Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Home: 'Ohana

Once upon a time, family dinners were small. There was one basic rule governing these affairs: Leonard and John ate last, unless it was one of our birthdays. Then, and only then, were we really allowed to eat before the girls -- but only whichever one of us was celebrating their birthday! I don't think this rule was there out of any real desire for gentlemanly conduct to be groomed into our characters -- not that our sisters didn't try, mind you. No, the real reason was simple: we were human garbage disposals, and we ate the rest of the food.

Those days of simplicity are long gone. Family dinners are thousands-of-miles affairs now, the kinds of things that take a long time to plan and supercede everything else on the schedule.

It used to be just the nine of us, back when Lisa and Mon and Mary all had braids, Leonard was short, John Boy had hair, and Steph and Malia weren't big enough to live with the five big kids in the one room. Did we really have five of us in there, wherever "there" was? Goodness. That was a long, long, long time ago. Back then, the older Aunties and Uncles on Mom's side seemed a lot taller -- their pants didn't go up so far past their belly-buttons, either -- and Dad and Mom would introduce us to them by lining us up and saying, "Dis numbah one, dis numbah two..." Aaahhh, those were the days!

We still tell old stories over and over and over again, and the old jokes never really do get old. I mean, who can Twilight Zone/Jeopardy game...Leonard's repeated renditions of Home on the Range...Mon's repeat of Kindergarten...Mary's tooth in the racquetball court...Stephanie falling asleep "on time" during dinner...Dad sitting down in front of one of us and moving his shoulders...Lisa's infamous retreats from her battles with the cockroaches...Malia learning to swim and saying, "I swim!"...or the countless times Mom has said "clowset"?

Dinners together are a much rarer occasion these days. They're much larger, too. Counting the five significant others, two nieces and six nephews, not to mention Lisa and Jeff's three foster kids, we're easily over twenty bodies stuffed into whatever house we're eating at. It's a chaotic mass of bodies, all eating and talking and laughing, with a more than occasional fit of yelling or crying thrown in there. My nephews will scurry by, and all I see is an unidentified head of black hair bobbing up and down in a toddleresque bobble. Kayla or Kyle will complain, "It's not my turn to do the dishes!" Makana will run away from her Uncle Johnny, exclaiming all the while, "Daddy! Mommy!"

Yes, the chaos is almost overbearing to someone who craves quiet and solitude just as much as he craves the surf. You know what, though? I'll take it...we'll all take it. We'd rather be driving each other nuts when we're together than be sad when we're apart.

And believe me, right now, we're pretty stinkin' sad.

posted by Bolo | 11:58 PM
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