Sunday, April 8 – Heritage

Billy Joel, “River Of Dreams”
Wynton Marsalis, “Black Codes (From The Underground)”
e had a very nice day today.  Very, very nice.
We went up to my grandma’s to visit, along with my parents, my sister and her fiancé.
(Just a side note here – did you know that there are actually two distinctly different words to mean “someone to whom you are engaged”?  A female who is going to be married is a “fiancée”, but a male who is going to be married is a “fiancé” (without the extra “e”).  I usually use the first word interchangeably for both circumstances, and I imagine most people do.  How embarrassing – it’s like calling a guy a “waitress”….)
Anyway, we didn’t really have an agenda for the day, no real reason to be there – we just went to say “hi”.  But of course, when going to grandma’s, there’s always plenty of food – even when she says she’s not going to cook, she cooks.  I think she cooks a bunch of stuff on a regular basis just on the off chance that someone might drop in unexpectedly.
So, amid the breaded steak (very good stuff, by the way) and ham barbeques and cake and cookies and everything else, we all just sat around and talked.  Mostly we talked about our family, which was kind of fun since two of the people (my wife and my sister’s fiancé-without-the-extra-“e”) hadn’t heard the stories before (for example – the relative of ours who makes the Beverly Hillbillies look civilized).
But the day got even more fun after we left.  We drove around the area just for fun, and my dad showed us his stomping grounds as a kid – where his elementary school was (alas, it’s not there anymore), where he used to play baseball, where the old fishin’ hole was (yes, there really was one).  Then we all stopped at a candy store – I know; real mature of us – and bought was too much chocolate and jellybeans and those funny edible wafer things that have tiny candy balls in them (my wife’s choice).  Finally, we finished it off at Hardee’s, which is basically the same restaurant as the Carl’s Jr.’s that we hadn’t seen since we left San Diego – that burger pretty much satisified any longing we may have had for anything Californian.
I think my wife was really impressed with the whole day.  I know she’s really felt like she has become a part of my family-of-origin, even from before we were married.  But I think today really solidified it for her.  I think it solidified for me, too, that I have a place in this world that is far beyond where I go to work every day, and even beyond the baby that tags along with us – that we’re all really part of a legacy.  And hopefully someday that baby will think it’s cool when I show him where I used to play little league baseball, or the places we used to hang out before our high school football games.
And he’ll certainly think that we’re both insane – at least until he’s old enough to appreciate it.  Kind of like I am now.

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