Friday, July 29, 2011

When the Relatives Came


I live in a tent city. The family got in today. The population of the house ballooned to 20 people. Silence is no more. I thought I would put a line in the water, it quickly became the afternoon activity. My aunts Leslie, Phyllis (and her boyfriend Andrew), and Nancy. My uncles Fred and Paul. My grandparents, George and Yone. And my cousins Evan, Rader, Adam (and his girlfriend Jessie), Georgie, and Louie. Not to mention my mother, my sisters Olivia and Natalie, and my father. Oh and Rene. The place is crawling with people.

No matter where I go there is activity. I can find a party anywhere. And the place seems happy and full. It sighs and creaks pleasantly. And the weather agrees. Today was a perfect day. It was glass in the morning, I paddled about 3 miles out and came back—trolling with a line behind. I didn't catch anything; that's a rarity. Actually I did, the same as always though. Seaweed, bullheads, and this time a sea snail. That was new.

Anyway, the quiet of the morning gave way to the bustling activity of the afternoon. The arrival of my relatives also required creative sleeping arrangements. The four bedrooms and 10 beds can only hold 14 people. And that's stretching it. Fear not, the Hara family loves their tents. Tents everywhere. Evan and Rader will be sleeping in the tent mansion that proved that the cousins and I are complete idiots. It took us nearly an hour to get that one set up. Olivia and Rene will be sleeping in the traditional triangle tent. This one has a bonus though, it smells like puke. It smells awful, like a Frat party after a night of bad beer and spoiled seafood.

But that's part of the appeal of the beach house, people crammed together just to be together. People happily pushing and shoving for abundant food. People out in all the boats. People lounging in the sun. People swimming in the warm afternoon water. Just people, family here.

While I may express annoyance at my family—make fun of Paul because he snores, beat the crap out of Georgie and Louie, call Evan a bro, make fun of grandpa's bad hearing, Phyl's spoiled attitude, or any other myriad of personality quirks that comes with being in tight quarters with family—i genuinely love and appreciate them being here. What photo conveys the chaos and joy that accompanies their presence? What words? Nothing can express it but the time I spend with them all.

This reminds me of the children's book, “When the Relatives Came.”