Monday, October 31, 2016

Turning Japanese...a Sex Injury



As I think about telling this Thanksgiving story, I need to back up to August of that year.  My mom has a sister ten years younger and my family and grandparents were headed up to Lake Erie to see she and her husband’s new boat.  I don’t know much about yachting, but apparently the challenge of a Great Lakes boat is that it must be every bit as seafaring as a boat meant for ocean voyages, but not too big as much of the Great Lakes is accessed by small canals and passages.  As a result, the marinas are meant to host boats of a certain size.  At 6’ 6” and easily 350 pounds, my uncle is not of a certain size and neither was his boat.  He actually had two boats.  The big one was TUBBY and the smaller one was TUBBY Jr. He grew up boating on various lakes in Michigan and is a very skilled and safe yachtsman.  But he is also totally fucking obnoxious.  At big family functions, people often assume he and I are father and son because we are both big and loud and have dark hair and are curiously tan. 
My aunt, left, was pregnant with her first while my mom was pregnant with her last

So anyway, we all get up to Lake Erie, board the boat, and head for Put-In-Bay.  Now the only people who know about Put-In-Bay are extreme history buffs and Midwestern drunks.  It is kind of like Cancun with murky water and a lower cost of entry.  I don’t know the yachting terminology so forgive me.  But because the marina wasn’t equipped for a boat this size, he had to drop anchor in an inlet and then have a water taxi/dinghy take us to the dock.  Unfortunately in this process of swim deck to dinghy to dock, my grandmother fell.  She thought it wasn’t that bad, as she was able to brace her fall with her forearm.  Just to be safe, we had an island medic look at it. I’m pretty sure all this guy was equipped to do was take peoples blood alcohol content and tell them if they were legal to drive their boats.  She said her arm hurt but it was fine.  We had a good time that day.  My mother being the first born Aries that she is felt the injury was worse than my grandma was presenting it to be.  My mom does not like water, drunk people in tube tops, bugs, or humidity.  So Put-In-Bay was not her thing anyway.  We just all kind of assumed she was looking for an excuse to hightail it back to the mainland.
We got back home and sometime in the following week my grandma made it to a real doctor, who after x-rays referred her to a surgeon.  One of the bones was fractured and it was a whole thing.  I don’t speak medical either so I don’t really know.  But she had to have a surgery and then a cast with an exterior bar contraption that looked positively medieval.  By the time this all happened, we were headed for our annual Thanksgiving Hilton Head trip. 
The very weighed down Explorer. You can see how the Griswold essence is hard-wired into me
For many years, my mom’s entire side of the family all met in Hilton Head and spent Thanksgiving there. Hilton Head is completely intertwined with Thanksgiving for me.  So the Saturday before Thanksgiving, my grandparents would head down first.  All three of them.  My grandparents divorced before my siblings and I were born.  They had a very amicable divorce and always still really loved each other.  My grandma remarried, divorced, and remarried.  My grandpa met a woman just before my older sister, the first grandchild, was born.  He and L are not married because L had been through a nasty divorce and saw no reason to get married again.  L was raised very Catholic and jokes that she did everything her parents dreamed for her by 22.  She could read, married a doctor, and drove a Cadillac--in their eyes her life was over because there was nothing left to accomplish.  Then she says by 52 she ruined everything by being divorced and living in sin with my grandpa.  Lin fought the power and burned the bras and is truly a Renaissance woman.  She is so smart, so funny, loyal, and because everything was good with my grandparents’ divorce, she is totally a bonus grandparent.  She was always there and is just as much my grandma as my grandma was.  Though my grandma was married, her husband wasn’t invited along.  We invited him, but she didn’t.  My grandpa, his ex wife, and his live-in girlfriend frequently traveled together.  This, naturally, confused people.  When explaining the web to people, he would say Well this is Nancy, my ex-wife and mother to my three children.  And this is Lin, my slut.  My grandma would giggle and Lin would nod matter-of-factly.    
That headline reads "The Good Divorce".

