16 April 2007

22 illuminating realization #1

there's something extraordinary about the mississippi funeral- or at least about my family's mississippi funerals. you really see where faulkner was coming from. we are very bundren.

this weekend we buried aunt druecilla. in my mind- because i am sometimes a resentful bitch- aunt druecilla has always been known for one thing. when i was five, the grandparents and i visited her, she gave us a whole mountain of peas, and for kicks we shelled them in the car the whole way home.

the very minute the last pea went tumbling into the bucket, the telephone rang. it was druecilla. she hadn't meant to give us the peas and she demanded that we bring them back.

just say the name druecilla and i automatically think, grrrr. peas.

[ironically, my mum swears it was grape juice, but i stand by the peas.]

i've always associated aunt druecilla with hand cramps and callused fingers. in reality, there was obviously more. the woman went through some extremely tough shit and she never wavered. and to cope with that, she had what her son, as he leaned over her coffin and smiled, dubbed "Her Ways."

druecilla was my grandfather's half-sister. her mother- who had a bazillion children- married a man- who had a bazillion children- and then they had my grandfather. all his life, my grandfather heard about this whole batch of relatives that belonged to druecilla's dad and weren't related to him. druecilla always called them "MY cousins." she made it abundantly clear they were in no way his.

it turns out- 78 years later- that they were. and upon druecilla's death, my grandfather discovered this whole pile of people he didn't know he had.

it is extraordinary to watch a man who has spent a week reconciling himself to the idea that his family had been reduced to him and an older brother see a whole new unexpected world open up. a world in which he has relatives who have a mailing list and bi-monthly crawdad boils and annual reunions on boat docks.

it is extraordinary to hold his hand as time and again a complete stranger to whom he is mysteriously connected by blood exclaims in sheepish wonder, we didn't even know you EXISTED.

his gray eyes lit up and he'd softly say, i never knew you were mine.

22 comments:

Les Savy Ferd said...

a) peas are gross, so shelling or not, *perceived* shelling or not, you were well within your rights to be grumpy.

b) Not to be disrespectful in any way, but I'm pretty sure anyone named druecilla is a vampire. If i have learned anything from Buffy, I have learned this.

c) hehe. you said 'crawdad'. (and yes, i'm backwoods enough to know what one is).

d) in the department of the completely irrelevant, Menomena has just been added to the sunday pitchfork line-up.

e) Your grandad sounds like an awfully nice person. Reminds me of mine (on my mum's side), the single greatest male role model I've ever known. All gentle and smiling and snowy-haired comb-over-ed and everything.

f) i aplogize for the lack of piratian dialogue on your 'boards'. it is inexcusable and won't happen again. at least without further apologies.

g) g is for grape juice. Which is sour. and another excellent symbol to wrap resentfulness around. So your moms may be right. Maybe you were shelling grapes? de-seeding grapes? Graping apes?

oline said...

a) peas are yummy- at least when you like green things. shelling peas is fun for about 10 minutes and then the fun dies a brutal horrid death.

b) no comment, except that her real name was "jessie" and she elected to call herself druecilla.

c) you're backwoods?!

d) i did something akin to princess of power arms there. WAHOO.

e) my grandfather is the nicest person in the world.

f) forgiven. but only if we blades of glory soon and very soon!

g) grapes are the eyeballs of the fruit world. yuck.

Les Savy Ferd said...

a) green things were invented by God so that cows and ittle widdy bunnies could have something to eat. They're not for people. but mmmmmm, BBQ ittle widdies. now that's good eatin'!

b) That's okay. My real name isn't Ferdinand either.

c) as backwoods as muskrat stew.

d) and a bunch of other bands I've never heard of. Pitchfork sign obscure music? Unthinkable.

e) no, mine is. (it's on now)

f) I like moving pictures. please, lets.

g) if grapes are the slimy eye-balls of the fruit world, what are melons? dare I ask, peaches?

oline said...

a) are you bbqing ittle widdy bunnies?!

b) it's not mister dread pirate dougO toesock ferdinand cosbO then? shocker.

c) which they, of course, eat in the swamps of louisiana.

d) am at last begrudgingly excited.

e) nuh uh. MINE. (shall it come to fisticuffs?)

f) yes.

g) i actually like grapes- just not the idea of peeling them. melons, on the other hand, taste like wet sand and i harbor no fondnesses for them. and peaches, you dare ask? i daren't answer.

