Monday, June 04, 2007

Family obligations

Fri morning Spouse & I got up and cleaned the house in preparation for his family's visit. I usually do most of the organizing/putting away of things and then I vacuum the entire house. Spouse usually cleans the bathrooms (because I HATE doing that) and tidies up the kitchen. He's always finished before me, if you see what I'm sayin'...

We showered, dressed, and had a little time to sit and relax before they arrived at 11:45. Since this was their first visit, we gave them 'the tour' and then had lunch. I'd gotten nice Italian bread, turkey breast, honey ham, and 2 kinds of cheese for everyone to make a sandwich. I also made a cold pasta salad to go along with. We had a nice lunch, and then everyone went to their respective rooms to change clothes.

Dressed in our 'Sunday go to meetin' clothes', Spouse, his mother, sister, brother, and sister-in-law and I got comfortable in the Suburban and headed north just passed Philadelphia. We got stuck in some late afternoon traffic around Philly, but eventually arrived at our exit near Levittown, PA.

Spouse's aunt and uncle were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with a Mass at 5:00, followed by a reception at a country club at 7:00. I'd been looking forward to going for several months because I really like this aunt and uncle, because 50 years is quite a milestone, and because it is a real 'family' thing to participate in. The only part of the event I was not looking forward to was sitting through a Catholic Mass.

Because of my being brought up in the Jehovah's Witness religion, and subsequently kicked out when I 'came out', my feelings are rather sensitive when it comes to religions. Also, the hypocrisy and abuse by many current religious leaders has further irritated my condition. Although this country was colonized by people searching for religious freedom, nowadays it seems you can't be American unless you are religious. The religious conservatives and fundamentalists have hijacked 'America'. And the Catholics' view of homosexuality does nothing to endear me, either. I was afraid I might get mad at what I would have to listen to, just to support the 'golden' couple.

The priest included the expected comparison of God's creation of Eve as a companion to Adam to modern day marriage, citing both as 'blessings'. Yada yada yada. Stand up; sit down; stand up; sit down. Then he started in on the "marriage is the union between a man and a woman" bit and I began to fidget as I could feel my temperature rising. But then I stopped and thought to myself: 'I'm here for aunt Antoinette and uncle Domenic. I'm not here for religious education. This Mass is part of how they chose to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Its all about them; its not supposed to be about me.' So I took a deep breath, stopped fidgeting, and allowed myself to relax. Its pretty amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.

After the Mass everyone went outside and talked at the entrance to the church. There were several cousins of Spouse who live in the Philadelphia area that he hadn't seen in years. It was nice to see and talk with aunt Antoinette and uncle Domenic, both of whom seemed to have permanent smiles on their faces, and their two sons.

Then we all headed over to the country club place where the reception was. We got there before 7:00 so we had to stay out in the large foyer where there were lots of sofas and upholstered chairs. It looked like the furniture had been purchased in the late 1980s, not because it was tattered, but because of the colors and patterns. Its funny how colors and patterns can give away the age of furniture even when its in good condition. Finally the staff opened the doors to the Grand Ballroom and we filed in.

Everyone seemed to be huddled around a table, waiting to sign the guest book I presumed. Then I realized they were looking at the name cards, trying to find theirs so they'd know which table to sit at. As soon as everyone was inside, the DJ started playing music and the parade of stainless steel platters began as the staff brought appetizers to the buffet tables. There was an open bar too. It seemed like every person who walked past our table with a plate of appetizers had different things on them, things that were not on the table when I was there. Spouse & I decided to visit the appetizers again and got completely different food the 2nd time. Then a horrible thought struck me: What if this IS the buffet? What if its just appetizers? I quietly whispered this frightening suggestion to Spouse and his sister Mary, who were equally as alarmed as I. Fortunately a few minutes later Mary overheard one of the staff telling another staffer that dinner would start at 8:00. Whew! No need for future panic.

More people attended the reception than the Mass, likely because many people were not off work by 5:00 when the Mass started. So Spouse and his siblings were able to visit with even more relatives at the reception. Lots and lots of photos were taken. I'd planned to take a lot too, but was disappointed when the battery in our camera went dead after only 3 shots. And I'd just replaced the battery a month ago when I took all those flower photos in the neighborhood. What's that all about?

The dinner buffet was brought out and each table was called by a staffer to line up, one by one. Then the appetizer buffet was replaced by a dessert buffet, followed by the cutting of the wedding cake. Yep, they had a 3-tier wedding cake too! We ate until we were stuffed, then watched mostly senior citizens as they danced that graceful, coordinated way they do. I love to watch old people dance. They really look like they know what they're doing.

Finally at 10:30 we decided we should say our goodbyes and prepare to leave. We still had a 2 1/2 hour drive ahead of us. After exchanging lots of hugs, kisses, and email addresses, we hoisted our satiated selves into the Suburban and headed back to the highway. We got back to Lewes at 1:20 am, got everyone into bed by 1:45 am, and then Spouse & I collapsed into bed and talked quietly about the night for another 15 minutes or so.

Despite having gone to be so late, Spouse's mother got up at 7 am, and Spouse's brother got up at 7:30! Fortunately I didn't hear them. I felt Spouse rolling over so I looked at the clock at 8:11 am. He said he was getting up since his family was already up, so I got up too. I slid down the stairs to the kitchen and put on the coffee. We all gathered in the living room and recalled the nice time we'd had the night before. Brother and sister-in-law are coming back in Aug to spend 5 days with us. They will use our place as a base camp and take day trips to the beach, outlet shopping, take the ferry to Cape May, etc.

At 9:30 the 6 of us walked to the Blue Plate Diner for breakfast, then we took the long way home so that the family could see more of downtown. Then everyone packed up and left at 11:30. Spouse took a nap and I lounged on the couch and watched TV.

Drag Queen name of the day: Lisa Carr

No comments: