December 2, 2003
Thanksgiving in Riverside
As you know, I spent Thanksgiving this year with Kyle and family in Riverside, where most of his extended family lives. We stayed with Marilyn’s Mom Jackie (Gramzy). She has a lovely house, aside from the bathmat, which made numerous attempts on my life during my stay there. I think it thought I was challenging it for territory.
If you have the means, I strongly recommend it. All the comforts and family-ness of home, but several hundred miles closer. On hand for Thanksgiving were Kyle’s parents, Bob and Marilyn, Marilyn’s two sisters, Margie and Brenda, Margie’s husband Larry and kids Jackie Sue and Nick and their kids Ashlee and Elisa (respectively), Brenda’s daughter Cori and her friend Justin (Jason? I think it started with a J), Bob’s mother Eva, his brother Bill and his wife Carol, Marilyn’s mother (who’s house it was, after all) Jackie, Marilyn’s father Ralph and his new wife Jackie (must have a thing for the name), and Nick’s friend whose name I never quite caught.
On Thanksgiving we had dinner at around one, and then just relaxed for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Kyle, Bob, Jackie, and I played a few rubbers of bridge. My game has fallen off considerably, but I managed to win when I was on Bob’s team. And by a lot, too.
We watched the footage of the tour team in Ohio after dinner that I had brought with me on my laptop (and for those of you who are anxious to see it, I can’t put it up yet. It’s several gigs large, and you’d bring my webserver to its knees.) Everyone was impressed, and Ashlee (who is sixish, and about the cutest girl you’ve ever seen) wanted me to dance with her. She asked me many times, and I obliged, but her concept of dancing was very spinny, with much waving of the hands. I asked if she wanted to Waltz.
“No,” she said. “Just dance.”
We would repeat this conversation many times that night, but, as I told her, I have years more experience at being stubborn, and so I eventually won out.
We waltzed a little box step for a while, and she was doing quite well. Once we performed for others, though, it sort of fell apart.
On Friday we went over to Bob’s Mother’s house to help her decorate for Christmas. And to get rid of her stuff. This would be the last time she decorated her house for Christmas; she’s moving into an old-persons’ home soon, and there won’t be enough space to keep all her decorations.
Going through Eva’s boxes of Christmas decorations as we performed a kind of emotional triage, I saw many old ornaments, made by kids and grandkids, and probably Eva herself many years ago. Some of them were faded and falling apart, veterans of years next to hot lights.
Eva was ostensibly on hand to decide what she wanted to keep and what could go, but whenever she was asked if she wanted something, she just responded “I don’t care.” Watching her clutch her creations, though, telling us about when she made them and how much work she had put into them, it was clear that what she meant was that someone else would have to make the decision for her because she didn’t want to give any of it up.
Once we got past that, though, things started being divvyed for the kids, and I think Eva felt better. I know I felt better. Kyle’s brother Danny, and his new wife Julia, married this summer, have no ornaments, so they got the lion’s share of those. Brent and Melissa (Kyle’s oldest brother and his wife) were promised some dishware. And other new families got pieces of family heritage too. Even Kyle had things set aside for “when he gets married,” a phrase that I delighted in hearing, because I could interject “if.”
On Saturday, Kyle and I went to Castle Park, a miniature golf-arcade-amusement park type place, to play miniature golf. They had four courses, and we played them all, for a total of 69 holes (17×4 + 1).
Because I made the last shot for a hole-in-one. In fact, we found another ball just sitting on one of the courses as we were playing, so I took another shot with it, and hit the last one in for a hole-in-one as well. So we got two free passes to play golf there too. I think I’m on a hot streak. The last 3 shots at those free games of golf I’ve taken, I’ve made. Vegas, here I come.
Saturday night, we went to see The Glory of Christmas at the Crystal Cathedral. It was very nice. It was what I think a live-action version adapted from a Disney animated version of the Birth of Christ would be like. And they brought animals into the church. Romans, on horseback. Kings, on camels, three of them! Freaking camels! They’re like 10 feet tall.
The three kings presented their gifts to the happy couple cum child, announcing each one:
“Gold, from the mines of King Solomon.”
“Frankincense, from a far eastern shore.”
“Myrrh, from ancient spices.”
Ashlee was unimpressed.
I want one.
(Edited to fix stuff Kyle pointed out)