I look forward to family BBQs like Wyatt Earp looked forward to the OK Corral.
Its kind of like a boxing match where you watch your shit and protect yourself at all times.
I have seen too many low blows over the years not to take that bit of advice to heart.
I have seen movies where the families are sweet and nice and really soft spoken. Kind of the like the family in Leave it to Beaver.
And then theres my family.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. I would much rather go to one of my family BBQs than someone elese.
But outsiders are scared shitless at times.
I can’t tell you how many girlfriends I have brought to family events and five minutes in their eyes are rolling wildly like a horse in a forest fire.
At that point, its not a question of if they are going to bolt, its when.
We are descended from Irish immigrants and have evolved into this kind of verbal MMA fighting form of communication that we all see as endearing and outsiders are convinced a fight will break out at any minute.
It takes some getting used to.
Here is a perfect example.
Family BBQ, a really mellow one. Summer, might have been around the 4th of July.
I was about 17 and had a new girlfriend.
And totally forgetting what happens at these things, I brought my new girlfriend to the BBQ.
Along with the fresh hickey she had given me.
We weren’t there five minutes when I introduced the new girlfriend to my aunt.
Without missing a beat and exhaling a cloud of cigarette smoke, she says, and I quote:
“So, is this the little whore that tried to bite your head off?”
In retrospect, laughing at that was a little crude.
I have never actually seem someone turn that bright a shade of red before that day or since.
I brought a new girlfriend to a family BBQ once and a cousin of mine thought it would be funny to hump her leg like a dog rather than shake hands when they were introduced.
As odd as it sounds, this is an environment I am comfortable in.
I am also one of the bigger offenders.
Go figure, anyone see that one coming?
And yet, everyone approaches the BBQ’s differently.
One of my brother’s started dating his wife in highschool.
Their daughter is now in college.
They have been together forever.
It is sometimes a little maddening when I go out of my way to annoy my sister in law and really get off a good line, then wait for her reaction.
I can’t touch her and she knows it.
She has been around for so long that she knows that she can just ignore me and I have to eat it and accept it.
It really sucks.
My other sister in law tends to mix it up more and will verbally come after me.
It may sound bizarre, but its oddly endearing.
In a society that avoids confrontation, the best way to survive is to step into the breach.
My mom is the loud one. Not to be messed with.
And she is part of the power team with my dad.
Dad is quiet, but calculates what he does say.
He can also make you feel five years old and in trouble with a glare.
I think they are that effective simply because of age, they have have sharpened their game.
Plus, they raised most of us and you never really get over that psychologically.
So the BBQ’s are fun, but don’t get comfy.
And the food is pretty good. Lots of meats.
Carnivores you know.
But you probably guessed that already.
And now I’m hungry.