Now, I know.  I know, I know.  We shouldn’t say slut.  I don’t go around calling anyone a slut except myself.  But this was a time when people were still allowed to have senses of humor.  My grandpa and L both have very raunchy senses of humor, so they thought this was hilarious.  My grandma had a very sweet, no bad words sense of humor.
My grandma was always the driver.  She had a keen sense of direction, and could stay awake easily for hours on end.  She could have segued from model to truck driver if she had been so inclined.  My grandpa once infamously stuck his 16 year old daughter in the driver’s seat, told her to drive to Atlantic City, and fell asleep within five minutes.  The joke was on him when he woke up in Maine.  Even though she had her rather barbaric-looking metal rod device on her arm, my grandma still drove. Another uncle, his wife, and son would go down around the same time.
Next to barrel down I-77 was my aunt and uncle.  Not only did they have two boats, but they had an RV.  And of course they had a giant RV.  And from the giant RV, they would tow a giant Ford Excursion.  And from the Excursion, they would tow go-carts or scooters or mopeds.  I am positive his caravan tow was illegal, and every time I drive the windy mountain stretch through West Virginia I cringe thinking about him.  Now on the drive down to Hilton Head, you go through a densely wooded stretch in the mountains.  On this leg, there are not a lot of stops or signs.  The ones you see grab your attention.  Especially when they are for a strip club.  The rural mountain strip club, Southern X-Posure, is included prominently into our family lore.  We told people that my grandma retired from there and that my four year old cousin was apprenticing there.  Once my grandpa told someone that he had worked there too when he was a woman.   Again, I know. We shouldn’t have.  But we did.  The reason we told people that about my cousin is because she had a habit of flashing people.  She was the cutest little girl and was always dancing.  People would find this adorable! Until she had plenty of attention, at which point she would lift her top.  Some people were absolutely aghast.  While we, her family, would be unsuccessfully laughing under our breath trying not to reinforce it.  How she learned this? Probably from her dad’s Playboy calendars, air fresheners, etc.   
Luckily I found a trove of my grandmother's photos from this trip.

How sweet! A little girl dancing!


