Tuesday, October 16

auntie margaret

My mom returned from a little garage sale shopping this weekend with a cute set of drinking glasses to replace the ones that they've probably had since well before my birth. My dad checks them out, smiles, and says "they look just like the highball glasses Auntie Margaret and Uncle Ed's always poured their whiskey in."

Screeching record player halt.

Whiskey? Thinks I.

Hey Dad. Auntie Margaret and Uncle Ed, they drank?

Oh yeah. Says Dad. Their liquor cabinet was always fully stocked.

Really. Says I. Interesting.

Here is where you scratch your head and say "So?"

You see, my family, my dear sweet family, they don't drink. Or so I thought. I am learning as I get older that my family is not as by-the-book as they appear to be.

I remember the first time I ever saw my dad drink alcohol. It was at Ryan's wedding (the boy I was madly in lust with in high school, I thought I was destined to marry him. Clearly, my destiny-meter was off. Thankfully). When it comes time for the toast they offered sparkling apple cider or champagne. Dad went for the champagne.

Insert 20 year old Courtney's dropped jaw.

Silly me, I thought that was my dad's first ever sip of alcohol. No, no, a few years later I discover, it was not.

My family is the discreet kind. They hide their quirks so well it takes me years to find them. It can be very confusing and frustrating for someone trying to figure out right from wrong, and fulfilling expectations laid on you by previous generations.

My family doesn't talk about drinking. At least not drinking for the enjoyment of it. Drinking is only discussed as drunkenness and foolery. So when a highly regarded family member is spoken of in respect to their expansive liquor collection, without any form of disdain or disrespect for said family member's enjoyment of alcohol, I take notice.

And I think, Damn, I knew I shouldn't have left my entire bottle of Jameson at my old apartment in San Francisco for fear of disrespecting my elders. Clearly, if they were still alive, they would've encouraged me to bring it over and pour them a shot over ice. Clearly.

When little (seemingly insignificant) details about family members who have passed surface, I begin to wonder even more about what they were like. I wish I could've known Margaret and Ed as an adult. I adored them both as a child, but I wish I could've had the opportunity to speak with them about life, about how they lived it, and what was important to them.

My mom told me a few years ago that she always felt most comfortable with Auntie Margaret, as opposed to the other women in the family she had married into. Auntie Margaret was fashionable, loved to hostess, and had a wonderful laugh. And apparently she wasn't a complete goody goody like the rest of the family. So I'm interested to learn more.

I think this calls for a trip to Grandma's house. Time to learn some family history.

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