Monday, November 22, 2004

Family

The Thanksgiving holiday, as celebrated in America, is this Thursday. No doubt most of you foreigners knew this already, but I felt I should point it out nonetheless. Traditionally, families gather together and celebrate an enormous meal together...the thought of my family gathering makes me both ill and pensive. Fortunately, my entire family isn't getting together. An uncle (by marriage) is off in Florida helping the continued reconstruction of this year's hurricane damage, so he and his family won't be with us. My sole-surviving grand (-mother) will be going to Florida to visit another uncle and his wife, so that's three more down. The twin brother of that uncle will be with his wife (and daughter) at her family's house- scratch 3 more. That just leaves my immediate family; mother, father, sister, (idiot) brother-in-law and their two sons.

Coming from solid coon-ass stock (that means cajun, if you're not from Louisiana), we give different names to specific familial relations, some of which you may have heard before. A grandmother is usually 'mawmaw' and grandfather is 'pawpaw', although spellings vary. Once upon a time I had great-grands who were mamee and papee. A godmother is 'marain' (pronounced ma-dan) and godfather is 'parain' (pronounced pa-dan). Godmother is sometimes 'nanny' and when I was little, my godfather was 'pie'. (aside: I say, when I was little, because I haven't heard from my godfather since I was maybe 6...I could easily track him down, my father's cousin, but why bother him?) My sister asked me to be godfather to her first child, which I gladly obliged. It's little more than an honorary title, of course. My ex-wife is godmother, but he'll probably never see her again. Related story there, but for another time. As my nephew/godson approached the age at which he would begin to recognize me, we had to decide what he would call me. I don't mind 'parain', as it's part of my heritage, but it's not terribly unique...and I'm nothing if not unique. My first request was that they simply call me 'sir'. Nobody thought that would work, so I requested 'padrino', an homage to a Smash Mouth song of the same name, and a nod to the more formal (and Italian) role of godfather. In the end, it defaulted to a diminuitive form of my actual name, one given to me by the wife of one of the twin uncles. Everyone calls me that now, which I don't really like, but it stuck...oh well.

So why did this aunt (aside: I prefer the pronunciation awwnt, as opposed to the harsh-sounding ant) give me this name? Maybe it's because when her daughter was an infant, I had her in my arms and was throwing her up into the air. Most children like this sort of play, and I'm only too happy to oblige. Only, I wasn't paying attention to the ceiling fan...

19 Comments:

At 2:45 AM, Blogger Badaunt said...

You are sick, I tell you, SICK!

(Sliced baby, eh? Did you get an anatomy lesson as the cross-sections floated down like frisbees?)

 
At 7:18 AM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

ah, the joys of famiy. i always cook thanksgiving dinner ( and i'm a ROCKIN cook if anyone is keeping track ) but luckily it's just my parents and me .... we'll do the treck to NC for the white trash extravaganza { i actually have an uncle who made the DECISION to decorate the living room in the " General Lee { yeah, that one } }...anyway - i am not cajun, but have a granny and a paw-paw ... and i'm the godmother of 2 - but a kickin one i must admit....they adore me, how could they NOT ... and as for the ceiling fan - ask me about the time i tried to do that flippy thing and slammed my cousins head on the floor one delightful Easter Sunday .... ah, good times good times!

 
At 7:36 AM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

ps- i added a link to your site from mine. hope that's ok - if not - lemme know and i'll take it down.

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger Zelda said...

That's too funny about the ceiling fan. I'm trying to get my kids to call my mom 'granny'. My mom isn't real thrilled about it. She's very vain of the fact that she looks younger than her years.

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Theic- You're thinking lunchmeat, when it reality it was just a couple of stitches in her ear. Naturally she didn't start to cry until everyone else made a big deal about it. Geez people, it wasn't like the kid had any chance of being perfect with THOSE parents anyway.

Al- I see, you've got more of a barefoot, white trash thing going. My family is closer to them-possums-good-eatin, white trash. Links are always welcome, I can always use the money to fix up the place.

Z- Granny works at home, but to really twist the knife get them to use the formal 'Grandmother' when out in public.

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger Zelda said...

My family (the non-Jewish side) is (was) Alabama share-cropper. They aren't half as much fun as either the "barefoot", or the "them-possums-good-eatin'" white trash.