...notice how her crowd over the hedge cleared.
And then, finally, on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, my family would leave.  This is before I was in charge and shit was a mess.  We would plan to leave at noon and sometimes not leave until 10PM.  Once we turned around in West Virginia because my sister forgot her homework.  Once we left four hours late because my mom was ironing her sheets so she’d have a nice bed to come home to. This was before cell phones and navigation systems, and my dad kind of navigates like Christopher Columbus.  We would wind up with long, circling tours of Appalachian foothill farmland.  Only to realize this when we saw the same McDonalds again.  And then, obviously, we had to stop at that McDonalds.  An 11 hour drive often took 16.  But we made it.  So we would finally arrive--luggage racks, bicycles, and a yellow Labrador in tow--sometime Wednesday morning.  It was a short trip for us, but was nice to arrive with everyone else in full vacation mode. 
I think this is the year before the tooth incident. I love what an absolute mess this photo is.  
My grandparents absolutely loved to go listen to live music together.  L was happy to stay home and read one of her twelve thousand newspapers (she likes to be very informed).  But as they would head out the door, she would say Nancy, watch his hands.  With his glaucoma all blondes look the same to him after 10PM.  They would go from bar to bar.  My grandma didn’t drink at all and my grandpa only drinks if it’s really expensive for someone else but free for him.  They just loved the music and spending time together.  I think they regretted their divorce.  L was always gracious and secure enough to let my grandma borrow him sometimes.  Getting to keep the best of him without the day to day problems that drove them apart.  Lin is a saint.  Anyway, they called this bar to bar agenda rolling.  Not like rolling on ecstasy but more innocently because they rolled from place to place. 
One night, my sister and I decided we were going to roll with them.  My two aunts were supposed to come but each decided not to at the last minute.  Just the four of us in one car with absolutely no common sense aboard.  I think I was 10 and my sister was 13. 
I think we tried the Hilton first.  There was a pianist and a singer at the hotel bar.  We walked in and sat down at a table.  This would have been fine if my grandma could have stopped laughing at the pianist.  You know how some musicians make those incredibly weird faces when they play? Well this guy made a face that kind of looked like a fish smoking crack while he played piano.  My grandma did not like potty humor, but weird-ass physical comedy like this was her golden ticket.  So as she’s trying to discretely giggle, my grandpa turned around in his chair toward her and started imitating this man’s facial expressions.  Well this was too much for her to bear. Her relatively quiet giggle turned into tears streaming down her face she was laughing so hard.  About this time, my sister got up to go to the bathroom.  I have said this before, but she has an uncanny ability to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. As she was turning the corner out of the bar toward the lobby, her shoulder clipped the handle of a mop in a bucket just enough to drag both the mop and the bucket down.  Now I can keep a straight face through almost anything except my sister’s misfortune.  Up until this point, I had been trying to maintain a shred of dignity while sitting at a table with these baboons making faces and laughing.  Well the sight of the mop, the bucket, the flow of dirty water, and my sister all going down absolutely broke me and I began to howl laughing.  My sister apparently does not understand the wily ways of the mop and bucket system, so she repeatedly tried to put the mop back in the empty bucket. Rather than prop the mop handle up against the wall, she kept putting it to the other side where it fell over and over again.  By this time, my grandma and I are laughing so hard we are practically convulsing.  All while my grandpa has his head turned toward the stage and is nodding along.  The joke has always been that my grandpa is borderline narcoleptic.  Because he can be in a conversation, finish his thought, turn over the floor, and be sitting up straight but out cold before the next person has uttered two syllables.  As my grandma and I go to help my sister, she takes two napkins off a table and hangs them on her arm rod like it’s a towel rack, the sight of which had us all dying.  In this span of about three minutes, we had started to get glares from within the room.  I notice someone from the bar walk to the front desk and point at us, all while I’m trying to wipe up this dirty ass mop water with two overly starched polyester napkins.  The lady from the front desk approaches and sternly asks my grandma did you give this girl ALCOHOL? And before she could answer, the guy from the bar is back and says and that guy is in there either passed out or DEAD! To which we had the obvious and natural reaction to laugh harder.  Luckily my sister explained that he probably wasn’t dead.  To which the woman advised we wake him up and leave.  So that’s how we got kicked out of the first bar. 
On the way to the next, we were taking stock of all that had happened.  Laughing hysterically, we tried to go into The Jazz Corner.  They absolutely would not let my sister and me in.  My selfish, only child grandpa suggested maybe my sister and I go wait in the car for a while.  To which the host said What the hell kinda grand-dad are you?  If we were sensible, we would have just given up and gone back home.  As we headed back out, my grandpa asked my grandma to stop at a gas station so he could get one of those little touristy booklets vacation destinations used to sell before the internet and cell phones that listed events and activities.  While in there, he picked up some black licorice.  I have a theory that no one actually likes black licorice, given that it is so fucking disgusting, but that people eat it just because they don’t want to share.  As in their desire to not share is so strong they will eat something vile just so they can keep it to themselves. Anyway, after we all refused a piece, he began scouring the booklet for somewhere else with live music.  There was another place a few miles down the road.  It turned out to be a bar and restaurant that is just on the other side of the bridge one takes on or off the island.  We finally get there, walk in, and sit down.  My grandpa has his booklet and his black licorice.  Just as my sister and I finally think we’re going to get a damn diet coke and see all this fun our grandparents allegedly have while rolling, someone comes over and tells us we can’t be in there because we’re too young.  By now, we are kind of annoyed.  With the exception of my grandma who still found it all hilarious.  Reluctantly, my grandpa admits defeat and says we should just go home.  He also slips in a little accusatory Well, I had really been looking forward to hearing some live music and looks at us like we ruined it.  My sister felt bad and apologized and I probably gave him a look that said go fuck yourself because I was 11 and don’t think I talked like that just yet.  My grandma didn’t like this and said Oh Bill! You’re full of it. You would have slept through half of it.  He was chomping on his black licorice like the disgruntled five year old that he is when he said Uhh, Nance, can you pull over? Sometimes karma moves quickly.  No! I can’t pull over! Look! There’s nowhere to stop.  He said I lost a tooth. I need to find it.  We assume he is joking and trying to recover the mood from his little tantrum.  He insists No! I really lost a tooth! I need to find it! To which she says Show me! I know you didn’t lose a tooth, Bill!  He gives her a big grin and appears to be missing a tooth.  We all begin to roar, laughing at his missing-tooth smile.  But we thought he had stuck a piece of black licorice over one of his teeth and was joking.  Finally over the bridge, with a parking lot to pull into, my grandma stops the car to investigate.  She was a nurse so it’s unsurprising that her method for checking the authenticity of the missing tooth was very direct.  She told him to smile and she stuck her finger into his smile, clearly assuming this would put an end to the joke.  When her nail went right through she shrieked BILL! You lost a tooth! He answered Damn it! That’s what I’ve been saying!  To this day, I don’t think I have ever laughed harder than I did in the next half hour, driving back over the bridge, looking on our hands and knees in the parking lot for the tooth, when my grandpa asked the host at the restaurant We aren’t trying to come back in with minors, but I was wondering if anyone has found any teeth since we left?  And no one was laughing harder than my grandma.  All of her makeup had run because she was crying from laughing so hard.  My sister and I kept making him smile and it was just as hilarious each time.  Finally we gave up on the tooth hunt and headed home.  The next morning, Thanksgiving, my grandpa got ahold of his dentist who assured him he would be fine for the remainder of the trip and that it could be fixed when he got home.  When we all went for Thanksgiving dinner at the Hilton Head Diner, almost the only thing open back then on Thanksgiving day except for the awful Quarterdeck, the waitress said Uh oh! Looks like all grandpa wants for Christmas is his two front teeth!  He then asked You wanna know how this happened? She took the bait and asked how? Well, it was a sex injury. And because my grandpa has sterling comedic timing, he just left it at that.  My grandma would laugh so hard and so awkwardly that it came off like it was true.  We all just shook our heads and the waitress gave us a what the fuck is wrong with you people? look of disdain and went about her shift.  So for the rest of the trip, he would tell anyone that would listen that he lost his tooth in a sex injury.  How lucky I feel to have such vivid and ridiculous memories with my grandparents. 
By Black Friday everyone was looking a little rough