Les Savy Ferd said...

a) No. not presently. but I would if I could. Everything, lamps, chickens, candy-canes, everything tastes good BBQ. By the way, when are we going to get some bates and dacon again?

b) That is my nom de plume. treat it with care. or respect. or at least feigned dignity.

c) I've never been to the swamps of Louisiana but I'm pretty sure they bare a passing resemblance to the heat trodden death plains of south-central Indiana.

d) you were excited all along. admit it. do it. live it.

e) I must respectfully disagree. Pistols at dawn?

f) Yes. I'm glad we agree on something. Er, what have I agreed to again?

g) Fruit is nature's candy. it's all delicious. whether canned, fresh, or somewhere in between. An excellent source of vitamin C and other essential nutrients. No, I haven't quit my gig at the So-Slo board of tourism for a comfy post on the USDA Fruit Trust Inc.

oline said...

a) ah, bates and dacon. birthday's are a'coming. shall we eat like kings? and you can have your bbqed bunnies, but i'm getting the real thing tonight. so ha!

b) [the oline genuflects with feigned respectful dignity.]

c) every time i'm in the swamps of louisiana my first thought it, "wherefore art thou, indiana?"

d) no comment.

e) meet me at the midway at half past noon. a walk off? (and SERIOUSLY. ZOOLANDER. MY PLACE. PRONTO.)

f) blades of glory outlook good.

g) mister j and i saw your gang the decemberists last week and their presence onstage was preceeded by a rousing rendition of what i'm quite sure was the So-Slo national anthem. because it's always december in southern slovakia, no?

Les Savy Ferd said...

a) *sniff* *single tear* Eat a delictable golden-brown hock for me please.

b) You forgot the trumpet fanfare. I'm nothing without fanfare.

c) you travel to the swamps of LA regularly?

d) try as you might, you can't trick yourself into lowering your expections for PitchFork '07. Because if you do you'll be simply blown away by the goodness.

e) Listen to your friend Billy Zane, CarO. Also, Croftie might be able to fill in for Bowie in a pinch. (with gusto I might add)

f) there is an old REALLY old nintendo game called blades of steel. its a hockey game. thats all i got.

g) i didn't know i had a gang, much less a musical one. Do they hustle business men by threats of certain disagreeable chords? Snap their fingers in a menacing manner? Either way I'm glad they are in my corner. With the likes of them the So-Slo Revolution shall not fail!

oline said...

a) a/an (?) hock?! GW.

b) [the oline genuflects with feigned respectful dignity accompanied by inexplicable trumpet fanfare and a random confetti toss.]

c) didn't you know? why, i'm there right now swamping about.

d) yes, i like to predict doom then be blown away by the goodness. to go in expecting make believe and get menomena instead. because heaven help us if we get make believe emotionally unprepared.

e) you read minds?!

f) i got nothing.

g) i prefer to think that your musical gang lull the businessmen into complacency with their lovely melodies and twisted lyrics, thieve their pockets on the Revolt's behalf then throw them to the whales.

Les Savy Ferd said...

a) I'm pretty sure hock is not only a GW but must be used to describe meat of porcine descent. Only ittle widdy piggies have hocks? who knew.

b) touche. you've one-upped my megalomaniacal vicissitudes. hard to do. that's probably not a real functioning sentence back there, but whatev. you should be proud.

c) one doesn't swamp about. unless you are a janitor? In which case we need to discuss career opportunities in your field.

d) how. dare. you. bringing up that unholy name? for shameth!

e) *speaks in raspy voice with grin on face and pointer finger lightly wiggling* "Hello? Hello!?"

f) you so have more than nothing.

g) and yet I was so hoping for the gangsta rap, nay, post-punk album the decembrists are no doubt working on as we speak.

oline said...

a) let's scrap the talk of hocks and meats.

b) should've trotted out the glitter cigar and the corderoy running shorts as well, but alas. as an aside- quite soon the word "proud" will no longer carry any ethnic connotations. this excites me.

c) of course one swamps about when one is in swamps. but then, one wouldn't know what one does in swamps if one had never been to the swamp lands of lousiana. snap.

d) make believe! make-believe! MAKE BELIEVE. i am done.

e) what's the dealio, yo?

f) so i don't have nothing?

g) clearly, post-punk would come along on the road to gangsta's paradise. is So-Slo a gangsta's paradise?