 
At 1:56 PM, Blogger me said...

Question...
Is it only OK to use the term White Trash if you consider yourself white trash? And I'm honestly not trying to offend anyone, I'm just curious. It's a word I wouldn't have thrown around... until I read this post and now use every fifteen minutes.

 
At 2:35 PM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

i think i can call myself white trash ( actually my kin are white trash - my parents and i are not ) however - NO ONE else can call me that without me having to open up a can of whoop ass!

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Zelda said...

It depends on the context. If you mean it insultingly, it will be taken that way and then out comes the shotgun. If you mean it jokingly, everyone will laugh and cook you up some armadillo and grits. But whatever you do, don't be ambiguous.

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Mmmm, griiiits.

I hadn't thought about it but I guess 'white trash' should probably only be used by mobile-home-dwelling caucasians, much the way derogatory terms for African-American and homosexual should only be used by those groups, amongst themselves. Context is important, as I don't know anyone who would be offended by it unless I made it clear by additional expletives. My family actually isn't remotely white-trash, but since we come from that part of the country it's fun to play along. We do, however, suck the heads.

And bourbon rocks is only one step away from my mauma's (the coon-ass matriarch) favorite drink, Jim Beam & Sprite.

 
At 9:38 PM, Blogger Heather said...

Crazy Southerners.

I think I've got all you beat when it comes to suicide-inducing family holidays.

Imagine a one-story house. A one-story house in which you can only enter the living room, family room, and kitchen/dining room because all of the bedrooms are crowded with luggage and people napping. Keep in mind that this house is ridiculously overheated and smells like old people. Now, pack Papa and Grandma, their five children, their five children's spouses, and thirteen grandchilden, five of which are between the ages of 12 and 14, into these three rooms. Just for good measure, throw in my oldest cousin's two obnoxious children, both under the age of five. Take into account that Papa is a minister, and both of said cousin's children were born out of wedlock to different daddies. Also keep in mind that Papa is not afraid to share his opinions.

Now...Two of the aged 12-14 cousins are freshmen in high school. One is a genius and has ADD; we have to guard all technology in the house with our very lives, or else it would all be in pieces. The other would rather go to the mall and pick out shoes with me than hang out with his male cousin of the same age. He also believes he has musical talent, WHICH HE DOES NOT.

Finally, know that Papa and Grandma were missionaries in Nigeria for 30 years, so my father, uncles, and aunt were all raised in Africa. And there are LOTS of pictures. And every year, the slide projector makes an appearance...And we spend hours on end remembering the good old days in the Motherland.

Oh, and we can't forget family sing-along time..Aunt Judith plays the piano while the adults request their favorite hymns, classic hick songs (you know..."My Darlin' Clementine", "Sweetly Sings the Donkey", etc.), and old Nigerian hits.

Would anyone like to volunteer for provision of this year's "just-in-case" gun?

 
At 11:17 PM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Bonnie Heather- Drink the kool-aid.

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger me said...

not that there's anything wrong with jim beam & sprite. i have to say, i'm a fan of bourbon & ginger ale. does that make me wt? and i'm half white, so is it ok for me to say wt? so many questions...

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

bourbon and coke people. bourbon and coke.

or bourbon and ice.

either will do.

and now i want grits too damnit! :)

 
At 12:19 AM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Whiskey Chick- Maybe you should just use 'trash' for now and we'll start the paperwork to make you full-blown white trash. ;)

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger me said...

#3ga, i just read your blog title and i think i love you in a big, smoky, bourbony kind of way.

i prefer my bourbon on the rocks, but you need a backup plan for those parties that break out reserves one should never drink straight, unless you have croup. as homemade ginger ale includes both sprite and coke, i feel as though we can all walk away with a win. happy holidays.

 
At 12:56 AM, Blogger tinyhands said...

You don't know how happy that makes me, bringing people together. Female people. Together. Happy, me. GACK! TIGHT PANTS!

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

i'm loved in a big smokey way - i ADORE that about you! and yay - i wondered what it would take to make tex's pants tight ... FINALLY! :)

 
At 1:18 AM, Blogger christ*el #3tx said...

she is SO bourbon-y and smoky.

trust me on this one.

 

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