3/15/08

My Family Circus

To say I have an "interesting" family is a blatant understatement. To attend a family dinner at my grandmother's ranch house is an experience. And to meet a few choice members can quite literally change the way you think (mostly of me, but also the way you think about the world and the people in it, too). John had the pleasure of meeting most of my family at one of these infamous gatherings well before we were married. So, I figured, he knew what he was in for before he "bought the cow". But Aunt Moe, somehow, slid under the radar. My Aunt Moe is Janis Joplin, reincarnated. She looks like her, she sounds like her, she even swaggers like her. Moe's tried and mastered every hallucinogenic drug on the market from 1962 to 1992 and three quarters of her brain is crispy fried to prove it. She's crashed cars, been to jail, outrun an abusive stalker husband, lived the rock star legend lifestyle with out the star. But she's definitely hit the rock (bottom, that is). She's an artist, a poet, and a really trippy dancer. I love her for her passion and her authentic hippie wardrobe. I love the way she finishes all her statements with, "right on, man". I love that she can recount the complete lyrics from any song produced between '64 and '81 without fail. And even if Janis Joplin didn't sing it, Moe can sing any song in her likeness. I love her long kinky fly away hair that is always parted down the middle. Tonight, I took the girls down to the ranch for dinner with my parents and grandmother, a few other family members and of course, good ol' Aunt Moe. Well, if you know Catholics, then you know it's the season of Lent. And every good Catholic gives up his or her favorite things for the 6 weeks or so preceding Easter. In my parents' case, this meant alcohol. They actually stopped drinking for Jesus. So dinner tonight was accompanied by plenty of cranberry & tonic mocktails. There's always a theme at these get togethers, tonight's theme: Mole Party. Everyone wore a mole (my dad provided brown felt stickers in various shapes and sizes) somewhere on their face. Why do we do this? Because life is a stage, and my family is nominated for it's umpteenth Oscar. And tonight, we were all sober. The sobriety is weird in itself, but add a mole and then you know you're in the twilight zone. I was actually glad John was working tonight and couldn't attend, I could only picture his reaction to all this nonsense. So I was saying, we were all sober....and then Aunt Moe shows up. Definitely NOT sober. As if we needed more entertainment. Well, you can imagine the hilarity of the night, a handful of sober Jesus freaks, Shelby all hopped up on Cadbury Eggs with a fresh mole stuck to her forehead, my mom pouring mocktails, my dad adjusting and reapplying moles, my grandmother asking me if my dog was my dog, "and what kind of dog? Is that your dog? And what kind of dog? Oh I had a lab once. Is that your dog? And what kind of dog?" You get the idea. And in the middle of it all was Aunt Moe, rockin on at higher and higher decibel levels, man. Oh yeah, and she had her mole on, too. She named it "The Holy Mole-y".

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This makes me wish my family was more "colorful" our gatherings seem dull in comparison. Perhaps we need to have "moles". -EC

Anonymous said...

What memories this story brings back. When your grandparents were remodeling "the ranch" I lived there with another of your aunts. It was under construction with cats, dogs and various other creatures going in and out but it was the perfect place for this recent college grad to live while working on a teaching credential and student teaching at Nipomo School. I also remember sitting at that big table after dinner and Al immediately falling asleep at the table...such fun!! At that point Moe was just starting her long crazy trip...
XOXO Neighba