January 5, 1:45 am (I think)
I meant to do this every night, but I think I’m having too much fun. That used to be one of my standbys- I didn’t take pictures or write stuff because I was too busy actually doing stuff rather than standing there waiting for people to pose. I haven’t taken enough pictures, but I’m still new to this. Give me a break.
After Dennis and I slept in, the four of us had excellent steaks at lunch with Uncle Roy and his crew on Thursday, at a place in Dartmouth whose name I can’t recall (but Dad will inevitably mention to me once I put this on my page). I say ‘crew’ because it wasn’t quite family (extended, as his son Nick, who’s near our age, came with his wife and infant daughter, Tessa), and it seems like the kind of word I could attribute to him without offense. And he’s the kind of guy you want to be on the good side of. Not that it’s difficult- he’ll give us the gears, but you know he’s got your back.
Mom loved baby Tessa. Between her and Carol, I was worried Nick wouldn’t get his kid back ever again. This worried me, initially- I was waiting for the inevitable ‘why haven’t you found a nice girl?’ spiel, but I’ll give her credit, Mom’s been fairly good about that. Roy and Dad actually managed to agree on splitting the cost of lunch, which might have amazed me even more. I was almost certain Dennis and I would have tipped the bill to our end.
The lunch and subsequent visit/photo session was good all around- Roy actually works up in Fort McMurray, and promised a visit for Dad at some point. Sure enough, making Alberta money, he had lots of toys (and enough tripods and camera stuff to make even Aaron jealous). I spent some time on the laptop, and came away suitably impressed.
Mom’s sister Rose is an excellent cook, and by the time we arrived at her place for supper, we’d already run the gamut of jokes on whether or not we’d come away hungry. This is what Mom misses with the two of us and Dad together. The fun just doesn’t stop.
Rose’s grandchildren were there, and it was startling to see them, having not been there for some time. Leah had become a teenager, Ethan was a reasonably accomplished basketball player. I know I hated hearing it when I grew up (circle of life, yes, I know), but they’d grown. And who was the youngest one? Mirah? She was like a rumor, floating on the wind, and disappearing when the clouds clear. Nope, she’s there, and she loves chocolate cake, something I teased her relentlessly about before dinner- I insisted that didn’t think she really liked chocolate. She argued otherwise, punctuating the argument with an oddly cute growl. I thought I didn’t like little kids.
I recall being soundly beaten by Ethan at NBA Live ’06 before dinner, while the youngest, Mirah (nicknamed ‘Joey’ for some reason) ran off her energy, proclaiming her want for chocolate cake.
The lasagna and garlic toast (some with cheese, and some with bruschetta- how does one choose? HOW? I had both.) was wonderful, though I stayed away from that exotic salad. The mention of ‘egg’ made me suspicious.
There were no fewer than two desserts. There may have been three, but I only had two. A peanut butter chocolate cheesecake, and the aforementioned chocolate cake that had Mirah going on and on, both of which I found a way to cram. And, sure enough, she only had a couple of bites before finding something else interesting.
Yeah, we didn’t leave that table hungry.
After dinner, once the kids had figured out which one could play on the Gamecube, Mirah disappeared upstairs to play what Rose described as ‘Mario’.
After Rose suggested one of Dennis or I join her, and Dad managed to egg a reluctant Dennis into an NBA Live match with Ethan, I left the adults to their talking, now firmly entrenched in my wheelhouse. Though Mirah had no idea.
It was strange, in a way, the nostalgia and affection I felt when I played ‘Mario World’ with Mirah. Especially seeing that she was fairly new to it- it was like when I’d picked it up for the first time. Gaming is a wonderful escape, when you could allow it to be, and I thought it strange that I would find it here.
Watching her play, figuring out how to do things, just as I must have when I played for the first time, hearing her exclaim “Whoa!” and “Wow!” when I did moves and manuevers that I’ve done with that fictionalized plumber so many times that they’re instinctual, brought it all back for me. It wasn’t rote, or routine, or ‘just another level’- it was fun.
Or maybe I’m starting to understand Mom and Dad a little more.
I think we got as far as the fourth castle, just past the Cheese Bridge, before visiting time was
over, and we had to head for Aunt Karen’s, where Dennis and I would spend the night. Phil was coming in that night, and I was pumped.
Dad reported that Dennis had fared better than I in NBA Live, even leading at one point, though he’d still lost- no doubt he learned from my failures, and applied them. That’s the ticket.