In honor of Mother’s Day (or as I call it “Crazy Family Celebration Day”), I bring you a three act play, and totally true story, titled “The Night Nothing Happened and Other Delicious Drinks,” along with family photos that have absolutely nothing to do with this story.
The Night Nothing Happened and Other Delicious Drinks, Act 1:
MOM: I don’t see why I don’t get to go to her 85th birthday party, and you, Mother, and Auntie do.
ME: Well, I’ve been visiting Sinus with The Gram since I was 4.
MOM: Do you still call her that?
ME: Well, yes, the mispronounced name I gave her has kind of stuck over the years. So, yeah, sometimes.
MOM: Maybe don’t call her that in front of everyone tonight.
ME: I don’t think she cares, but I promise to be on my best behavior.
MOM: You got an invite and I didn’t…
ME: Can we move on from that? Besides, I think it was just a natural following. She is The Gram and Auntie’s cousin. I visit her often with them. Ergo, I got an invite. When was the last time YOU saw her?
MOM: There was that one time…well, when I was a kid…fine. Whatever. Just keep them out of trouble.
ME: Trouble? Why? It’s two old ladies, okay, three old cousins, who are hanging out tonight with extended family, in a private party room at a fancy hotel or something. What could possibly go wrong? Hey, does my dress look okay?
MOM: It looks great, and I’m telling you, keep them out of trouble.
ME: Sinus never gets in trouble.
MOM: I’m not talking about Sinus.
Once we arrived at the party, it didn’t take long for Auntie to discover the private bar and for The Gram to realize her clip-on earrings weren’t going to stay balanced.
THE GRAM: Okay, are they even on my ears now?
ME: Um…yes? Yep, they sure are. They look great.
And then someone begins to tell the story of Sinus’ birth 85 years ago. The Gram and I look around to see who is starting it, and to our horror, it’s Auntie, three sheets to the wind with a butterless butter knife in hand for pointed effect.
AUNTIE: 85 yearsh ago…it was me and Frieda and Mattie and we knew something BIG wash happenin’ that day. We wurh told to go outschide to play, but we knew something BIG was happenin’. Sho I schaid to everyone, c’mon kidsch, lets go schit outschide thisch window and wait. Somethin’ big ish happenin’. I know it.
THE GRAM: Oh, Sister, um, maybe let’s get you a roll to go with that butter knife.
AUNTIE: Why would I need a roll? I’m tellin’ a schtory!
THE GRAM: Yes, well, you’re….
AUNTIE: I’m the oldest pershun in thish room ish what I am, schtill your older shister too, and if I want another Manhattan, I’ll have another Manhattan! Sho anyway, Sinus wash born just a few hoursh later…
THE GRAM: Oh, bravo, good story, Sister! Loved it!
ME: Is she done yet?
THE GRAM: Oh, dear God, I hope so.
We. Were. Wrong.
The Night Nothing Happened and Other Delicious Drinks, Act 2.
AUNTIE: Then a few yearsh later, our family got another baby and SHE wash born!!!! [Auntie points her butterless butter knife at THE GRAM who begins to groan uncontrollably.] I DIDN’T LIKE HER WHEN SHE WASH BORN!! Not one bit!!!! Mother, I said to my mother, you’re too old to have another baby with a new huschband. This ish WRONG! I’m 17 and I don’t want a schibiling now!
Speaking of siblings, The Gram is now nervously and uncontrollably laughing. And the room is dead silent.
ME [whispering to The Gram]: Is this true?
THE GRAM: Oh, God, yes. All of it.
ME: What happened?
THE GRAM: Well, a divorced Danish woman (our mother) married a poor Italian, and together they had me. It was a little scandalous for the times, I guess you could say. And it was hard on Sister. Her father had abandoned her and Mother years ago. When he was around, he wasn’t very nice to them. But my dad doted on me and was very good to Mother. It was hard for Sister to see. Some wounds take a long time to heal. So, she stayed away and we didn’t really talk much over the years.
ME: Omigod! Then what happened?
THE GRAM: Well, her husband died and I guess one of us called the other. I think she called me. And we started spending time together, and all these decades later, we haven’t really stopped.
I LOVE THEIR STORY. Auntie was always so brave in my mind. That night I learned why. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable. To pick up the phone, let go of the bitterness, and say “hi” to someone.
And I always knew The Gram was unconditionally loving and forgiving. That night I also learned why. Love is best when it’s shared.