Back to HHI for Thanksgiving 2013. Our first trip without my grandmother.  She was still alive but far too sick to come.
It was unusually cold. I didn't mind though, it kept my wreath beautifully preserved.  Making a wreath the week of
Thanksgiving is now a tradition. 
The Thanksgiving Hilton Head trip could never be the same without my grandma, but we did revive it in 2013.  It was a bit of a tumultuous trip.  An ice storm complicated travel for some, cold weather on Hilton Head ruined the trip for others.  Cold doesn’t bother me, but it bothered everyone else.  So everyone was experiencing a bit of vacation cabin fever all while I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  Things got a little tense in my rental house’s bottleneck kitchen.  On Monday, I threatened to lock everyone out in the cold if they didn’t stop complaining.  My mom brought me a piece of chocolate cake and told me to calm down.  So Wednesday night, I finally get to the pies. My favorite moment of Thanksgiving prep.  Everyone was in good spirits because half of us were loaded.  My sister was DJing and tailoring the selections to my tastes because she is smart.  While she was dancing to Rhiannon with her whiskey in one hand, I was chopping apples and swaying with periodic sips of my cranberry+gin+sprite zero.  I get the pie finished and go to make the crumble topping.  I love a traditional double crust apple pie, but I think I like a crumble topping even more.  SHIIIIIIIIT! I exclaim between sips staring into the pantry I forgot the fucking oatmeal! My angelic mother pops in and says your dad and I are going to run out anyway, we will get some.  Hallelujah! Thanksgiving is saved.  Well about two hours later (my mom does nothing fast, except engage in a political argument), they roll in with steel cut oats.  My dad nervously asks Now this is the right thing, right? No one is more clear direction giver than I. I wrote QUAKER OLD FASHIONED OATS.  Well apparently my dad thought he should find the oats that seemed the most old fashioned.  So he brings home like some fucking $45 Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats.  I didn’t have the heart or energy to tell him it was wrong.  So I said yeeeeeeeeeeah, just perfect.  Steel cut oats would never soften in time and I wanted to get this fucking pie in the freezer and ready to bake so I could go to bed.  Another pantry stare gave me an idea.  I had panko breadcrumbs.  Hmmm.  I hadn’t heard of them for dessert application, but why not? 
I will readily admit that traditional pumpkin pies are much prettier than my version 


Panko makes the best crumble topping for a pie.  It is so good, so crisp, and doesn’t get too brown too fast.  You can throw it together in a bowl without any fanfare, as opposed to some crumble topping recipes that are more involved like a biscuit dough. It is important that the butter is melted.  Panko is designed to go a long time without burning, but sometimes that makes it reluctant to color.  By mixing in melted butter, that assures the panko is hydrated with fat and will evenly brown. Because this has no leavening like egg or baking powder, it pretty much stays where you put it, meaning it does not rise.  Also you have a good chance of cutting neat slices, which can be a little tough with some crumble toppings. 