Les Savy Ferd said...

a) and what GW would you have me spout in its place?

b) and soon books will be all glittery and wondrous for me. Instead of the inanimate objects filled with dread that they are presently.

c) describe 'swamping about.' pretend this is a writing question on a final exam or SAT. Be as specific as possible. bonus points available.

d) you better be.

e) I'm pretty sure there's more to life than being really, really good looking.

f) you've got un-nothing.

g) I've been spending most my life, living in said gangster's paradise.

oline said...

a) must you spout a gross word? is that what dougO's do?

b) why o why are your books filled with dread? what's the pirate reading these days anyways?

c) a five-clause theme paper, sir: "swamping about" is most often used to refer to the braving of the wilds in hostilely damp environs (ie. the swamps of louisiana), populated by angry creepy crawly things, to whom the hero/heroine- most often an aristocrat turned adventurer- is impervious as he/she dashes about in a white oxford buttondown, jodpurs and galoshes, and somehow continues to look impossibly fresh whilst everyone around him/her sweats profusely, all the while questing for lost apes/lost jewels/lost civilizations or some other variety of lostness.

d) i better be what?! or were you make-believe-threatening me there? hmm?

e) earth to...

f) but if i don't have nothing and i have un-nothing, am i not nothing with a whole lot of un-nothing?

g) see, i live in the gypsy paradise. maybe we've been appointed divinely-righted go-betweens to bridge the apocraphyl gap betwixt our peoples. and we're talking gangsta as in gun-waving, rapster lord of the atlanta streets, right? or are you in a three piece suit and spatz doing business with the corleones?

Les Savy Ferd said...

a) DougOs don't 'do' anything. we 'are.'

b) I was subtly hinting that my days of booksellerdom shall be coming to a close soon. Don't know when exactly, but soon. I am reading the last 150 pages of Anna K.

c) A-

d) it was a threat, but a passive aggressive one. Don't know if/what I would actually do if you persisted in flaunting your Make Believe talking ways. but it would have been spectacular. and just.

e) dammit CarO, I'm a coal miner, not some professional film or television actor!

f) no. Nothing, being defined as the absence of some thing, when negated becomes everything. You have so little nothing that your pantry is chock full of un-nothing. you need to finagle a yard sale, missy.

g) am pretty sure our peoples aren't really all that different. Sure there's a few eccentricities here and there, but far be it from necessary for an interpreter or go-between to be sent forth, or even elected into public office. Said tax dollars should be spent on $23 cards and comic books.

oline said...

a) how many are numbered among your tribe? do you have a theme song? is there a tribal handshake? are you a card-carrying member?

b) how's miss AK treating you? what a perfect read for riding trains in winter.

c) huzzah.

d) that sounds as though we're having imaginary convos. just think- sweaty, influenza-stricken sex with an imaginary friend. and you asked to stand closer. for shame!

e) oh, they're IN the computer.

f) so really i have a whole hell of a lot and not nothing? care to explain dasein now?

g) that is indeed where the tax dollar should go. and to tabloids. methinks the gypsys like their tabs.

