Well it turns out that the one thing I really needed for this trip was not something I could get at Walmart in a pinch. It was my email PASSWORD!!!! Unbelievably lame of me, but I should be used to me by now. I spent a week unable to access anything of my own, but I quickly got over the withdrawels because I was so busy.
I had a great trip. It had some bad parts, which were very, very bad, and some good parts which were really quite neat and fun.
The worst part was sitting in the kitchen after my niece's graduation party while her estranged mother, my Ex-sister in law, held court on the breezy, pretty, screened in porch with her Christian Friends. We just wanted her to go HOME. She had the unmitigated GALL to bring her new husband to our house for the party. This is the "Christian" she ditched my brother for. They both go to the same church, I think it's called Church of Christ Sanctioned Adultery, or maybe it's Church of Christ Let Man Put Asunder. Either way, one of her cronies was sitting with her, and she's the very one who told all and sundry that she was Sooooo happy "Bicky" found a good CHRISTIAN man to marry, and that she got divorced and married this new guy right away so that now she can be Right with the Lord.
Of course this pariah of Non-Christianity, my dear brother, was the only person who went over and shook the new guys' hand and sat with him while he ate so that he would feel welcome. Really. I'm not kidding.
So that was the low point but the high point was laying in bed at my cousin Deet's house in the country listening to a marvelous summer thunderstorm. I was in bliss, I love the rain. They just don't have rain like that in Sacramento. You can't make up in quantity of all-winter-long-pouring rain what you can get in one Quality Lightening and Thunderstorm with the fresh, green, renewed smell of happiness right after.
I spent the night at Deet's and we had a Martha Stewart feast on her screened in back porch, with a full-surround sound view of nothing but fields and woods for as far as the eye could see. Then I happened to notice a little row of baby pine trees cutting a swathe across the path of the eye just a few feet from the porch. I asked Deet if she had intended for those trees to grow up and ruin her view, and she said, "well, there is a story to that." It seems that they had planted a good bit of their acreage in pine trees and the guy who rents their fields from them came along in the night and scythed them all down by mistake. As a gesture of sheer embarrassed redemption he also came along in the middle of the night and replanted new pine trees, and she didn't get to have much say in how they were spaced.
The Other Wonderful Moment that happened was as I was standing in Mom's kitchen during the graduation party, feeling a little overwhelmed by all the people I was trying to avoid (The Church of Christ Backstabbers came in droves, you see) when my uncle Ejay entered the room. Now, this guy is 6'5" tall, lanky, slow-talking and as funny and sweet as you can get. He is a lay minister and a deacon at the Methodist Church. He is also the ONLY boy smack dab in the middle of 8, count 'em, 8 sisters. You can imagine he is just as easy-going as they come...he has learned to tune out any female voice in a 30 mile radius. We spotted each other at just about the same moment, and hugged long and hard. I pulled back and said, "Oh, I am going to cry!" I was so happy to see him! And he said, through misty eyes, "Well, then. Let's just take a moment to be teary-eyed. Let's just stand here and do that."
I saw a ton of old friends and had so many little meaningful encounters, and plenty of laughs. It was hard, though. When families are shattered and those who do the shattering don't seem to have to pay any price at ALL for their selfishness. The new guy that 'Bicky' married is by all accounts a very nice man.
Nicer than me. I had a list of things I wanted to say to him but of course I was forbidden on pain of death to be anything but kindly or at least neutral.
I would have liked, upon being introduced, to have said:
a) Oh! Are you the Nice Christian Fellow that broke up our home? I didn't recognize you without the Scarlet Letter you should be wearing on your chest.
b) I feel soooo sorry for you! You have NO IDEA what you are getting yourself into, you poor, poor man!
c) I am SO happy to meet you! THANK you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking that shrew off our hands! We are all SO grateful to you! Now could you please take her away and move to Florida forever?
However, instead of any of those snarky remarks I just about broke my ankle trying to get away from them anytime she approached me with him in tow in order to introduce us. I could be found gibbering in the laundry room arranging the Plyley's Mints by shape and color.
I went and had blood drawn today, and the girl who stuck me with the needle was some kind of brutal torturer, I've never had a simple blood-drawing be so painful before. And now I have what looks like a blood blister or two of them side-by-side in the crook of my elbow. She must have hit a nerve AND an artery.
Blogger is having one of it's usual hissy fits, and won't let me upload any pictures. It did that all last week, too! So I guess you'll just have to IMAGINE all the things I've had to say!