Today, finally, we had a crab boil. If you are not familiar with the joys of a crab boil, I suggest you hightail it on over to google and make yourself familiar as they are a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
Normally, in my family, we have at least two of these delectable events per year, but, due to crazy busy schedules, it has been well over a year since the last one. That is the shameful truth. Today, however, we remedied the sad situation and the fam came out in force. The weather cooperated, my mom has a delightful backyard and the fun commenced. If you don't like seafood (as is the case with three of my SIL's) the fun is well, not so much. But being the kind SIL that I am, I cooked those lovely ladies some chicken for their unadventurous palates so they were able to join the party. My uncle always joins us for the family feeds, and this time he brought his new fiancee with him. Baptism by fire, if you will. He was kind enough to warn her that this part of the clan could be a little "rowdy", haha, understatement, but the lovely woman was able to hold her own.
The Small One did her part, eating buttered potatoes, corn, shrimp and even dipping her share of the crab into her root beer. Whatever works, baby!
After the party ended, my dad and older brother came over for some chat time. As always with the chats (with those two in particular) it went long and got loud occasionally. I believe we woke The Small One once or twice, but daddy to the rescue, he went in and got her back to sleep, as it was evident that mamma was not going to leave the convo. The things we talked about were many and sundry, a lively debate on the merits of classical art vs. the movements of the late 19th, early 20th century, the benefits of a vocational school vs. a traditional university and the most important, is our family really that weird. The answer to that was yes.
We are a different breed than a lot of other active Mormon families. The most particular issue being that, while most of my friends had lots of rules, my family had few, but very strict. This allowed for a lot of exploration, literal and figurative, as a child. My dad continues to wonder how we turned out as well as we did, as he is not positive that he and my mom were great parents. Oh, but they were. They allowed us certain very important things. They allowed us to be as intelligent as we really were. They allowed us to develop our talents, whatever they were, nay, they encouraged. They encouraged questions and learning and exploring. They encouraged opinions, form them, then support them. They encouraged unconventional friendships with unconventional people, and on and on.
Sometimes, the learning and exploring was a "necessity". We grew up poor, indeed, very poor. So poor, in fact, that hearing certain stories about my childhood make my dear husband depressed. Whilst brother, dad and I laughed about certain occurences from the childhood, husband thought they were rather tragic. For example; when I was pregnant with The Small One, I had a certain craving once or twice. I craved that cheap Carl Buddig lunch meat. The kind that costs somewhere around 50 cents per package. It was pastrami, in particular, that I wanted. So, I went off to the store, bought a package, a loaf of smushy bread and some mayonnaise and came home and made a sandwich. After I made it, I called my brother and said -Guess what I am eating.
-A Carl Buddig pastrami sandwich.
-How many slices?
-Wow, that's over the top.
-you know it.
Much laughter followed. Because, here is the thing. Growing up, we were only allowed 3 slices of pastrami per sandwich. If you were really that hungry, you could eat another sandwich, but no more than 3 slices per sandwich. More than that was wasteful, and we couldn't afford it.
Husband thinks this is terribly sad.
Brother is an artist for Avalanche, a company that makes video games for Disney. Growing up poor is what pointed him in that direction. When we were little, he got a Star Wars action figure for his birthday. He took it over to a friend's house to play with said friend's Millenium Falcon and X-wings. These things were far outside the reach of our family. While playing with said spaceships and knowing he would never have one of his own, brother reached into his own ingenuity and said, I could build spaceships myself for these action figures. So he did. This necessity led him straight into model making, which landed him his first job in the gaming industry.
Same sort of thing happened to me. I loved Barbies, and I had a few. What I never got was one of those big fashion packs of clothing that you could purchase, and oh, how I wanted one. When I was about 10, my mom bought an evening gown for Barbie at the local fabric store. These were made by a lady who worked there and they were beautiful. Far lovelier and more chic than anything that came in the fashion pack. I looked that gown over, and I realized something. I could make custom clothes for my Barbie. So, I did. I made patterns and I draped and I made my Barbies the most fantastic outfits ever. Oh, and what do I do for a living? Yeah, I make fantastic outfits and wedding gowns for people. I make patterns and I drape on my mannequin just like I did with the Barbie.
And I don't think that is tragic.