Today we have a full schedule of seeing people. Four different groups of friends and family to visit and share a meal or designated time. We'll end the day with my cousins north of the [Twin] Cities. (I've learned over the 30+ years of life partnering with a Minnesotan that you don't say the Twin part. It's just "the Cities.") in
My cousins have given me grace for the annoyance I was when we were kids. Initially they had three boys and we had three girls and my younger brother. Eventually we each added a little sibling when our moms were in their 40s--them a baby brother, us a baby sister. When it was just us older kids, I was always vying for attention. As the youngest of the top six (my brother got an automatic "in" because he was a boy) and being a girl, I felt left out and under appreciated by my three very cool older boy cousins, so I did things to help them remember to pay attention to me, like knock down their fort they'd just finished building. Or tell on them if I thought the mischief they were getting into might be of interest to the adults upstairs. I'm surprised they didn't just lock me in a basement closet and go outside to play.
As I got a little older, I finally started to realize a change of approach might help ease the terror they might have felt when we piled out of the car for a family visit and they saw me coming. I tried to show a little more concern and consideration for them. But because I wasn't very bright, I kind of embarrassed Tim more than anything.
Tim had a job working the harvest, traveling around from farm to farm working with a combine to bring in the crops. As our family was sitting around--with my two very proper grandparents in attendance--we were talking about Tim and the current state of affairs. Some situation had developed about Tim's job that had brought an end to his employment a week or so sooner than planned--I thought a strike, but that doesn't seem right now--so maybe it was even an injury. Whatever it was, I decided that I wanted to interject into the conversation and show both my concern for one of my cousins and my ability to contribute to the adult interaction. So I took the initiative, jumped in, and grabbed everyone's attention.
"Well at least none of that happened before Tim got finished working on his concubine!"
Their blushed faces, embarrassed coughs, and stifled chuckles told me I'd said something wrong. I wasn't quite sure what it was. What could be wrong with commenting on Tim working on a big piece of farm machinery?
Tonight we'll share dinner with two of the four brothers and their families. I won't knock down anyone's fort. And I'll steer clear of talking about what Tim is doing with farm equipment or any other controversial subjects. We'll have a Minnesotan fish fry and hopefully no one will even consider locking me in a closet.
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