Friday, September 16, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday! (Vol. 12)

First, a big, loud shout-out to everyone who sent their prayers and condolences to me and my family on the passing of my brother, Bob. Thank you so much, everyone, for your kindness and consideration!
So okay, three years of high-school debate and theater plus a semester college speech course don't a homilist make. But I found out last weekend that I can be pretty good at extemporaneous speaking with enough lead time. My nephew Aidan, though, promises to be better. But then, he's being trained as an actor and dancer!
It was a packed weekend. First, the rosary and visitation on Friday. Then the Mass of the Resurrection on Saturday (and enough sandwiches to feed three times the people who showed up). Then Sunday, remembering 9/11, seeing some friends and relatives off and feasting once again. Finally, Monday, more people leaving and a final feast to celebrate Ted's 52nd birthday. Diet? What diet?
My brother-in-law, Mike, is a wonderful guy.
Over the last few months, the lawn has suffered from lackadaisical attention, with weeds overtaking the front plant beds and grasses growing high where once a vegetable garden thrived. Having nothing else to do on Sunday, Mike took it upon himself to rectify as much as he could, later getting help from my uncle Paul. (I joined in at the very end after my buddy Larry left for home ... at least long enough to trim some overgrowth and hoist a few bags of mulch.) There's still quite a bit to do, especially in the vegetable garden area, but the front looks much nicer than it did Saturday. And all because Mike hates inactivity.

Family get-togethers are great media for reminding oneself of how certain family expressions come into being.

One night, many years ago when Ted was stationed at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas, we were gathered at his house for Christmas. As often happened, we dragged out Trivial Pursuit®, one of many games at which we Laynes take no prisoners and show no mercy. My mother had gone caffeine-free some time before; while we played, Ted made a pot of caffeine-laden java. Later, when he'd gotten a question that earned him a pie slice and put him in the lead, Mom, wired with the coffee, threatened to remove something important from his body with a rusty spoon.

I looked at Ted and put on my best Oxbridge accent: "I suggest a new strategy, Artoo: Let the Wookiee win."

Since my mother possesses a formidable temper, the tag stuck. And now, every once in a while, we can forestall her explosions and even get her to laugh if one of us looks at the other and says, "Let the Wookiee win!" Otherwise, we mentally grab our oh-God handles and duck for cover.

Is there a way you can lay claim to a dead loved one's possession and not feel ghoulish about it? I now have Bob's flat-screen TV and Blu-Ray player in my room, and I still feel like the charwoman in A Christmas Carol who made off with Future Scrooge's bedcurtains even before his body grew cold. Granted, leaving the room just the way it was when we took him to Denton Regional just three weeks ago, right down to the half-full container of popcorn, would have been just as creepy, but still ....

I've applied to GEICO for a job a couple of times in the past. Not even so much as a thank-you-but-we're-looking-at-other-applications e-mail ... not a bloody sausage. 

Well, now that I'm no longer needed as an in-home caregiver, I'm needed as a breadwinner. Tuesday I tried applying with GEICO again. Wednesday, I got an e-mail inviting me to test and interview for the job! Well, I got to HR on time despite a crammed parking lot that forced me to come in from the back forty, passed the test and had a great interview. So maybe Little Bro is helping me out from his corner of heaven ... thanks, Bob!

*     *     *

So that's all the news that's fit to print. Next week I hope to have a contribution for the Bright Maidens, and be back to my normal blogging patterns. Have a great weekend, and God bless!