September 30th, 2015

krazy koati

Good times never seemed so good

Back to the New England Parks Tour. Saturday was the day we had no parks planned to visit. They would surely have been packed beyond reason anyway, as Saturdays tend to be the busiest days and August the busiest month. And the day was too generally nice for weather to reduce the crowds.

The day was for my brother's and his wife's wedding celebration/observance/gettogether/something-or-other. It's hard to pin quite down. It was in a VFW Hall that was surprisingly hard to get to, even for being a place in Boston (well, Cambridge). The hall cleverly didn't put any recognizable insignias on or near the street. If you stopped at the building and went down the hill into its parking lot then you'd find out you were supposed to go there. We ran a few minutes late but that didn't matter as it wasn't organized all that precisely. And a fair number of people were later.

The person that surprised me, but shouldn't have, but did anyway was a friend of my brother's being there. He'd originally really been my friend, at a camp where we were put in charge of little kids despite being teenagers. Over the years though he kind of transferred from my orbit to my brother's, without stopping being friends really. I hadn't seen him in a few years and was shocked by how much more he looked like a Thomas Nast cartoon character. He used to be the thin one of our pair. He's still exuberantly outgoing and quite loud. He was the one called on to make announcements to the disorganized mob of family and friends and relatives of friends.

So I had the joy of catching up with relatives. It was the first time I'd seen my elder niece in a year and a half, and my younger niece in about as long. It was startling how much they've grown. I can even mostly understand what the elder niece says, without having to hear it a second time or parse things word-by-word.

Among the little silly things of the day: they wanted the whole immediate family and spouses to come up for a photo lineup. The transferred friend was taking the picture. We started out lined up in front of the window, that is, photographing into the sun. The transferred friend couldn't figure out how to work the camera (mine) anyway. We finally got turned around, to bunny_hugger's vast relief. The incident does underscore how these days everybody takes a hundred thousand pictures a year, and nobody knows how to take any of them.

There wasn't much of a specific plan for the day, which had its good side in that people could just drift into whatever groups felt comfortable. It also meant there wasn't any clear point for bringing out the cake (vegan, and yet surprisingly good; it's hard to make cake batter cohere properly without eggs) or for having any kind of celebratory toast, though they tried. We were told specifically not to bring presents, and we obeyed the direction. Some relatives did anyway and I have suspicions about who. My brother was very clear, repeatedly, before and after that nothing was expected.

As the afternoon wore on talk started gathering about a family afterparty. This might have been conflated with ideas of giving my sister a (surprise) baby shower. We didn't have the time for that, though. We were told the family gathering was for a couple of hours in the afternoon and that was that, and we took them at their word. So we gave them our regrets and that was that. There hasn't been a baby shower either, not so far as we've heard, and none we've heard planned about. bunny_hugger worried about me losing time with my family. But I'm not. Some more time probably would have been nice, yes, but we talk on the Internet about as much as we feel comfortable anyway, and this was what we had planned on. My understanding is my sister and her husband didn't make it to whatever was going on afterwards either.

bunny_hugger was, I confess, a bit alone in unfamiliar territory here. Well, she hasn't had much time with any of my relatives except my parents, and not very much with them. Fortunately she was able to spend much of it with my father, who was still wild about the idea of our buying, fixing, and flipping or renting homes. He did instill a new round of belated remorse for our not getting the house across the street. It had tumbled far outside our price range, but my father insisted that he would've gone up to what it actually sold for, and said that the Bank of Mom and Dad would have been available if we'd needed it. This may be but we didn't really need more reason to regret not plunging into the house.

I regret admitting that my mother asked the unspeakable question: when would bunny_hugger's classes start. Too soon; that's the only honest answer.

And then after a sudden flurry of hugging and photograph-taking everybody was disassembling party decorations and rolling tables out of the way. We joined in the cleaning-up, and said goodbyes, and then, well, we headed back up into New Hampshire.

Trivia: Fred Allen recalled becoming a runner (a boy retrieving patron's books from the stacks) at the Boston Public Library in the summer of 1908. Records first list him as a part-time employee on the 3rd of September. Source: Fred Allen: His Life And Wit, Robert Taylor. (Taylor points out Allen might have substituted for other boys without appearing on the record. I'm not sure there really is a contradiction here, though; the week of September 3rd could leave easily a month left of summer.)

Currently Reading: Roads To Infinity: The Mathematics Of Truth And Proof, John Stillwell.