The phrase “all-American family” conjures images of grills and puppies, happy mothers and fathers and two-and-a-half children in clothes from Baby Gap – all of the things my fiancé’s family is not.
I’ll admit I have crazy relatives. Some of them have married into the family, and some of them are unfortunately and unavoidably related to me by blood completely against my will. I do my darndest to avoid these people at family reunions for fear they’ll tell some really embarrassing story about me – most likely at a volume more suitable for a cattle auctioneer.
But even with years of experience, meeting someone else’s crazy relatives is intimidating. So it was with trepidation I went to meet my fiancé’s grandparents for the first weekend of what I had hoped would be a stress-free Spring Break.
Grandpa Fred – or Grampuhfred, if said with a genuine East Texas accent – lives with his wife by common law and two dogs in a doublewide in Gun Barrel City. Whatever picture just popped into your head, that’s exactly what it looks like. We pulled into the driveway Friday night – a decision I’m now certain was a clever ploy to keep me from getting a good look at the place, which happens to be bedecked with antique knick knacks of all shapes and sizes.
After introductions and hugs all around, the conversation turned to sleeping arrangements. My fiancé and I being pretty conservative, I foolishly assumed he’d make himself comfortable on the couch while I slept soundly on the absolute opposite end of the trailer – perhaps behind several doors. To my red-faced embarrassment, they had some misguided perceptions about our relationship. After a few awkward laughs, I asserted my good ol’ Church of Christ upbringing and set the record straight.
That was in the first half hour.
However, during the next two days I decided it didn’t matter if they were a little strange. Just because they weren’t like my family didn’t mean they weren’t worth getting to know. We all have a batty great-aunt who our families warn us about, and most of us, if we’re honest, kind of like her. At least she always makes holidays at Grandma’s a little more exciting.
And that’s before the eggnog.