Les Savy Ferd said...

a) my tribe has been lost. or rather dispersed. few of us remain, i'm sure, even fewer know the sacred shake.

b) i really dig. its absolutely amazing how contemporary everything feels. Perhaps its due to how little the settings are described, one occassionally gets transportation, etc, but on the whole it feels like it is happening now, not 100+ years ago. I want to write more, but this is the short answer portion of the quiz.

c) you are happy with an 'A-'? This isn't the allstar champion academic I know.

d) stop it. just stop. the images. the words. the filth. can't. stop. shivering. *expires*

e) *Zoolander on the television behind my rotting corpse* "Oh, I'm sorry, did my pin get in the way of your ass? Do me a favor and lose five pounds immediately or get of my building, like now!"

f) *rotting corpse re-animates* Zombie Dougo knows nothing about Dasein. Brains! Brains! Geist, er, ahem, I mean Brains!

g) And who would be in the Gypsy tabloids? "Drop the charges, drop the charges!" *much crazy fiddle playing and bass-drum surfing ensues*

kara beautiful g. said...

when i read the first few sentences, i thought right away, i must send condolences...but by the last line, all i felt was hope...so now, i simply say, thank you

Bombsy said...

beautiful, darling.

oline said...

my miss kara b, as you well know- strangely enough it all works out in the end. LOVE.

thank you much, bombsylove.

and the pirate-
a) is the sacred shake strawberry or vanilla? or is it more of a smoothie?

b) what an interesting point. in unrelated business, excepting that it too might prove fatal- we helping sensei move? BOG would be an excellent reward in the aftermath.

c) the allstar champion academic picks her battles. swamping about is not my forte so i'll settle.

d) *creepy whispers* make believe... make believe...

e) i felt like 'this guy is really hurting me.' and it hurt.

f) you and your zombies. but of course that puts me in mind of bubba ho-tep.

g) i would think the angie/brad plot line is mighty gypsy. and i do love that a post with a gogol bordello title has come all the way back to gogol. but then, don't all roads lead to gogol?

Les Savy Ferd said...

a) forsooth! no smoothies here. Vanilla if i had to pick. But nobody has to Pik. Some people Barry. Others Vieve. its a free country. deal with it.

b) i suppose i'm down for the big Austin push. down a big flight of stairs! j/k. out a window! just yanking your crank. into moving traffic. now that's just mean.

c) something about frog prince castles and lily pads.

d) you will CEASE and DESIST!

e) you want to know my opinion? with a push-up bra you could have a nice rack of lamb up there.

f) you forgot about my dinosaurs and robots. And they are all broken up about it.

g) all roads lead to So-Slo, which is near enough.

oline said...

a) some even pheobus. or augustus. or cranston! but as for me and my house, we only vieve.

b) at least we'll have tales. tall tall tales.

c) you have to lillypad if you want to get to the frog castle. and because i've trumpeted that damn theory from on high for quite some time now, my darling mum pointed out every single frog-related thing in the cracker barrel country store.

d) m a k e b e l i e v e

e) (for a moment i forgot this was our zoolander category and was about to be astonished by your being such a forward pirate!) i friggin' worship you, man.

f) dear doug's dinosaurs and robots, he (and by extension the whole lot of us) loves you.
xo,
oline.

g) So-Slo has roads?! and here i was envisioning overgrown, snow-glazed uncivilized wilds.

Les Savy Ferd said...

a) that's not what I heard. I heard that a companion Vieve is at least a possibility.

b) are you making yet another Paul Bunyan reference? Geez, you are like totally infatuated with his ruggedness and stuff.

c) well, things need to be trumpeted from on high, and I suppose your brass is as good as any other.

d) s t o p i t p l e a s e !

e) i hear words like "beauty" and "handsomeness" and "incredibly chiseled features" and for me that's like a vanity of self-absorption that i try to steer clear of.

f) that better not be a fauxpology.

g) you misunderstand. there are roads TO So-Slo. But you are correct in that very few roads exist IN So-Slo. Oh, there are wilds and apparently many cup-cakes necessitating snow-glaze. hopefully they were made with apple-sauce.

oline said...

a) prolly not. i'm an only. i couldn't do that to my vievie.

b) he's actually a little too square-jawed and cartoony for me. i like men who carry pens not axes.

c) huh?

d) m a k e b e . . . . .

e) orange mocha frappuccino!

f) i meant it with every chamber of my rhinestone heart.

g) CUPCAKES? there are CUPCAKES in So-Slo? when's the next train? i've got to go-go.