Yesterday we had a party. It was held to celebrate Michael's 6th Birthday, and it was a good party. We had the pool open, a Jupiter Jump, enough hotdogs and chips to make the Oklahoma National Guard feel at home, and the weather was, at least, tolerable.
Actually it rained .... a bit. Not enough to spoil anything, but enough so that I couldn't mow (good), and enough to keep the temperature below 90F (even better)
Michael had an absolute blast, and so did all the many other kids here. In the end, that was the point, so we claim the event a success.
Now let's talk about the adults for a moment.
This party was remarkable mainly for the fact that it is the first time since Michael's father left this house 3 years ago, that both sides of the children's family have occupied the same patch of (over-long) grass at the same time. The 2 weeks leading up to the function were punctuated by periods of Jodie worrying that the knives were all going to be used to cut food, and not find their way between the shoulders of varying family members.
Here is the reason. Jodie's family, and our friends, are decent, tolerant (well maybe not Tracy) and supportive. They are quite the nicest bunch of people I have met in many a decade. Jodie's ex-inlaws are dull, boring and filled with anger, resentment and enmity towards anyone not sharing the shallow end of the gene pool with them. The picture (right) shows two of the nice people, Jim and Ashley, Jodie's Dad and niece.
We have spent many happy hours, over the last three years, with Jodie's family, at many events from Baptisms to Thanksgiving, and rarely, if ever, has there been a cross word spoken. These people actually like each other. They even seem to like the weird Limey Jodie imported a few years back. Well they are at least polite enough not to object :)
Here are the Clampetts. Denny is the kid's Dad. He is the one in the foreground, who made a special effort to dress for his son's party. Now Denny I understand. He is not highly educated, but a hard working man who genuinely feels he does his best for his kids. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much of a grasp of their actual needs, so he gets it wrong, sometimes comically wrong, often tragically wrong. No matter, he works, he supports, and he visits with them.
Then he launches a futile legal action that deprives his kids of a good deal of money that, instead of being used to bring up his children, is used instead to meet the down payments on the Mercedes driven by various attorneys. He is a racist and a homophobe. To his credit, he is slightly less so than his father, and that is, I guess, to his credit. Nonetheless, yesterday he was respectful, and we were happy to have him here.
The rest of the tribe get no such credit. Jodie was concerned that I might be uncomfortable, given that this family has directed, albeit indirectly, a good deal of resentment in my direction. I assured her it was no problem at all. After all, they were coming to my house, to sit under a porch I built, on furniture I made and eat food I had not only had just been out and bought, but had cooked for them. I was perfectly relaxed. Besides, they are all way too busy concentrating on their own petty squabbles to worry too much about me ..... but for the record ...
One refused to meet my eye when introduced. Her problem. She also just fell out with her sister, and spoke to her probably even less than she spoke to me. One shook my hand, then wouldn't utter another word the whole time there. He did manage a good few hotdogs though, and he sat in my chairs, and was entirely unable to find anything to criticize. His wife was a little more forthcoming. At any other time she would have been downright rude, but these are strange times, and by comparasion she was fine.
Any way, they came, they partied and they left. They all went off to a restaurant for dinner, and I was going to say that I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall, but really, I don't care. They won't be coming back anytime soon, and even if they do, so what?
Jodie left that family after the best part of 10 years trying to make a life for herself and her kids. What took her so long? It's really quite curious watching these folk, and wondering about Jodie trying to fit .... she doesn't, she never did and she is a better person because of that. They will never see it. They are someone else's problem now.
There were other people here. Nice people, non-judgmental, or at least able to reserve judgment and enjoy family. They will come time and again, and we will enjoy them coming, time and again. We visited with friends, we partied and we sung karaoke until late. They went home happy and relaxed.
Tracy, by the way, is adorable .... quite one of the best friends a person could wish for.
Tracy's husband, Cory, has eagle eyes, and he found this lurking under the edge of the air conditioner. It is a Black Widow Spider. Technically, it is now an *ex-BWS* .... we squished it, sorry.
This little blighter is nasty. It is highly venemous, although, to be fair, rarely fatal. Being fair to spiders is an amusing concept, but hey, I like insects :)
It is was one of those *moments* when I realise I am a long way from much that is familiar to me. On the other hand, which ever side of the Atlantic you live on, squishing spiders is pretty much the same process.
Let's take a look at the birthday boy: