My family tree is full of nuts

by Dani

My ten year wedding anniversary is this Friday.

Even though we were living in Newport at the time, my bridal shower was held in Methuen.

My mother, a woman who would drive to NYC for lunch or to buy a new pair of shoes, thought that having my shower or, God forbid, the actual wedding, in Rhode Island would not only be inconvenient, but totally undoable for our family.  So for that and a variety of other reasons, we stayed local.

At my bridal shower my aunt gave me a little pillow that read “My family tree is full of nuts.”

I thought of the appropriateness of this gift last night after a trip back to the Merrimack Valley. I went home to visit my mother’s mom, my 89 year old grandmother. I consider myself very fortunate (to use one of her favorite words- pronounced “fawh- tunate”)  to still have a grandmother. Growing up we lived next door to each other and she and my aunt were our family. We never had any close cousins or a grandfather. It was just me and my sister, mom, dad, gram and our aunt, who we looked up to more like an older sister, due to our closeness in age and our envy of her super sweet burgundy leather clogs.

Sure, we had a couple of second cousins but with grandma being a Jehovah’s Witness and us being Christian, there were never family celebrations around the holidays. Add to that the 30-40 year age gap and we weren’t a close knit group.

Our family has always had lots of personality. There was our anorexic cousin affectionately nicknamed “Chubby.” And of course her brother, who long ago determining that it was too expensive to operate a vehicle, has been walking the ten plus miles to work for over 40 years. (true confession- the Methuen walker is a blood relation)

This is not only economical, but last year afforded him the opportunity to pick up a frozen duck roadside, to be plucked, stewed and eaten, making the walk to work not just cost effective in terms of fuel, but a clear savings in the grocery department as well. (true story)

So last night after several cups of tea, when I headed to the ladies room before my long trip home, it really shouldn’t have surprised me when my aunt casually mentioned that she had spray painted the toilet. Pardon me?

The seat was showing some signs of wear and tear so she decided to refurbish it with some fresh paint. Economical. But in high gloss chocolate brown? The over spray on the tank is a bit unnerving, but it does serve to refresh the worn seat and can be considered quite practical from a cleaning perspective.

I decided to use another bathroom where I could see a little better what I was getting into. Here I found a bookcase stacked with several dozen jars of homemade salsa. Makes sense. Looking to store some canned goods? What better cool, dry place than your master bath?

I guess if you view these things through the same lens you would view someone picking up, preparing and eating roadkill, they seem quite normal.

However now ten years out of the nest, from my new vantage point across state lines, these behaviors are starting to look a little odd.