The family had gathered for Christmas at grandma’s house. It had been our tradition for as long as i could remember. Those from the north would come down and my family, from the south, would drive up. Meeting in the middle. I would say the reason we met there was because it was convenient for everyone, but in my childhood memories I blame it on the fact that my grandmother cooked, and even though I am sure she could do that anywhere, there must have been something magical about her kitchen because everything created there was beyond delicious.
In my household, we did Christmas as a family (mom, dad, siblings) as early in the morning as possible (read.. as soon as we could convince our parents to get up by coaxing them with copious amounts of coffee), and by 10 a.m. we were headed north, ready for what I have come to dub as Christmas Part Deux (ok, so I just dubbed it that.. and?). The trip lasted almost forever (it was really only about an hour and half, but at 8 with the promise of more presents… that’s like infinity) but when we arrived, it was heralded by angels blowing trumpets (ok, it was plates of snicekrdoodles and other baked good my grandmother had somehow magically concocted in her above mentioned kitchen).
This was one of the few times in the year that my entire family (maternal side) got together. 7 cousins, 3 parents and their current spouses, 2 grandparents and a great grandmother, all under one roof. Ok, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you take those 7 of us, with a 10 year span between the oldest and youngest, add to that what I am sure could only be classified as mental instability, mix that together with a few drunken adults… you end up getting some pretty wild moments of stupidity.
One of those moments happened when my eldest cousin decided to bring his new girlfriend over after my uncle had imbibed one to many beverages of the Pabst variety (it was probably well more than just one). Introductions were had by all to this new young lady, fetching in her own right as I recall (but then my cousin was a bit of a Joel Goodsen so that kind of made sense), until finally my uncle decided to make his presence known and introduced himself.
How? By tackling my cousin to the ground in the living room and wrestling with him. Here is the important part though. My cousin was 17, had been a football player, a skater, and was pretty athletic. My uncle was not 17, was a good ol’ boy (and looked a lot like Eddie Rabbit), was drunk, and not as athletic as his beer induced mind had lead him to believe. The match only lasted a few minutes, my grandmother bringing a swift and final stop to the ruckus that was taking place in her home, unfortunately this was after one of them (or both) had gotten hurt because my uncle decided that losing in a play fight to his nephew just would not do, so it got a bit real for him.
I don’t remember ever seeing her again. Whether that was due to the first family introduction or not, I do not know. What I do know is that this particular story gives a brief insight into the process of weeding out romantic relationships that my family has perfected.
In a nutshell, if you can’t survive the initial meeting, best you run while you can.