I spent a few days with my mother’s side of the family for my grandfather’s funeral. The SO had met a few of them before but never had seen them assembled in one place. The poor boy. I think he will eventually recover. He just keeps saying, “Wow” and “I wouldn’t have guessed they were your relatives.”
I guess people would look at me and assume that since I’m over educated and come from an immediate family of people with a least one and usually multiple college degrees, that that was the norm for the rest of my family. Nope. Total aberration. I come from lower middle class roots. I believe the word “hillbilly” could be fairly used. “White trash” isn’t entirely accurate but on occasion they do lean a bit that way.
It is a family where affection is measured by how meanly they insult you. The SO found this out when he first met some of my cousins and then he said something nice about me. Immediately they responded with variations of, “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said you were with Heather. Musta misunderstood.” It was an automatic response. He was the only one surprised by it.
He started getting into the swing of it during the viewing. My mother was talking to a good looking man that none of us knew. A cousin asked the SO if he knew who that guy was. The SO answered, “Her boyfriend.” Rumor started. Then they embellished for a while until they sent me to ask my mother for the real story. The real story was very boring and I told her that they would be so disappointed that they would probably spread the rumor because it was more interesting. She agreed that the guy was cute so that was ok.
I have a first cousin once removed who has been raised by my cousin’s ex-husband. White Trash would not be the wrong words to use for the ex. This kid is now 18 and just got out of basic training for the National Guard. He would like everyone to know that. The SO had a conversation with him since he was ex-military and still works in a related field. He explained what he did and what his rank was. The kid’s response was, “You want a cookie?” The SO is still trying to figure out how the kid got through basic without a drill instructor killing him. He is also betting that the punk commits a felony in the next decade.
We were driving home and he mentioned that he was proud of himself for not punching the kid just to teach him a lesson.
Me: “I’m proud of you too. You realize that if you start a fistfight at Grandpa’s funeral you jump right to the head of the White Trash line?”
Him: “It wasn’t going to be a fight. I was just going to knock him out.”
Me: “Even so. Right to the top of the line. The only way to get higher on the White Trash scale is to bring a 12 pack of beer to the funeral.”
The drive home was nasty. Very snowy up by the lake. Do your relatives a favor if you live in a wintery place and don’t die in February. About halfway home we got out of the worst of it. We stopped at a rest stop to let Freckles out since she knew that we had driven for long enough and we should have been almost home by then. I walked her while the SO went inside. When he came out, I put her in the car and went inside. He turned on the car. Freckles went nuts. I guess she thought he was on the verge of driving off. I don’t know if she thought that he didn’t notice I wasn’t there or she thought he was going to just leave me, but she was screaming and crying until I came back. Nice to know someone cares.