Muschamp Rd

Large Family Gathering

December 24th, 2006
Christmas in South Park

Yesterday, yes yesterday, we had a large family dinner at my mother’s house. It was a potluck, but still as the hosts we had to do more than our share of preparation. I never had to cook anything, but I did get up at 7am to start cleaning and setting up. I’d been cleaning and setting up for a while before yesterday.

The reason for this gathering is one of my cousins on my mother’s side was home from Alberta. They work in Ft. McMurray so they don’t get back here much. They were only going to be on the Island for a day or two so this gathering was organized so they could see a whole bunch of relatives all at once.

I wasn’t looking forward to it. It is a lot of work and a lot of people in one house. The final count was 45 people, that includes babies, but didn’t include dogs. There were only three dogs, we got off lucky on the dog front. Fred was there of course intimitating everyone in his path.

Most of adults seated at one long table

When people first started arriving in earnest I was in my room. I was trying to make room for a birthday present I just received. No the 23rd isn’t my birthday, this present was from my previous birthday. It had taken my Aunt a while to complete it. It was quite an impressive present so I had to rearrange the books and knickknacks on our new wall units to make room for it.

She painted it herself. My mom’s other sister was the one who fancied herself an artist, but since Barbara has retired she has taken up painting. She has made some progress. I put a painting from my Aunty Ruth, also of a dragon next to the box. The box obviously took a lot longer. People don’t realize how long it takes to paint some things. That is one reason I don’t have much respect for these new-wave painters who just slap paint on the canvas randomly and make up some story. The Sistine Chapel wasn’t painted in a day, just planning it and co-ordinating the sub-contractors took longer than anything Jackson Pollock probably painted.

I’m really worried we will lose power either today or tomorrow. Our real Christmas dinner may be cancelled if that happens. I’m at home looking after the dog, keeping the house warm, and tasked with doing some gift wrapping. In addition to being able to cook, I can also wrap presents.

During the party one of my primary jobs, besides carrying stuff, was bartending. No one drank that much and I never had to make a single mixed drink. Most people brought their own beer or wine, I mainly had to open and poor wine and run and get a few beers. As a result of this I was one of the last people to eat. I don’t even think there was enough seats at the adult table for everyone. I know my roast beef was cold when I got around to it.

Although I was one of the last to eat dinner, I was one of the first to get dessert. There were a lot of different desserts to choose from. One of my relatives opposite me had most of them, I just had the chocolate one. We still have a lot of desserts in our fridge, but I couldn’t find the chocolate one.

Being at the kids table which was set up in another room isn’t so bad. They got to eat first and then they buggered off to play pool or play with the dogs or something.

With any gathering this large there are bound to be people who don’t get along so well. There were also new people, people I’d never met before, new husbands, new girlfriends, new babies. After the new people had left there was considerable speculation over the age of so and so and general gossiping. Why do people like to gossip so much?

A hand painted chest with a dragon on it.

I’ve never been much of a gossiper, I think it is hurtful to spread rumors and to badmouth someone behind their back. I did put my foot in my mouth a bit, but the joke was at my own expense. While we were trying to estimate the age of someone I said find out what was their grad dance song and mentioned how I had dated a guy in China.

This got a few laughs, but at least one person knew what I meant. Here is the amusing anecdote of this blog posting. When I was younger, a lot younger, I listened to Rap music. Then I worked in Calgary with a guy who was really into hip hop who was a few years younger than me. We didn’t exactly like the same stuff, but even groups we both liked, such as A Tribe Called Quest, we had different favourite albums. I liked “The Low End Theory” whereas Christian favoured “Midnight Marauders”. This distinction is crucial.

One day in China, while at Lush, I met an Australian who had just got some great news. He wanted to celebrate, which to an Australian means drinking. He’d only just arrived in China and didn’t know anyone. So I ended up putting away my laptop and having a couple with him. A third guy he had also just met later joined us, he was a bit dodgy. I blogged about that later that night back at Lush.

While we were in Lush drinking our Tsingdaos a DJ was playing songs. He wasn’t a real DJ mixing it up on the 1’s and 2’s, beat juggling or anything. No he was just a guy playing CDs but he was playing hip hop. He was probably playing mostly more recent hip hop tracks but I noticed he played a track or two, an album track perhaps from “Midnight Marauders”. Then when he played a song by Maestro Fresh Wes, I bet the Australian that I not only knew what country the DJ was from but how old he was. I said he was Canadian and graduated high school in 1996.

Dragons painted by my aunts

I was right.

At one of our MBA parties, the DJ bought me a shooter because I kept knowing not only the song but the album he was playing and he was playing all sorts of stuff from old Rockabilly Johnny Cash to Sly Stone to A tribe called quest. DJs generally like me, people who are into music generally like me, a shared passion and interest is something that people bond over.

I eventually explained the “I dated a guy in China” line but it got me some ribbing from my cousins.

After everyone left I finally got to see who scored in the various hockey games. I think my fantasy team players did pretty well. I talked to some other people who were able to watch Hockey Night in Canada at their leisure instead of running up and down stairs, in and out of the garage, finding beers, cans of coke and ginger ale. Toronto lost and so did Calgary I think, this didn’t bother me, like I said the players I drafted seem to do pretty well Lecavalier is in the top five in NHL scoring, he was my first pick four years ago and I’ve protected him every single year.

The little Lebowski Junior achievers

We are perhaps overdue for a large family gathering. There is a baby shower tomorrow and a wedding anniversary coming up. I am once again at my mom’s house while I look for work. I’m improving this blog and if you have any “dating advice” you can leave it below.

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