Now I realize that not everyone has a family like mine. You might think that, looking at the picture, we managed to somehow get everyone in our amazing extended family (on my mother’s side) in one place at the same time, and possibly, that we borrowed a few strays along the way. (well there is one stray, technically – he’s been an honorary member for so long, he just had to be in the picture; we weren’t taking “no” for an answer!) The truth is, there were 62 family members missing, and we’re talking about living folks here! (Those that have passed on are generally excused from pictures). And we’ve only lost a very few since the grand matron of the clan, my grandmother, Louise (thats Nanny to you!) Newsom, left the planet. (nee Sproule; Miller for approximately 60 years, remarried and predeceased by her 2nd husband, Ron Newsom). She was spry and active, involved in all kinds of community affairs, completely lucid and feisty right up until her 100th birthday party (she NEVER missed a party!), when she fell and broke her hip. She lasted another 3 years after that and… after a while of not being able to dance or come out to the lake anymore, she kinda lost interest. Even her faithful one glass of wine a day didn’t really help.
As you can imagine, many of Louise’s descendants clearly have some of her traits, along with a sharp wit, a keen competitive edge, stubborn, and, surprisingly, a mean streak. (They all SEEM so nice, don’t they?) For the most part, I feel extremely blessed to be a part of this talented, beautiful, sharp-as-a-tack family. (Oh, did I mention modest?) However, once the serious games begin, it’s every person for themselves.
At the beginning it all started so innocently. We had an absolute blast, catching up, teasing each other, eating yummy food, playing friendly games of crib, participating in or being a good audience for our annual variety night, sitting around the fire, and just generally enjoying each others’ company. And then the SPOONS came out! Parents, hold onto your babies! (cue ominous, vaguely threatening music). My cousins were sweet enough at first, making sure everyone understood how to play the game and generally being helpful. After the first round, that all flew out the window. There was elbowing, pushing, swearing, general rude behaviour, and serious aggressive maneuvers. These people put the ‘C’ in the word competitive. SPOONS is technically a card game and, with my clan, it really ought to be played with gloves, elbow pads and helmets!
Somehow I managed to be eliminated on my first round (apparently, I’m way too nice), find another game, survive quite a few rounds, lost, found another game, and after being eliminated again, wandered around, seeing what else was happening. Little did I know what dangers lay ahead…After checking in with the younger crowd, I decided, at 2 AM, after imbibing in quite a few nips of golden Irish ‘Dew’, that it would be a good idea to play basketball with the kids, on the concrete floor, of the agricultural grounds cattle washing area. Do YOU think that was a good idea? (click link below)
For the rest of the summer I will be adjusting, learning how to do all kinds of things with one hand, or one hand and a cast, whilst staying hot on the trail to finding the best illustrator for my book. I did a performance of the text in spoken word form for our very varied variety night – I always love performing, and …I’ll be putting more time into writing and singing (and maybe more spoken word) than playing guitar or piano ’til this cast comes off.
In the meantime, I’m trying out a few Illustrations of my own for the book. It’s going surprisingly well, considering I’m fairly new to this (haven’t done much visual art since my 20’s) and considering I’m a little limited in my mobility.
So to everyone out there, have a great summer’s end, filled with as much fun and relaxation as you can squeeze in. And, just remember to always think twice when you get a “brilliant” inspiration at 2 AM, especially involving aggressive families like the Millers, or cement, or imbibing, or games involving fast reflexes.
Now I know; don’t do that. 🙂