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Pig party

On Saturday my family had a pig roast at my brother's place to celebrate three milestone birthdays: my mom's 80th (which was last year), my brother's 60th, and my younger nephew's 21st. Parties are such a microcosm of life, aren't they? Especially big ones. So many memories are conjured, so many old relationships come into play, and new ones formed.

I drove down to my brother's house on Friday and ate pizza and drank beer and hung out while my brother prepared the pig for roasting and my nephews built a beer pong table. I finally got a chance to talk to my elder nephew's girlfriend, which was good. She seems like a good kid. Elder nephew wanted to show me the movie Walk Hard, so the three of us started watching that, although I was the only one who made it all the way through. Silly movie, but pretty funny in parts.

At 3am my brother woke me and the nephews up to help him put the pig on the fire, then everybody but my brother went back to bed. I got up again at 7am and went out to sit with him and drink my coffee. A couple of hours later the nephews and I helped my sister-in-law pick up tables and chairs. By then my parents and sister had arrived from Portland, so I sat around talking with them, getting caught up on my sister's high school reunion in Hawai'i and my parents' latest health adventures. We tapped the first keg (a small one) around noon, and the first party guests started arriving around 2pm. It built up rapidly after that, and we pulled the pig off the fire at 4pm.

A couple of my brother's old college buddies showed up, including one I hadn't seen in twenty years. This brought up memories of old pig roasts when that crew of fraternity brothers would get up at oh-dark-thirty and immediately tap the keg. We were all in our 20s back then. Two of my aunts were there, and two cousins. Only one uncle, however, because the other one was combining a field on his farm. Various of my brother's friends introduced themselves to me, and I got a picture of their local worlds of softball teams and community activities. That old college buddy I hadn't seen in twenty years told me about how his family has been going down to Nicaragua in recent years with their church group to build houses. My cousin's husband, who runs a lumber company, told me about how the Oso mudslide had put a crimp in business.

It got late, and then it was only the younger folks -- friends of my nephews. Why was I still up? There was still beer to drink, that's why! I met elder nephew's old boss at the cidery, and we talked about the explosion in cider production (their company is growing like gangbusters), where they get their apples, and the true nature of Angry Orchards. Eventually it was down to me, my niece, and elder nephew's girlfriend before I finally called it quits. There had been some emotional turbulence a bit before that. I was reminded again that I was elder nephew's age when I moved to Seattle without a clue to my name. Lots of figuring out still to do, and to quote Michael Franti, "The more I see, the less I know." Meanwhile younger nephew is taking marine biology classes out on the coast and volunteering as a diver at the Newport Aquarium (as is elder nephew). Both nephews are moving to new places.

Then there's my niece's new boyfriend, who seems to be getting bound more tightly to the family. He's really bonding with my niece's young daughter, and vice versa. That's great to see. I feel that I'm getting to know him better too, and I think we all probably saw new sides of each other as the party went through its phases. Learning to live together, to quote Joe Cocker.

I was a tad hung over on Sunday. I headed out to the coast to get some variety in my roadtrip, and that made for a long journey home. I stopped in Astoria to pick up some smoked salmon at Josephson's and to have lunch at Fort George Brewery. It was all a blur. Big parties are a microcosm of life, and they always leave me feeling very emotional and overwhelmed. Everybody's stories, everybody's health problems, everybody's plans, worries, hopes, frustrations, lessons. Life's great churning. Somewhere late in the party the young folks were telling me I seemed a lot younger than 53. I don't feel younger, I'll tell you that, even if I do still stay up too late drinking too much beer (and a couple of shots of ouzo from a bottle provided by yours truly) when the opportunity presents itself. I guess there are some lessons I still haven't learned.

Well, all in all it was a great party. We now return to our regularly scheduled macrocosm, somewhat worse for wear and tear.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
holyoutlaw
Jul. 15th, 2014 04:05 am (UTC)
Very sweet. I always like your family posts.
randy_byers
Jul. 15th, 2014 02:51 pm (UTC)
You are too kind. And I think I've almost recovered from the party!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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