Monday, December 22, 2003

The Pre-Christmas Christmas

Considering the wife and I spent a total of just 41 hours in Louisiana this weekend for Cap'n Ken's Bizarre Family Pre-Christmas Christmas celebration, it was an eventful time. The highlights:

• The adoptive mother of my niece - who my middle sister gave up for adoption 21 years ago and rediscovered a couple of years back - came to dinner. Now I know why my niece always figured she was adopted. "Mom" is a troll, and clearly shares no genes with my niece, who is a really beautiful girl (if you look past the heavy Baton Rouge makeup and trashy style).

• My oldest nephew (second child of the middle sister) was working Saturday, so he came by Friday night with his girlfriend. This - understandably in Louisiana - caused some angst for my sister, as the nephew's girlfriend is black. Not only does "black girlfriend" hardly qualify as a scandal in my family, but I hail from the big city, sis. Tell me he's a transvestite and his girlfriend is a one-legged bi-racial underage boy and maybe you shock me.

• My next-oldest nephew (first child of my oldest sister) brought his girlfriend along as well. They are both 18, neither finished high school, both work fast-food jobs and they live together not far from my oldest sister in Texas. I'd not met the girlfriend before, and was quite prepared to disapprove. Would you believe I came away liking and respecting her? She's pushing the nephew back toward school and seems to give him the structure his life had lacked for a long time.

• The third-oldest nephew (second child of my oldest sister) is working on a hip-hop career, sports a new bottom-lip piercing and chain smokes with the approval of his mom. He's 16. But he's "off the dope" as my sister says, is making good grades and wants to be a landscape architect. The bright hope of the family.

• My youngest nephew (the third child of my middle sister) is going into 6th grade next year and just got accepted at Jimmy Swaggart's Christian school. And this is seen as a good thing ... Public eduction in Louisiana is so bad, you see, that kids are better off with a Swaggart education than an East Baton Rouge Parish Schools one.

• I found out Saturday morning that my stepfather had invited his 30-year-old adopted son (my adopted step-brother, I suppose) down from North Louisiana for our Pre-Christmas Christmas dinner. He had no where else to go, I was told, because his younger brother (biological and also adopted by my stepfather) doesn't want him around because the older brother has recently gotten married to his (the older brother's) first wife's cousin. The younger brother is still friends with that first wife, and thus does not want his older brother - or the wife's cousin, I suppose - around at Christmas. The beat-down Oldsmobuick carrying my adopted step-brother, his cousin-in-law-turned-second-wife and four little redneck kids of varying heritage pulled up right as we were walking in the house Saturday. Taking in the Redneck spectacle on a security-camera monitor (a leftover from the Baton Rouge serial killer days) - my long-lost niece asked "Does the little kid have a mullet??"

• My parents were talking about finding the Paris Hilton sex video on the Internet ... but the video they described was not the Paris Hilton video. I was scared to learn more about what they were actually watching, and why.

• My crazy aunt (the wife of my mother's oldest brother) showed up right as we were leaving Saturday night. Actually, her car appeared on the security monitor as we were beginning to leave, which greatly hastened our exit. This is the woman, you see, who two years ago crashed our close-family gift exchange and was so horrified to not have presents to give us that she excused herself ("I need to run out to the car"), snuck off to Walgreen's, bought a few sets of cheap Christmas dinnerware and two hours later came back with makeshift gifts for all of us. No, none of us had presents for her.

• Somehow in all the excitement, I came down with Pink Eye.

I blame the kid with the mullet.

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