- What a fun weekend! I arrived at Paul's house about 7:30pm on Thursday. It's such a beautiful drive between here and there and I do love a roadtrip. Aunt Carmen and Uncle Dick were already there and Shelly and Steve got in about midnight on Friday. We were all determined to wait up for them and were pretty bleary eyed by the time they got there. Then, of course, everyone had to sit around and talk for a while. We couldn't just go straight to bed. It was my first time meeting my cousin and her husband. I wish I had gotten to know my family much earlier. They are so much fun and just really great people. To give you an idea of what they are like I think the family motto should be Take No Prisoners. There is constant teasing and laughter. If you don't think you can hold your own you better not stick around. I had to really be on my toes. Speaking of which, graceful little thing that I'm not, I tripped going UP the stairs, which happen to be in plain sight of everyone in the living room. As soon as it happened Paul jumped on it, making as much fun of me as possible and his father and son joined right in. All I could do was laugh and say, "Shit, I was hoping nobody saw that." But I got in a few of good ones of my own here and there over the course of the weekend.
The big party for Zach was Saturday night. Well, technically it started at 2pm on Saturday afternoon but it went well into the night. Genelle's parents came plus a bunch of Paul and Genelle's friends. Genelle worked really hard to put everything together and she did a great job. Food, decorations and enough beer, wine, tequila, rum and Crown Royal to pickle everyone. Not the kids, of course, but the rest of us did a damn fine job of it. Eventually the party migrated to the game room and to Paul's recording studio, which are both in the basement. Between ping pong, air hockey and an impromptu jam session it got pretty loud.
With the exception of Genelle's parents and my aunt and uncle I was the oldest person at the party and I was the last man standing at the end of the night! Most everybody had either gone home or gone to bed so Paul, Shelly, Steve and I decided to watch the movie I had bought Paul for his birthday. Did I forget to mention that in addition to Zach's graduation the weekend also included Paul's birthday on Friday? We were talking about movies last time I was there and he had never seen Start The Revolution Without Me. So that made his birthday gift an easy one. Anyway, Shelly and Steve lasted about a half hour into the movie before they threw in the towel and headed for bed. Paul lasted longer but didn't make it to the end of the movie either. He fell asleep (or should I say passed out?) on the couch. We were downstairs in the game room. So it was about 3am when I threw a blanket over him and headed for my own bed. Actually I headed for Zach's bed, having taken over his room for the weekend and relegating him to the couch in the living room. When you are trying to sleep nine people someone will always end up on the couch and Zach drew the short straw. So I tiptoed past the family's newest high school graduate as I made my way from the basement and through the living room to the upstairs.
Everyone was moving kind of slow the next morning, especially Paul and me. It was Father's Day and for some reason he and his dad thought they should get special treatment. Imagine that! All they got from everyone else in the house (besides gifts) was a hard time. We didn't do much that day. Genelle made a big breakfast (which my stomach politely declined) and we vegged out most of the day in front of the TV. Shelly and Steve had us watching NASCAR, then Paul had us watching golf. It was the last day of the U.S. Open and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I got really into it. It was neck and neck between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate at the end and they finished the tournament in a tie so they had to have a golf-off today. I actually watched the end of it when I got home this afternoon! Tiger won by one stroke. The Open ended about 9pm last night so we put in Will Smith's movie I Am Legend. It's not the kind of movie I would choose but it was really good. Really suspenseful and creepy. I was sitting next to Genelle and she kept jumping when the movie would startle her. She also shushed me a couple of times at the beginning of the movie so a while later when Shelly and Steve were whispering I pointed at them and told Genelle she needed to shush them! That cracked her up. When everybody else went to bed after the movie I stayed up with Zach and Austin to watch an episode of South Park. Then I went to bed. Who knows how long they stayed up!
Genelle had to leave for work about 6:30am this morning and the rest of us had to get on the road so we were all up early. Carmen and Dick were driving back to North Carolina with Shelly and Steve before flying back to Las Vegas next week. Paul rolled the boys out and the 8 of us all went to The Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Needless to say there was a lot of picking and poking and laughter around that table. We said goodbye in the parking lot and I pointed my car north and west back toward the 'Burgh.
I thought of my dad a lot yesterday. I spent most of my life without him but yesterday was the first Father's Day in 12 years that I didn't buy a card or make a phone call. Looking around me, though, at the family he gave me, I felt his presence in their love.
Thank you, Dad. I love you.