AUNTIE: Scho!!!! I didn’t lichke her scho much for a lot uh yearsh!
THE GRAM: So true, dear Sister, but um, well, we’re so good now, aren’t we? Just two peas in a pod now. Okay, now…
AUNTIE: We are!! We are!!!!! When my huschband died, oh, nearly 25 yersch ago, I descheided I wash going to get to know my dear little shister. And, sho, all theesh yearsch later, we’re good friends.
ME: Umm, Gram? Are you going to grab the butter knife or should I?
THE GRAM: I’ll go for it.
ME: Actually, I’ll grab it. Wait, no, you grab it! It’s by…she’s flailing it by you!
We both missed the butter knife.
SINUS [approaching us cheerfully]: I’m so glad you three could make it tonight! Where would I be without my cousins?!
THE GRAM: Are you…
SINUS: Of course I am. You three are always a fun time. Why, I am just so glad you could all make it.
THE GRAM: Well, we won’t stay long. Must get Sister home in one piece.
SINUS: Nonsense. My dear older cousin is right. She’s the oldest in the room and can drink whatever she likes.
THE GRAM: Speaking of drinks, I need one. Maybe a fruity one. Without alcohol!
ME: So, Gram, what did you get?
THE GRAM: Something summery and sweet.
ME: Mmmm, it’s good. I want one. Does it have alcohol in it?
THE GRAM: I don’t think so. I didn’t tell her I wanted alcohol, so I would assume not. I’m not much of a drinker, unlike my SHISTER over there who is retelling that lovely story on a continuous loop.
ME: Well, I’ll go up and get one myself.
ME: I would like the same drink you made for my grandmother. It’s wonderful. What’s in it?
BARTENDER: Just a little peach schnapps and pineapple juice.
The Night Nothing Happened and Other Delicious Drinks, Act 3.
ME: Well, that answers our question, Gram. The drink doesn’t have alcohol in it. I went up and asked for the exact same thing you got, and the bartender didn’t even flinch. Didn’t ask for an ID or anything. So, that’s that.
THE GRAM: Well, sure. Of course she’d ID you if it had alcohol in it.
ME: She did say it has a little peach and pineapple to it.
THE GRAM: I thought I got a hint of peach.
ME: You know, we have a pretty great family. I mean, you can’t take us anywhere, but we know how to have a good time.
THE GRAM: We sure do. And who wants to be boring? Not I.
ME: Me either.
MOM: So, how’d it go? Did you have fun? Where are Mother and Auntie? Go out and help them up the stairs.
ME: Um, well, The Gram is taking Auntie home.
MOM: They could have come up for a while and talked about the evening. I can be big about it and hear all the details.
ME: Yeah, well, I hope you still feel big and mature and open-minded, you know, later.
MOM: Why? What happened?
ME: The Gram is taking Auntie home to sleep it off.
MOM: Auntie got DRUNK tonight?
ME: Oh, yeah! She drank her weight in Manhattans. Speaking of drinks, The Gram and I had the most wonderful summery drink tonight. You should get it the next time you’re at the store.
MOM: Hold it a minute, you were supposed to look out for them!
ME: I tried! I didn’t know there would be alcohol. And anyway, I went after the butter knife.
ME: Never mind.
MOM: I just, okay, fine, what’s this drink you guys liked so well?
ME: Peach schnapps and pineapple juice. Would the schnapps be in the fruit drink aisle or with the produce?
MOM: OH MY GOD! MORGAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s BOOOOOOZE!!!!!!! Schnapps is booze! This is getting worse. This whole evening is getting worse. You drank booze tonight.
ME: I did?
MOM: Omigod! You got drunk with MY MOTHER!!!
ME: Nope, no I did not! We only had one!! Auntie is the one who got drunk!
MOM: That. Is. Not. Helping. Who drove home?
ME: Gram did.
MOM: You didn’t drive them home?
ME: Why would I drive them home? I just started driver’s ed.
MOM: Omigod, you’re all three drunk.
ME: I’M NOT DRUNK. Nothing happened tonight, except for the part where Auntie…
MOM: I get it. I get the picture. Oh, good Lord. I cannot believe this. One night. One night out, and you three…..
She went to her room and closed the door, muttering, “My daughter got drunk with my mother. My daughter got drunk with my mother….”
But, WHATEVER, because I thought that evening WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD as were the women who raised me. And just, whatever, man, because The Gram and I were not drunk. That is my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Happy Crazy Family Celebration Day!