Panko Crumble Topping for Pies

3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter, melted
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and press onto unbaked pie. 

When we dream of holidays, we tend to dream of perfection.  Just the right things happening at just the right time.  But the reality is that often the most exquisite moments are found when things start going wrong.  Like verge of killing everyone wrong.  As we ride those waves of chaos and temper, we build identity, our favorite stories, and new traditions--from sex injuries to Japanese bread crumbs.  

61 comments:

  1. All right someone who reads your blog must know a publisher. Somone please find SAJ a publisher STAT. These stories with photos are great.

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    1. Haha thank you so much! I'm sorry this one was so long!

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    2. Don't be sorry. It was hysterical. Also I totally get Lake Erie and Put In Bay and the drinking on PIB. My brother and his wife have a place at Lakeside up there. Also know HHI well too. Plus I grew up in Columbus (Bexley area) and so I get so many of your posts.

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    3. Oh I love Bexley! Such a lovely neighborhood. Thanks again!

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  2. The fact that you included the picture of your grandfather sans tooth just made my entire night.
    That is all.
    xo

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  3. Seriously fantastic! The whole thing...every detail is exquisite. You are a master story teller and I love how normal your family is...not a Hallmark Holiday just good honest living.
    XO

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    1. Thank you so much! You can see how I craved a little bit of order in our family holidays! Haha

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  4. OMG! I laughed so much, then had my husband read this post, and he laughed so hard. I love your stories and story telling. I love that you are posting often- you make my day. Thanks so much, Robin
    p.s. Lovely new blog format.

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    1. Thank you so much, Robin! I'm glad you like the new format, I hoped people would and would find it more readable.

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  5. I really feel that you need your own tv show stat!

    Meanwhile your book arrived in time for Halloween and he Crowd went Wild. Massive thank you.

    Love your work SAJ. xxx

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    1. Thank you FF! I can't believe it took a full 20 days for it to arrive! But I'm soooo glad it got there just in time!

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  6. This story was hysterical AND heart-warming!! Well-done!! I agree with Tomato Thymes...

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  7. I woke up with a Chardonnay headache because I was at a Halloween cocktail/birthday party last night but I read this squinting and laughing anyway, I love your family they are so hilarious. And guess what I know all about Put-In-Bay because it was a popular boating destination from Amherstburg Ontario where I grew up. Amherstburg has plenty of history buffs and drunk people so it makes sense.
    Love all the photos but especially the one with the medieval arm cast and the sex injury. OMG. xox

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    1. Oh Chardonnay really does leave behind a special kind of ache, doesn't it? chardonnay is so hit or miss but when you hit a good one it's easy to overdo. I'm sure it was worth it though! Thank you! Yes they are insane. "Our" Lake, Erie, really struggles to compete against the others I think. I think Lake Michigan wins for all around best of the bunch due to its proximity and diversity.

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  8. Amazing. You really should pen your memoirs, they are both hilarious and touching. Love the relationships! I think you basically have a big Jewish family without the Jewishness, so you need never feel left out from not being born on that faith (I think we were talking about this last time). And panko for a crumb crust....genius. Never would have thought of that, and I will try it with some apple pie soon!

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    1. Thank you so much! I. I am thrilled to be granted honorary Jewish status. I really would love to absorb all the Jewish holidays too. I love the panko topping because it is so crunchy. It's really an excellent foil to apple pie filling.

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  9. Your ending is is so absolutely true..."When we dream of holidays, we tend to dream of perfection. Just the right things happening at just the right time. But the reality is that often the most exquisite moments are found when things start going wrong. Like verge of killing everyone wrong. As we ride those waves of chaos and temper, we build identity, our favorite stories, and new traditions--from sex injuries to Japanese bread crumbs." Another great, funny post. Thank you!

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  10. Absolutely hyssterical! My face hurts from smiling and laughing so much. Thanks for reminding us allthat THIS is what the holidays are all about...happy memories laced together with love. All the best to you, Stephan. You are a singular phenomenon!
    Your reader in Tiburon, CA

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that, thank you! I have to remind myself of this, too!

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  11. This was hilarious! Our family, too, is known to have "Griswold Family Vacations" when we all meet up at the beach for our annual family get-together and celebration of my mother's birthday. I'm always channeling my inner Lindsay Buckingham and singing "Holiday Road". Great post! Ellie would be so proud of you!

