Right before I left for my trip I saw the move “August: Osage County. It was well reviewed, had plenty of movies stars in it, and, most importantly, there was nothing else on. This is one of those obviously written plays about a dysfunctional family (is there any other kind?). I say that it is written dialogue, because drunks and drug addled people seldom come up with anything coherent and cogent to say. It is hard to come up with a reply to an insane comment, I tend to think of replies, but I don’t use my out loud voice to say them.
The movie is about two harsh sisters, the wimpy husbands, and the adult children. Women hold families together, it was impossible to believe that these harridans could do that, these families would have disintegrated years before, so the movie is completely unrealistic. Then I went to visit my late husband’s relatives.
This is not to imply that they are anything like these characters, but I did look at the family interactions in a new light. In any small town, there are those who stay and those who leave, and there is a certain tension over the choices that are made, and subtle (or not so subtle) criticisms.
This past weekend was the 104th annual town festival. The town is about 700 people, it at least doubles with visitors, some people are from there and coming back, some are relatives and a few are actual tourists. The relative’s house is usually packed with distant cousins and others. Last year was the first time I had ever been there without M. This year some of the cousins was absent due to poor health: when we started coming to this we were the young people, now we’re not. 😉
There was an open family snit going on, I heard from all sides about the perfidy of one person who was not there. There was also a new, father-less great-grandchild and a certain amount of sibling rivalry between the grandchildren that I had never noticed before.
I have always looked forward to going to this place, maybe even more than my husband. You cross into New Mexico from Colorado over Raton Pass (elevation +7800 feet). When you come over the pass, you see the beautiful high plains of New Mexico, which I just love.
As I was driving along I was thinking about the fact that this might be the last time I ever go there. We remember the first time we do some things quite vividly, the anxiety of the first day of school, the thrill of the first kiss, the adventure of the first big trip. The last time we ever do a thing is largely unknown to us. I had a conversation with my late mother about this, she had realized after coming home from visiting my brother that she would probably never be able to travel again, but it was only probable at that point, not final. So perhaps it wasn’t the last time I will go there.