Aw, Family

I’ve noticed more and more that I have to come home from visiting my family and wait for the Butcher to leave so that I can have a good cry and get on with my life.

I get tired.

By the time we left Coal City, I hated it and almost everyone in it.  The folks I didn’t loathe, I stayed in touch with.  The one person I did loathe who I can’t get rid of, I learned, over the last fifteen years, to finally have a little mercy on and, on both ends, I’m better for the effort.  But I was not well by the time I left there and it took a long time for me to be well again.

My dad still wants to drive us over there to look at the church and drive by the schools and look at the houses of the people we used to know.  And I caught him telling the church secretary about how much kinship I still felt for the people there.  And I’m baffled, still, by that.

I don’t expect anyone else in my family to not like that place.  I just never knew they didn’t know how much I hated it.

It’s weird, how families are.  How, on the one hand, you can feel all this kinship (ha) to them because you go through so much together all that OFST crap we were taught but only I still can’t shake off (Our Family Sticks Together), like some kind of malformed street gang.

And then, you can be standing there listening to your dad, holding the hand of your nephew, who will later on in the day tell you about how his dad likes to take him to bars and get drunk and you will feel, both at that moment in the church, and later, when you hear that, like you are somehow tied by blood to complete strangers, who remain utterly foreign to you, no matter how long you know them, and it will be, at that moment, that old impulse, the impulse you always felt on that ground, to drain their blood out of you, the thought of their blood touching you, inside you, too much for you to handle.

“Head for the hills,” they always say, when folks are trying to escape trouble, and I’m always glad when I can get in the car and drive, first across flat land, and then over more and more rolling hills, down the ridge, across the river, and safely home.

Am I Missing Something? How Does this Happen?

You’re Rocketown, a venue where adults and children are supposed to be able to go hear “appropriate” music in a drug and alcohol free environment.

And yet you book Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers?

And then are surprised when Wilkes’s penis gets whipped out?

Did you do no research before you booked these guys?

(h/t Nashvillest)


Last night, we had a huge baseball game over at my Aunt B.’s.  I wish y’all could have seen it.  They live on one of those huge south suburban lots of land, so the distance between home and first base was almost a city block and then first and second base were only about 25 feet apart, but third base was clear on the other side of the yard and then we had a home plate you touched if you were coming in from third that was different than the home base you stood at to bat, because the little kids would get tired of watching the Butcher and our cousin L. running around trying to tag each other out and so they’d want to bat long before the previous play would finish, so we had to have a place for the above 13 crowd to tag that wouldn’t interfere with the below 13’s enjoyment of the game.

We had to have three balls going at all times, because one was inevitably being used in the play going on on the field, one was being wrestled from one of the three dogs, and the other was being hit.

The dogs ended up being a boon for the under-13s though, because no matter how short those kids hit the ball, a dog would get it and take off with it, thus making possible a huge number of in-field home runs.

Base runners would become fielders, and then return to base running.  One time, we ran out of batters, because everyone was either on base or chasing a dog.

It was great fun.

We even had the little neighbor girl who, with a count of seven strikes, five balls, three foul tips, two dog interferences, and being distracted by her mom, managed, her first time at bat, to hit a grounder home run (greatly aided by the fact that no one wanted to wrestle the ball away from the mastiff playing what was probably shortstop, though it seemed to be located right between the pitcher and batter).