A post from yonder days for #thisiscrazylove2016
This is a blog I posted a couple of years ago. Today's crazy love goes to my Loftis family. I've decided today to repost it for today's #thisiscrazylove2016
Had an early Christmas celebration two days ago, we did. We went o’er to the Mrs’ Uncle’s home. (English folk, I want you to know I struggled with that last sentence. Seemed to have two possessives in it. Your advice would be much appreciated. Here on out I’d appreciate it if you don’t judge me.)
Uncle Tom and Aunt Babs like to have the Loftis family gather each year in their abode. Tom, being an accomplished Executive Chef, likes to throw down some scrumptious holiday grub and Babs roams the house making everyone feel welcome. You could wander in with manure caked under your nails, halitosis and a rat living in your hair, but if you came with one of the family then you get treated as one of the family.
There are four brothers. Each one couldn’t be more different than the others; different ways, mannerisms, speech, interests… you name it. Sometimes it can be difficult to settle in the mind that they all came from the same two parents. But, they did. And what they have in common with each other is fraternity. The four live in the same city. Though they’re rarely seen in the same location. Holidays mostly, or funerals or weddings. But when they do join, it is good ol’ fashioned fun. I find myself following them around, like some third grader wanting to see what the big kids do when mom isn’t watching. And they tolerate it. I don’t know, maybe they feel good that one of the younger guys thinks they’re cool. Maybe they just don’t have the heart to tell me to buzz off. I interject a bit, try to tell a joke here and there or find an outlandish story to bring to the competition. But mostly I just watch and observe. These men are salt of the earth. Each one is “what you see is what you get” and I love it. Some smoke, some don’t, some do sometimes and others not at all, some lie to themselves and say they don’t but they really do. I know that’s a lot of “somes” but anonymity is important and were I to start casting aspersions I may not be permitted in the fraternal league. Even if it is by matrimonial proxy.
I remember the first time I joined the whole family together for a Christmas gathering. The mother and father were still living and I was instantly hooked. The kindness, the care and concern for my well-being were all humbling. This amazing couple, up there in age, were a couple of laughing live wires with a look in the eyes that said, “We’re still full of a little piss and vinegar.” They were championship square dancers for crying out loud. Championship.
They’ve both passed on to that great barn dance in the sky now but if you look at their boys you’ll get a pretty good idea of the kind of people they were.
One of these four fellas is my father in law. I'll give him his own #thisiscrazylove2016 at a later date. Why will I single him out? For starters he didn't shoot me when I asked for his daughter's hand in marriage.
I love my family. I love them for the good and the bad. That said, I love my in-laws too. Mostly because they’ve never treated me like an in-law. I’m family and that’s it. When the patriarch of this family passed I was asked to read his favorite poem at the funeral. Pure anxiety did a cross-country ski trek through my body. I was nerves from head to toe. One of the rare times in my life all the “snappy dialogue dried up” to quote the Coen Brothers from the movie, “Miller’s Crossing.”
I stood on stage in his church and recited that poem with the fear of God in me imagining how Grandpa Loftis was sitting next to the Apostle Paul critiquing my oratory skills. All of this of while his lifelong bride was teaching King David how to dance proper buck dance style. I wanted to do the man who had been so good to me right with this small part in his life celebration.
His wife, the brothers’ mama, made my wife’s wedding dress. And my wife was a knock out! Still is but man, that dress. Wow! Everyone in the family holds dearly their quilt made by Bunny. Yes, that was her name. Not her Christian name but to call her anything else seemed just this side of sacrilegious.
So, there in that house, a few days before Christmas, we hugged necks, caught up on life, laughed at the old days, exchanged silly presents and ate and drank and shared our lives with one another. And truly, it's one of the reasons I look forward to Christmas each year.