in the middle of nowhere last night to retrieve George.

It was good to see him alive and stuff. And I wanted things to be instantly like old times, so I talked and talked and talked (and missed our exit and kept us in the car MUCH longer than we needed to be).

I went to bed exhausted after four hours of forced conversation, and this morning, all I could think was, “Dear god, I have a day and a half left.” Seriously, I’m running out of questions about the Navy, and I’m not even considering, “So, how was rehab?”

But I’m going to wake up the Navy man now, and force him to have some Cheerios. “EAT, GODDAMMIT!” That’s hospitality, right?


Blogger Mr. Thunderbird said...

Actually, real hospitality is offering Frosted Flakes.

November 9, 2004 at 2:15 PM  

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