For me, it is the most difficult thing to do: stay connected. No, not the Internet or social media – wrong “connected.” I mean, stay connected with family.
I come from a long line of large families. Families that are vast distances apart, due to employment opportunities or the Gypsy Wanderlust gene that flares up and tells you, “A change of scenery is needed.”
When families are too large, too far away and (unfortunately) too busy, information — whether it is good or bad — takes a while to reach everyone.
For example: Just the other night I found out about some family members’ deaths, each having lost their long battle with medical problems. It was very upsetting for me, as one had been a fellow genealogist and very helpful to my research on his side of the Family Tree.
“Did you send your condolences?” Nostalgia had asked when I mentioned it in passing conversation at the dinner table that same evening.
MiLady, and her daughter, Paige smirked, and continued eating.
“Of course not,” I replied. “They don’t know who I am.”
“So?” Nostalgia paused, “Introduce yourself, Rabbit.”
“No,” I shuddered, imagining The Old Banshee (appropriately dressed in Victorian Black) at the wake, overwhelming all in attendance. “That’s your style, Gia.”
“It’s not THAT difficult, you know,” she gushed, waving her fork in my direction. “I can teach you how to be social in plenty of time for the next FGS Conference.”
[This is where I stress that it was MY turn to look over the rims of my glasses at her for a change!]
“No,” I repeated.
Gia sighed. “And I’ll need to teach you some manners as well.”
“And no you won’t, thank you.”
Nostalgia’s eyes sparkled. “Ohh, you’re so cute when you try to be a gentleman!”
I rested my silver upon the opposing sides of my plate before I shook my head and buried it in my hands.
It was coming …
Wait for it …
“So, where and when is next year’s Conference, Rabbit?”
“Salt Lake City, Utah, in February,” I groaned, as I rubbed my temples hoping to prevent the pending onslaught of another nagging migraine.
“Not RootsTech, you silly Rabbit!” she chided, “I mean the –”
I had to interrupt: “Both FGS Conference 2015 and RootsTech will be in Salt Lake City in February.”
Nostalgia was taken aback. “A fortnight apart, I’ll wager,” she spat.
“No, actually,” I smiled holding out my hand for payment. “They will be running on the same weekend …”
Gia opened her mouth to spit another jibe.
“From. The. Same. Locale!” I quickly stressed.
And then, The Miracle occurred — the room was filled with silence! (Nostalgia shut up!).
“Oh,” she then said after a moment’s reflection, “I do have my work cut out for me. You know, Rabbit, that the Mormons will not put up with your shenanigans at either function, hmm?”
The two young men flanking me snickered, while the mother/daughter duo opposite me smiled wider.
(Who are these people? Really?)
“My shenanigans?” I sputtered, “Which one of us went to Texas and made a scene, hmm?”
“That was a little mis-understanding.”
“A mis-understanding?” I mocked, “Of course, it was! Did the paramedics think so too?”
“Rabbit,” MiLady said softly.
I looked to my soulmate, who had just given me a more-than-obvious hint – a heart-felt request not to continue this topic. I nodded my understanding, as my mind scrambled wildly for anything else to discuss.
“I have heard, Gia,” I began, “that you were there barely three minutes, when you found YOUR Thomas!”
The Old Banshee sat up straight and beamed. “Yes, and such a charming man, he is,” she announced proudly. “He could teach you to be a gentleman, Rabbit!”
“A gentleman?” I queried with a raised eyebrow. “In the state you left him in?”
“Texas?” Chef asked confused.
“Yes, Son,” I replied. “Your favourite aunty made such an impression on everyone there, that the authorities from three states are still looking for her!”
Chef looked at Nostalgia with wide eyes. “You promised,” he pleaded.
“Oh, no, Dearie!” Gia answered him endearingly. “I didn’t. I avoided the bars and the cowboys like I told you I would.”
“Rabbit?” MiLady asked this time.
And two minutes later, you fled like a thief after dropping that poor fellow on the floor like a pile of rubbish!”
“I told you that was a misunderstanding!” Gia screeched, overturning her chair as she stood up, only to storm up the stairs in tears.
“Will Aunty be attending the Utah Conference, Dad?” Chef had asked after finishing his plate.
“But she enjoyed herself so much in Texas,” MiLady defended. “Why wouldn’t she go, this time?”
“Would you attend, knowing that all there will accuse you of attempting to kill the Thomas MacEntee?”
My Girl dropped her fork and returned a wide-eyed look.
“She did what?!?” she said in disbelief. “But, she idolizes him! She wouldn’t do that!”
I nodded and took another drink before I answered.
“She was so excited when Thomas smiled, taking her hand to say Hello, that Gia wrapped her arms around his neck and near-strangled him.”
MiLady half-covered her mouth, “Oh, poor Nostalgia! She was no doubt very nervous. I hope Thomas hugged her back.”
“But how could he, Dear’st? Gia held him so close against her … big, uh …” I paused, panicking to find the right word. “– heart, that she was suffocating him!”
“Wow,” my youngest son commented, “What a way to go!”
“CHEF!” MiLady yelled, waking him from his dreamlike state.
“Sorry, Mum! Sorry, Mum! Sorry, Mum!” he said scrambling from the table, clearing his dishes and flying up the stairs.
MiLady’s burning eyes fixed upon me instantly.
“Do something,” she simmered.
I looked dumbfounded, “Do what?” I asked back with my arms outstretched.
“I don’t know,” she growled, “He’s YOUR son!”
“Hey, Dad,” Captain added, as he quickly decided to follow Chef’s exit, “Why don’t you go in Aunty’s place and take Mum with you? You can attend Conference, check in with all your genealogy and genchat girlfriends and get some research time in too at that mountain place!”
“What?” MiLady stressed slowly as her eyes locked in my direction, again.
“They’re colleagues, Dear’st! Colleagues!” I quickly corrected. “And contrary to what SOME people might report, not all of them are girls.”
“Just the majority of them,” she said exasperated.
“Realistically,” I argued, “They will be far more interested in Donny Osmond rather than –”
“Donny Osmond?!?” MiLady repeated wide-eyed with a big, growing smile, “Donny Osmond? Really?”
Before I could nod my acknowledgement, my darling soulmate was gone – giggling into the darkest depths of the basement searching for her Donny Osmond albums!
As I looked down the basement stairs, wondering if (and when) I would ever see my wife again, a deafening thunder roared overhead, shaking the house to its foundations.
Nostalgia barreled down the bedroom stairs, clutching her cellphone.
“MiLady?” she screeched as I silently pointed to the basement.
“MiLady,” Nostalgia called out again as she leapt into the brackish abyss. “Is it true? DONNY OSMOND!”
I resumed my vigil at the top of the staircase, and quickly grew concerned as both of these women were quietly occupying the same room.
As I prepared to call out to my girl, I was defenseless to what happened next.
“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!” (Fan girl squeals)
The ringing in my ears prevented me from hearing the stampede return from the murky depths.
The troublesome twosome was giddy and giggling as they clutched four dusty record jackets to their hearts.
“You should ask him to autograph these ones, MiLady,” Nostalgia urged, holding out Donny Osmond (1988), Donny (1974) and To You With Love, Donny (1971).
“But, but this one,” the-woman-I-thought-was-my-wife-but-I-hardly-know-her whined, waving Portrait of Donny (1972), “This one has Puppy Love on it!”
“Ohhhh,” they both gushed, looking at each other before smiling.
“You’ll just have to take them all, Dearie!” the Old Banshee announced, as I looked on slowly realizing that these women might be attending FGS2015 without me!