Had a wonderful party on Long Island this past weekend for my grandfather’s 80th birthday. Family members flew in from the West coast, drove out from Queens and even took horrible train rides on the Long Island Rail Road sitting next to puffy looking Asian men who continually fell asleep on their shoulder (me).
There was great homemade food (plus the famed coconut shrimp, which thankfully were as good as remembered) and my mom couldn’t tear me away from the homemade sangria. It got to the point where, when it came time for The Girlfriend and I to take the train home, I considered the prospect carrying the half-full jug with me back to the city using the logic, “Well no one’s going to drink it here.” This is why my mom worries about me.
The best part, though, was about 15 minutes before the guests were scheduled to arrive, my immediate family is congregating in the kitchen. Conversation turns to how The Girlfriend has yet to meet the “other” relatives on my mother’s side of the family, namely the ones from Queens.
My sister comments: “Oh, you’re in for a surprise.”
My aunt comments: “You’re going to be thank us for being so normal.”
My mother comments: “You’re going to love us, because we’ll protect you.”
My father comments: (Head tilted to the side, smirk on face and a knowing chuckle . . . My father doesn’t say much.)
You would think they were a bunch of ex-cons or werewolves when really they just drink a lot and say things at the dinner table like, “Screw you, you wouldn’t know a good manicotti if it came out your ass.”
So when they show up The Girlfriend unconsciously grabs my arm, trying to keep a smile on her face. My 65 year old cousin Phyllis, after surveying the renovations my parents have done to the house, comes over and says, “The house is gorgeous! Don’t get me wrong, a young stud is nice too; but this is fantastic.”