I also want to make note, for some of you that maybe haven't read all the comments on the installment #1, that the beer pitchers at the Legion went up 50 cents, not a quarter. Just so we're all clear of the atrocity of this inflation.
OK, so Day 2 in Green Valley started off blissfully: I woke up at about 9am, which is really sleeping in for me, came out to the kitchen to fresh coffee and my cousin Corey awake. We proceeded to take said coffee out by the pool for a little morning conversation. Can you say: AWESOME?! It was sunny, mildly breezy and just plain gorgeous. The only thing that could have made it better was a little Bailey's in the coffee. (Note to Aunt Jeannie: you need to be more of an enforcer on the liquor in the morning.) Just kidding....maybe.
After breakfast and morning chats, Aunt Jeannie and I went on a great 3 mile walk around her little housing development. We talked family 'shop', about Grandpa and Grandma and what-have-you. The entire time I'm walking by the way, I'm thinking two things: First:, 'Shit Laura, for all the exercise you've been doing lately, your Aunt is kicking your ass on this walking stuff!' I mean she was booking it! Barely winded. And here I am, trying to keep up without tripping on my own feet and falling face first in the gravel in front of her and the geezers (and I write that word with respect) driving by in their Plymouth boats. (I just want to put a little note in here, because I know my aunts reading this, that she is a HUGE exerciser, so for her to smoke me in our little outing is totally justified.) The second thing is I was constantly looking at the ground , under every bush, and tree, at shadows, and whatever else for a freaking rattle snake to come slithering out to bite my leg off. Reason being for this reaction is because my ever-so-loving-always-looking-out-for-my-best-interests other Uncle Larry sent me an email right before I left for AZ about how some lady in either Green Valley, or somewhere in AZ, found some rattler on her back porch one morning, all coiled and ready to attack. Good God, Mother of Pearl. But luckily no snakes all weekend. (Thank you God for keeping them at bay. And thank you Larry for freaking me the Hell out!)
My mom and her 'friend' (as she calls him, he's really her boyfriend) Hardy were coming in on Saturday afternoon, so to give my Aunt and cousin a break from the airport drive, which is about 30 min away, I decided to go pick them up. So there I go, hopping in my Grandpa's boat and cruise up to Tucson. By the way, do you know how cool it is to cruise up to Tucson in a car the size of an Airbus, complete with tricked out beige leather seats that could hold an NFL football player and a cassette player? Well, it's cool.
Their plane was delayed a bit, so I had to wait in the parking lot. Wanna know why they were late??? Well, I'm going to tell you. Here comes my Mom, bee-bopping out of the terminal, and gives me a big hug and says, "Oh My God, you will not beee-lieve why we were delayed!" "Really?", I ask. And she starts into this WHOLE huge long story and I'm like, "Mother we're still at the terminal, can we at least get in the car?!" I look at Hardy and he just rolls his eyes. Once in the car, the story starts over. One thing you have to know about my Mom is she can talk....A LOT. I've mentioned this before, but thought I'd give you all a little refresher, it's just simply a...maz...ing that she can blab about nothing in particular for such a long period of time. It's a skill, I swear. Oh, and she repeats stories about every other story. So by the time we hit Green Valley, I'd heard the same stories 1646 times. Anyways, the reason why they were late was because when they were sitting on the tarmac of the Kansas City Airport, they had been sitting there a little while and finally the stewardess or pilot or some doo-da got on the intercom and is like, "Attention Ladies and Gentlemen, there is going to be a slight delay in takeoff because a crack has been found in the door to the airplane. It's going to need replaced before we leave and we're waiting for the new door." You've got to be kidding me, I ask her. There was a freaking CRACK in the door to the airplane?! That's the kind of shenanigans that you hear about on the news! Well, obviously they got it fixed and she made it OK; thank the Good Lord.
Fast forward. We get to my Aunt's, say all the 'Hellos', then load Mom and Hardy to my other Aunt's house, where they were going to stay for the week, and back we drove to my Aunt's. It's beer-thirty by this point so we all dig in. Even though it's Saturday night, the evening was pretty laid back. Apparently in Green Valley, the 'it' night to get all loco is Friday night (which I described in Installment #1), and Sat. night is for relaxing. Or at least, relaxing and drinking at your own humble abode.
Uncle Charlie got the grill fired up and Aunt Jeannie went to get my grandparents and bring them back for a family dinner. It was so cute to see my grandparents together, they still love each other more than ever, even after ump-teenth million years they've been married. And Grandma looked so adorable with her little football helmet hairdo and bright pink lipstick. We sat and chatted and drank some brewskies and ate and just had a glorious time. My cousin Corey even did a little presentation for my Grandpa, that I really think took his breath away. See, Corey's in the Navy and he was able to obtain an American Flag that was flown over our Afghan base, during battle I might add, and gave it to my Grandpa with a signed letter from a super high up Naval officer. In Corey and I's eyes, and probably every one of my cousin's and family members, our Grandfather is a hero. He was never able to serve his country because of a shoulder injury, and he never saved some person or did anything dramatic, he was simply a great father, grandfather, husband, and man. He grew up during the depression, came from little, got himself educated, went to work at a bank, and eventually bought that bank. My Grandmother and him birthed and raised 6 amazing kids (5 girls and 1 boy; poor Uncle Bill) that have all gone on to make great successes in their lives. They're all educated, have or had wonderful and satisfying jobs, have amazing faith and fantastic morals. And each of them had kids that turned out equally great. I have an ass-load of cousins; we are all close, we all talk, and we all have a relationship that, I think, defies the norm.
Each person's family is different. Even in my own family, I have great relatives and crappy relatives. But in the Sheik family we all have a unique relationship that is hard to get anywhere. We actually love each other, and want to be around each other. I mean, I could call any of my Aunts my Mom, because they all took care of us. And I could call any of my cousin's my sibling, because we played and argued and partied and talk like siblings. I don't mean to brag, I really don't. It's just that I am so lucky to have that side of my family, and, well, OK, maybe I mean to brag. Just a little. And all that wouldn't have been possible without my Grandfather. (And he said, "Well, your Grandmother had something to do with it too!" So cute.)
OK, sorry to get all gushy.
Here's the whole crazy lot:
|Left to right: My mom Julie, Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Charlie, Corey holding Akahi, Jessica (Corey's wife)|
Me and Grandpa Jim and Grandma Margie in the front.
|Aren't they just the cutest?!|