My aunt and uncle had their 50th Wedding Anniversary last weekend. I'm not sure why they would have such a thing on a UFC night, but they went and did it anyways. Seriously though, they are great people, and it was a great party.
Its not often enough that so much of the family gets together. Since my grandfather passed away years ago our annual picnic stopped happening. But in seeing everyone it got me thinking a lot about my family. At dinner we chatted quite a bit about the wonders of genetics and how my uncle's bald spot had found its way onto each of his three sons. And we looked the next generation growing up and marveled a bit about their features and seeing old pictures of their parents and grandparents and how similar they look was a remarkable thing.
Then there's the features that don't really come from genetics. Being to only one adopted into the family I see those quite a bit. I get credited a bit with having clever things to say, and that comes from family. Those people are some of the quickest wits you are going to come across. Something happens when you get around clever people. Its like your brain realizes that it needs to speed up because cool stuff is happening and being said. And its not that ridiculously forced witty banter like some Kevin Smith knock-off flick. Its a bunch of people with a loving bond and interesting lives and experiences who don't mind laughing about it. Its teasing with love where everybody including the person getting teased can laugh.
I spent some time at the bar with my cousins and brother, and how do we measure how each other are doing in our lives? Checking out our bellies. The newest fellow to get married into the family wasn't sure what was up. See, he didn't have to get by my grandfather to get in. That was the acid test. You got your nickname, got made fun of, and took your turn grinding the bar-b-q at the annual picnic and pig pickin' and you were in. So we checked out his belly, and it doesn't look like he's put on too much baby weight since him and my cousin had a little girl recently.
For the record, I'm still working on losing the last on my baby weight. But it was twins, so... y'know.
The checking of guts came a bit from my Grandfather. Like when my cousin John Jr. stopped in for a visit to find Pop having a beer in the garage. That's where the family drinks. If you can get a car in there, that's fine, but really garages are for drinking beer. John had completed Harvard Law School and doing well for himself.
Pop: "Looks like you're gettin' a belly on you."
John: While rubbing his stomach. "Well Pop, that's called 'success'."
At which point my uncle walked around the corner.
Pop: "Then your daddy must be the richest, damn man in North Carolina."
I also realized last weekend that it was impossible to take a decent picture of me between the ages of 13 and 18. I had to be the least photogenic teenager ever. Not that I'm photogenic now, but putting on 50 pounds since high school did help. When you're 6'1" and a 135 pounds, ya just don't look right.
But looking my my past, at the same time I got to look at the future. Got to see the next generation of the family and they're growing up. Little girls becoming young ladies. A boy who I remember holding as a baby is now coming into his teenage years and was thrilled with me because he's a budding comic book artist. By co-incidence I had my old copy of "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" in my car which I passed on to his his father, my cousin, to give to him. Everyone had that book. Felt pretty good to pass it on.
And there's that cousin who just had a little girl. There's a picture of all my generation of the family. John thinks it was taken at Pop's, but I'm pretty sure it was taken at my aunt and uncle's house. John called it the 'magic picture'. He was still in his teens. I was a little kid, and Page, the new mom, was barely able to stand up under her own steam. I saw that picture for the first time in a long time last weekend. And I looked around and though about how we all grew up.
We did pretty damn good at it.
There's a sentiment that I see popping up here and there: I hate cops.
There's people railing on about how all they do is abuse power. That there are no good cops. One even called them no better than a group of rapists.
You know who typically puts forth those type of statements? The people who do illegal crap. They get a chip on their shoulder because they got a speeding ticket. They get pissed off because they got a bit too drunk and got into trouble. The officer is the jerk, in their minds, because they got busted smoking weed. Had a buddy get a DUI and everyone was saying how the cop was an "asshole" for giving it to him. The cop didn't give him beer and put him behind the wheel.
Had a run in with a cop years ago. My cat had gotten out of the apartment and I was out looking for him. After looking for a while I I was approached by a cop who asked what I was doing. I told him and he told me that there were reports of a guy in a camouflage jacket peeking into windows. Well, I was wearing a green pullover with a design on it that could have been mistaken for camouflage at night I suppose. But I explained the situation, and had my ID showing I lived there, so after watching me a bit he moved on. I felt kind of bad that people thought I was looking in windows.
Then I rounded the corner. There was the cop with a guy in a camouflage jacket handcuffed and sitting on the curb. "How would you feel if someone was looking in your window."
I didn't feel too bad after that.
I'm no angel, but I love cops. I've gotten more than my fair share of tickets. Was it their fault? Of course not. If anything they were really cool about the whole matter. Those people are out working to protect and serve people. And sure their are bad police out there, and unfortunately those are the ones that end up on YouTube or the news. But for every bad cop out there, there's ten good ones.
So next time you see a cop, do what I do: smile and say "Hey, how's it goin'?" Because they're out there doing a thankless job that makes things better for us.
And for everyone reading this who thinks I'm wrong in my opinion and that all cops are bad: you're full of crap.
For those of you that don't know, over in Duckburg, life is like a hurricane. SCROOGE MCDUCK: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BUCKS hits the stands this week from BOOM Studios. BOOM's kids line of comics knocks it out of the park pretty consistently, and is always a good bet whether you're buying for a kid, or just remember DUCK TALES from your childhood and want to see some more fun and adventures.
Poor old Donald Duck is flat broke and can't afford a vacation while his nephews are off at camp. He gets a phone call from his Uncle Scrooge offering a free vacation. There's of course a catch. Scrooge has made a bet that he can go around the world hitting various tourist sites for only $80. One of his very wealthy acquaintances was bragging about his yacht and an extravagant trip he'd be taking. Scrooge, ever the hard worker and spend thrift, thought that such a trip was a waste of money. Words were exchanged and the bet was on.
So, can two very clever ducks make it around the world on a budget that would barely get most folks across the state? Grab the book, find out, and enjoy the ride.
Who's up for a redneck good time?
This train is gonna keep on rolling. See y'all on Friday.