Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Gene Pool

Blair's been in the process of introducing her sweet boyfriend around to our family, little by little, over the last few months.  You remember how that was, right?  It's kind of like getting into a cold swimming pool.  You can do it one of two ways.......1) get it over with, all at once, by jumping right in......or 2) inch your way in one cold step after another until you're finally in up to your neck.  You can achieve the "jumping right in" method by submerging your new friend at a family wedding or large family reunion.......or, if you prefer, the gradual approach is achieved when you just let them wade in one gene pool tributary at a time.....dipping in at smaller gatherings.  How ever you do it, I suppose with each family pool we visit, it takes a while to get used to the water.

You remember those days.  Parents, especially, were always loose cannons.....you just never knew what they'd say or ask and the longer you had to sit there, the more desperate they'd get for conversation topics.  This would spell trouble for you.  The last thing you'd want is your parents trying to think on their feet.  I mean, after they asked where his people went to church, where his parents worked, and where they're all originally from, there's just no telling where it would go from there.  It was anybody's guess, really.  
My mother was/is the reigning Queen of the Interrogative Sentence.  She has held this title consecutively since the mid-70's.....undefeated......hands down......no contest.  She can use the question mark in ways you've never even thought of before.  She can fire them off at a rate of 30 questions per minute (qpm).  Unheard of.  A true master of her craft.  She's always just a couple of bright spotlights short of a full blown interrogation. 

Anyway, she'd always tell my daddy to turn the TV off when a new friend was coming in the door.  He'd try to just turn the volume down because he was usually engrossed in an episode of 20/20 in which Hugh Downs was covering something especially riveting or, heaven forbid, the guest should come in the middle of one of Lawrence Welk's reunion specials, because, well, that was non-negotiable. 

Being southern, she'd always offer him food and drink, but, of course, no one had an appetite at that particular moment.  Minutes would pass at a snail's pace as you'd sit there with your parents making small talk.  Our clock would tick so loudly on the wall....seemed louder than usual.....almost like one of Wile E. Coyote's time bombs.  Tick, tick, tick, tick......like time was taunting you as to how it was deliberately dragging its feet.  There was just something about those first time meetings with the family that were just a little unnerving.  

Yeah, family......they're the ones who know us in our most natural form.....the shucked down, unpolished version that lies beneath what everyone else sees.  I mean, really, they're the only people who don't flinch when they see us straight out of the bed in the morning.     

They've heard you snore on the couch and seen you drool on the throw pillows. They know exactly what you're doing when you cross your legs while you're laughing really hard.  They're the only people who've ever heard you say that one word you say when you hit your toe on the chair leg.    They've seen you throw a thing or two across the room.  They know how many helpings of banana pudding you can really eat....and it's not the polite portion you take when you eat at someone else's house.  They hear what you say when you talk about the people who drive too slowly in front of you.  They've seen your plantar's wart, heard enough about your acid reflux to write a book and, yes, they know what fried foods do to your stomach.  With them, there's no need to spit shine anything or make like you're happy if you're not.  You can just come home, take the bra off at the end of the day, get comfortable, slather on the zit cream, and tell people how you really feel.

When we have visitors, well, we tend to sit up a little straighter and measure our words more carefully.  I mean, we're pretty sure our families are normal....that ours is just like everyone else's, but when we have guests, we tend to play it safe and migrate more toward the Cleaver/Huxtable model.....you know, just in case.  Everyone is encouraged to be on their best behavior.....in other words, "let's don't act the way we normally do".....at least, for the first couple of visits. 

We cook a bit more, set the table a little nicer, dress a tad spiffier, and talk a little sweeter.  For instance, if we have company, I probably wouldn't say, "Davis, if I have to tell you one more time to come take this leaking, stinking trash out, I'm going to smother you with your pillow while you sleep tonight".  No, instead, I would probably use my squinted eyes and furrowed brow to send unkind messages to him across the room.....perhaps, with some added mouthing and hand gestures to emphasize my point....all while saying, "Davis, dear....will you, please, come get this trash?"  And in response, he would say, "Coming, my precious".

It's just what you do when people come around.

We're not so sure anyone can handle the raw version of us, so we bring it out in small doses. 
We really enjoyed our Easter weekend!  Oh, and we took some really good family pictures before we left for church and I'd love to show you those.........if only a memory card had been in the camera at the time that we took them.  And the one that was taken at church, well, the sun was so bright that we all look like we were being interrogated by my mother, so.....there's that.
This game face spent a lot of time in this uniform this weekend!. 
Blair's strawberry lamb cake was delicious! 

The pants arrived in time and everyone got the yellow memo.   
"It's so bright!  Ok, ok......I'll talk....what do you want to know!?"   

But.........here's the only thing that really mattered this Easter.

Hope you had a great Easter weekend with your family!
Glad to be back at it! 




  1. Hahaha love your take on interrogating the boyfriend. So true! Honestly Joni, your writing is humorous and insightful. The lamb cake is so cute and scrumptious looking. A beautiful family looking very Springy for Easter service. Kathleen in Az

    1. Thank you, sweet Kathleen! You're so precious :)

  2. This just tickled me! The first time my mama met my now husband was in an Outback. About mid dinner she awkwardly leaned across the table and belted out... "So, what color are your eyes?" Answer: Blue. I think she was conducting research for future grandbabies. Which the now baby's eyes are also blue.

    1. Hahahaha......Megan, that is hilarious!!!! I'm dying! Well, these are things a prospective mother-in-law would need to know, I suppose! That's too funny :)