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    1. Haha oh yes that is always in my head too as I'm trying to herd the pre vacation chaos together. It's much easier now that I've seized holiday and vacation planning. And there are more cars and more drivers to disperse all the shit amongst. Everyone else has 1-2 bags and I have like 20 not including the 6 Le Creusets I bring with me. Thank you so much!! I'm missing her terribly!

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  12. What book? But?
    Photographic memory. Natural born writer.
    Plenty of stories to tell. Heart of gold.
    Stephen thank for your great posts.
    BarbG

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    1. Thank you so much, Barb! Haha my freakish memory does help quite a bit in writing!

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  13. Love your posts! The ups and downs of life; you get them spot on (you had me in stitches!). Thanks for sharing so freely and honestly.

    Marianne in Vancouver

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  14. OMG! Today is my birthday, and your hilarious post is my present!!! I have been following along with all your latest Thanksgiving posts, but it's been a crazy few months for me, with no time to write comments. I've been making some big changes (for which Ellie was no small inspiration...). I bought a piece of property in June, and was working on clearing the building site for my house (which I still have to design, btw), then my house suddenly went under contract in August without listing it. The buyers kept moving the settlement date around, and I had to scramble to find a place to rent that would allow my two cats, then pack and move. All in 60 days. The dust is finally beginning to settle, but I'm in no position to be hosting Thanksgiving so I'll be living vicariously through yours! I loved the non-barfy pumpkin pie post. I'm one of those who thinks they are barfy, and last year I tried to convert myself by making your stabilized whipped cream to have with it. The whipped cream was great, but the pie - still couldn't get beyond the texture.
    I agree with all that you need to write a book, or at the very least compile your posts into one... Between your talent, wit and family archives it would be a best seller!

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    1. I was just thinking earlier today that I might email you and see where you've gone! So happy to hear your are busy with good news! How exciting! What's your vibe for the house?? Thank you so much! Yes, yes try the pie! The extra sugar in it from the molasses really helps evaporate the extra water so it has a much less wet texture.!

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  15. OMG, Stephen, I wish I had been part of your family. What wonderful (hysterical) memories. Families can be the source of great joy or great stress. And I think that sometimes it is all in our perception of the situation. May you and your family have many more memories. And, by the way, is the election over yet?

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    1. Haha you might be! Everyone has been married so many times in the older generations that we have a lot of relatives we don't know about. One more week! I did finally vote...it wasn't a good feeling.

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  16. this would be the sitcom of ALL sitcoms. i'm dead serious. you need to contact someone in LA
    IMMEDIATELY.
    who would play YOU? you could be the narrator. AND star in it as well. who could play you? i can't think at the moment but i'll work on it. do you already have someone in mind? SHARE!
    william devane in his prime comes instantly to mind for your grandpa. that charisma and bad boy charm.
    and lin... who would play lin? lauren bacall should be in it somewhere. that calm assured witty lady.
    of course dear betty is gone now. but oh... this is FUN!
    and your grandma...
    oh the mind boggles at choosing actors to represent such a GLORIOUS family full of LIFE!
    and there all along i thought you had blonde highlights! from your avatar i guess. and yes! a beautiful tan and beautiful WHITE teeth! i so remember THAT! and a smile not unlike your grandpa's. a totally gorgeous bunch of people altogether.
    you made my day with this tale of memories. and the pumpkin pies are no less than PERFECT.

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    1. Oh my grandma would have to be Doris Day! Haha thank you so much Tammy! You are so sweet! No idea who could play me. I hear I look like Elvis every now and then which works with our dark hair and tans and wildly fluctuating weight! Every few years I have a week where I'm thin Elvis and then the rest of the time I'm drunk, reinforce the jumpsuit Elvis. Lauren Bacall would have been great to play Lin!

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    2. Well, if you'd ever so kindly post a picture of yourself we could decide who could play you! This might be a subject of much debate amongst your followers . . . Elvis? Do show us!





      could

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    3. I'm sorry but for me to be in a photo I need the coaxing of a team of therapists, a drum circle, a full moon, a shaman, wine, and a team of lighting and cinematography experts

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  17. I have always been fascinated by families like yours!!! Loosey Goosey...fly by the seat of your pants....rollin' in the deep! However, I'm afraid my anal retentive family could never travel with y'all because you would have to soak us in so much alcohol it would be a danger to have us in your car. AND winding and wandering trips through West Virginia mountains would not be tolerated because...well, haven't you seen those "Wrong Turn Movies"???? Playing footsie with In-bred, chainsaw totin', liver eating mutants does NOT have a place on my Thanksgiving Weekend Good Times list. Thanks so much for the hysterical tooth story ( almost makes me want to lose one this holiday!) AND the wonderful pictures. You have a BEAUTIFUL family!!!!

