One of the huge advantages I’ve had because I’m Andy’s Best Friend Ever (my official title..), is that I’ve been invited to some great Andyfamily parties. I’ve been to birthday parties, holiday parties and Vietnamese New Year.
Every Andyfamily party is pretty civilized — lots of excellent food, some good conversation and some adorable kids running around causing the right amount of chaos. For the most part, folks have conversations in which everyone takes a turn talking. Andyfamily is generally liberal, well-educated, clean and polite…. I love them. It’s a great time and we go home after a few hours. For the most part, Andyfamily is local — and having someone visit from out of town is enough justification for a party in and of itself.
If you’re in the area, you’re pretty much expected to attend an Andyfamily gathering. This is a policy I appreciate, because I’ve gotten to know Andyfamily gradually. I’ve met them in easily digestible chunks and I’ve had time to go home and appreciate both them and the relative calm of my own home (or Andy’s..).
This isn’t the way my side of the family does things — We pretty much declare a family gathering with a date and location (generally NOT a major holiday), then whomever can show up there does. Because we’re not local, these events are at least a weekend long and fairly infrequent…. I’ve missed a few, which has made me sad.
I’m not missing this weekend — and neither is Andy. Our event this weekend is to clean up Aunt H’s yard in Madison.
Aunt H is my grandfather’s sister. She’s sharp, sassy and like most of Pattyfamily, enjoys a good G n T — She lives in her own home and has a fantastic back porch — which has hosted many a Pattyfamily gathering. One of my cousins alerted us to the fact that her yard could use some work — and, not ever wanting to pass on a reason to have a good party, we declared a date and a location… and now the Pattyfamily is going to gather from across the midwest and Florida at Aunt H’s to show our love by getting dirty.
Aunt H lives in Madison, WI — the furthest distance traveled award will go to SuperMom — who is coming in from Florida — and, perhaps she’ll need to share it with Aunt S, who lives in Florida as well. Four of the “cousins” (my generation) will be there — from as far away as Cincinnati — Mom’s brother will be there from Omaha and a variety of other folks will join in the fun from points closer to Madison. None of us live in Madison… it’s the way we roll…
Of all of these folks, Andy will have met four of us before… me, mom, Hill and Mark. He met cousin Kathy and family in Colorado last March — they’re a relatively normal sub-set of Pattyfamily. So far, everyone has loved Andy — and I’m sure the trend will continue.
The thing is, Andy’s in for a whole new experience… I’m told that meeting two or three Pattyfamily members at a time isn’t the same kind of experience as meeting a whole bunch of us together. Since I met these folks pretty much at birth, I can’t say what it’s like to meet them — they’re just my wacky family.
So — what do I anticipate this weekend? If past Pattyfamily events are any indication, some or all of the following may occur:
- Lots of discussion about what to do and how to do it — much more talking than digging (although, the planning committee is gathering tomorrow to work on this one…).
- Serious disorganization in the event that we need to actually go someplace. This process takes hours.
- Much trying to pay for stuff — food, plants, booze, hotel rooms etc.
- It’s likely that Aunt H’s amazing local friends will join us at some point — they’re in the category of “friends who ARE family” — and a visit to Madison isn’t the same without them.
- We’ll have several meals together, but more than likely nobody will cook. We’re great at ordering pizza, eating easy snacks and generally not messing around in the kitchen. If I’d been thinking, I’d have coerced Andy into brining a pie… next time perhaps.
- Andy may learn some new stories about me — they may involve fish or vomit…. many stories about me have one or both of these in common.
- There will be good take out from the AMAZING barbecue place down the street from Hill’s… AMAZING!
- Conversations will take place on top of one another — with seemingly random transitions that can only be detected by folks experienced in Pattyfamily-talk.
- We’re all staying at the same hotel — so there may be hotel shenanigans — one year a member of our family, as a joke, called the front desk to complain about the noise coming from one of our rooms (Aunt H had brought her G n T kit — things were a bit rowdy). Hotel security came by…
- If there’s a bar in the hotel, I’m pretty sure the older generations will wake us youngings up when the bar closes.
- I’m going to miss having early breakfast with my grandpa — he died a couple of years ago and was always up before the ass-crack of dawn — reading the paper and having breakfast at the hotel. I know that nobody on the expected guest list is an ass-crack of dawn person, so I’ll probably roll over and go back to sleep like a normal human being.
Filed under: Other random stuff |