This year, two of the male members of the family are down with slight complications. Uncle Ejay* (*not his real name but cleverly disguised facsimile nonetheless) had to have every tooth in his head extracted on Wednesday, but still took the time to arrange with Cousin Deet's* husband Stilts* (*not their real names) to drive up with him on Saturday. Stilts has a double sinus infection and is mortally ill, but he has assured Ejay that come hell or Halifax he will be well enough to drive up to the campsite for the weekend.
I think I've mentioned before that I grew up in a structured Matriarchal Society that more closely resembles a Mind Control Cult than a family. It's true! Various members of my family will regularly 'pronounce a truth' and if that 'truth' is not universally adopted on the spot, weeks of agonized emailing will ensue until all the players are on board. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
The Two-Headed Ruler of the Baker Family Cult
It is one of the tenets of the Baker Family Cult that you must never lie. If, however, a story can be made more dramatical by exaggerating it to the nth degree, then So Be It. Let it be done. Therefore, a hangnail that has festered can quickly turn into a full gangreneous amputation situation merely from the telling.
This year, there was a slight power struggle over some barbecue ribs that my Mom is especially good at fixing, and her sister, Deet's Mom Ignacia, decided that since one member of the family cannot eat ribs due to health problems, then nobody else should be able to eat them ever again. She was therefore forbidden to bring them along on the camping trip.
My Mom, being senior in rank and Cult Leader Stature, simply chose to ignore this edict.
Deet, expecting fireworks or at the very least, her mother's head blowing up when she realizes that my Mom brought those ribs anyway, decided to forgo the annual roonie trip for just this year.
She called me yesterday with an update. It seems that Aunt Flambe`, otherwise known as Aunt Frostie had a full scale gall bladder attack while in the deep North Woods looking for edible fungi. Deet didn't have all the facts, because for some reason, the person who was contacted with this rather alarming news was Aunt Pittypat. Who is otherwise known as the Boo-hoo Queen because she cries at the drop of a hat, but the gist of the story seems to be that Aunt Frostie needed a ride to the hospital so she could get her gall bladder removed real quick like so she could get back to the camp spot and not miss out on all the mushroom hunting.
Deet declined to drive the 5 hours up there to help her out, since she was for certain sure that by the time she got there it would have all been sorted out.
"I know how it will be!" said Deet with a sad shake of her head near the phone, "Whatever happens, it will be done with a lot of drama and will involve the entire camping trip being cancelled because no one can handle the strain and no one should be allowed to have any fun if Aunt Frostie is in the hospital, and my Mom will exit in triumph because she will have been proven to be right about those barbecue ribs being the cause of it all!"
Late last night, the phone rang and it was cousin TiVo Jane, daughter of Aunt Frostie. She was understandably hysterical because her Mom is in the hospital and is refusing to come home afterwards because she says there is no earthly reason she can't just go back to the campsite and sit in her lawn chair for the rest of her post-surgery recuperation period. TiVo Jane said, "I know how it will be! Mom will move that chair out into the deep woods and just keep moving it further and further out and she will be looking for mushrooms the entire time!"
I tried to comfort her by saying that gall bladder surgery was done with a small incision and a laser and it wasn't that bad. But she informed me that actually, her Mom had a gall stone the size of a boiled ostrich egg obstructing her pancreatic duct, and they were going to have to go in with a pair of pliers on a string, down her throat, and pull the stone out that way.
I know how it will be, too. I'll have to listen to each and every detail from each and every person's perspective, and this will go down in the annals of the family as the year my Mom killed Sandrine with her barbecue ribs, before she was saved my a miracle and a pair of pliers on a string.