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    1. Haha thank you so much! Hahaha yes it is often like herding drunk cats sometimes! Luckily they've all responded well to my firmer grip on the holidays! They're pretty easy about showing up when and where they are expected to. They stay too long, but that's okay!

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  18. You did it again! A manuscript! Are you on a roll or what?

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    1. Haha, yes, it is long! I'm sorry! Thank you!

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  19. Fabulous story as always! I am going to try the panko topping, never thought of that. And I love black licorice! Especially the coated tiny ones that they sell at Graeter's. Your family is so great and funny!

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    1. Thank you so much! Oh I don't know how anyone can like black licorice! Do you want me to send you some? I pass a Graeter's everyday!

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  20. I read this again today and shared it with work colleagues. Made me laugh again and again.

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  21. Fabulous!! Love a good tooth story. The other one I have heard involves a group of medical people, in an-open top dune buggy driving at speed up and down dunes on Fraser Island, and someone losing their top denture. Too funny!!!!!!!!

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  22. AND YOU are the one in THE WHITE T-shirt on the LEFT!
    RIGHT?
    I canNOT HeLP MYSELF BUT YOU KNOW WHO WOULD LOVE THIS POST THE MOST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    She must be turning summer salts...........in those clouds above YOU!
    XX

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    1. I hope so! No, I am the one with dark hair on the left holding the kid with really blond hair

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    2. I WAS CLOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!YOU are practically touching!
      OKAY....... now I can FANTASIZE what you look like now!
      FABULOUS POST.................XX

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  23. Do you know - this post made me think how great writing will never ever go out of style and why while IG is fine and has its niche - I must always disagree when they say it is the blogging / new black etc. First of all - ain't your family a great looking bunch and they could be Rockwell models let alone any type of models. I love the family stories and it made me miss mine and think about old times. I think your grand parents relationship was just so damn complicated - not Facebook relationship it's complicated. I just adore Lin too. I would have done like your dad and bought - they are bloody oats what is the difference amateur mistake. Now I know but I don't like oatmeal nor oatmeal cookies but I trust you when you say they are good in pie. I love panko so much.In Japan they cover many things in panko. PS your grandad looks like one of my uncles. maybe we share a turnkey relative!

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    1. Naomi this is so sweet it actually brought me to tears! Thank you so much! Full disclosure I've had two glasses of wine but still. My family has been around so much for centuries that I am sure it's a possibility! I hope we are!

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  24. What a fabulous family you have. No wonder you are a riot! Loved this and I second the book idea. You have fabulous material and a wonderful way with words: "kind of like Cancun with murky water and a lower cost of entry." *snort*

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    1. Haha thank you so much!! Have you ever had the pleasure of visiting PIB? Haha

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  25. SAJ, been saving your blogs until I had some real time to read, and boy am I sorry...I waited. This was so funny I am doubled over in pain from the chuckle cramps. I would love to spend Thanksgiving with your family in HH. Instead I get to be somewhere watching football ALL DAY and wondering if reese cups and diet pepsi would make everybody as happy as me for dinner.
    xo, MB

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    1. Thank you so so much! I am really missing the HHI trip this year. Might try and revive it next year again. Oh I looooove Reese's. I don't like candy but do love a few of those a year.

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  26. This post is just delicious!! I had to put it down four times and walk away as tears were rolling down my face. It returning with anticipation. The first Hilton Head bar with your sister and the mop. I can see it all! Grandpa asleep, the licorice, sans tooth. Brilliant storytelling! Haven't laughed that hard in I don't know how long. Thank you! You are a gift sir. Don't give a flying dog about pumpkin pie but your new twist sounds good for the couple people in my fam that care. I'm excited about the Panko as love crisps! Happy Thanksgiving!!

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    1. Thank you so so much! My sister and the mop is what always really kills me. I wish I had thought to bribe someone there to sell me the security footage of that fall. Please let me know if you try either recipe! They are so good! Thanks again!

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