It’s All Relatives

My father was one of those joksters that could dangerously insert humor into a situation that could teeter either way…..example: One time, he had driven to K-mart (for those not familiar, K-mart is a step above Walmart in the class wars) to purchase a large quantity of diapers for my sister who had recently given birth. I guess my dad had either rolled thru a stop sign or sped thru a yellow light…anyways, he got pulled over.

When the officer approached the car and asked him where he was going, dad replied in his usual jocular way that he was trying to get home because he was in trouble with the wife for not bringing the baby home some diapers. My dad was in his early 60’s at the time with visible gray hair. He was also driving the family beater car..the one he used to haul Rufus, the family pet to the vet and other messy type errands. The diapers were in the front passenger seat. Dad laughed when he recalled the story..the officer let him go with a warning…obviously feeling sorry for my dad. Dad pulled this kind of stunt all the time.

My crazy Aunt Gin (my favorite aunt on my mothers side) had a penchant for extremely dark eyeliner and high bouffant hair styles. She wore torpedo type bras that I have only seen worn by Madonna or Miley Cyrus. Usually when we would travel to Tennessee to visit her, it would be in the summer and she would parade around the bedroom with a cold beer stuffed in a sock (she said it kept it cold that way) with either only her torpedo bra on and some tight pants. A cigarette was always nearby, usually perched between two fingers. My mom would join her with the beer, but mom’s bras were of the more delicate -lady like type. I only mention this now since she passed away a year ago. I miss her terribly.

Since she has passed I will share this story of my mom. She swore me never to tell it while she was still living. My dad passed away when he was only 63, (not long after the diaper incident). One day on a very cold winters afternoon, my mom wanted to go to the grave and put an arrangement down since it would of been dads birthday. It had recently snowed out and it was very cold. My mother by this point in her life had some issues with balance, so it wasn’t unusual for me to hold her arm when we went anywhere.

On the way to the cemetery, I had this wise idea to stop and get a six pack of beer, as my dad was a big beer drinker in his day and I figured we would drink a tribute toast to him at the grave site. So on the way this is exactly what I did. By the time we got to his grave, it was coming close to sundown, so instead of each of us drinking a beer…we shared one, side by side, taking turns swigging it down silently staring at the grave and watching our breath as we took turns swigging. A regular bunch of hillbillies if you ever saw one. After drinking it down, we decided we better get going.

We very well couldn’t leave the beer can at the cemetery, so mom held the empty can while I guided her by the arm as we headed to the car. Up the same walkway we were headed down comes another family up the walkway. They were dressed up as if they had left church.

At first I couldn’t understand the looks of disdain mom and I were getting from them, then I realized what they were looking at. Here I was, holding up what appeared to be my elderly, intoxicated mother who was holding a beer can. I smiled and mom didn’t say a word until we got into the car. *They thought I was drunk!* She made me swear to secrecy that story. Well, until now.