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Monday, May 23, 2005

We Are Family

My mom has been reading Home Fires since February. It took a while to explain to her what a blog is and why I have one. Since she now has a clue, she reads it every night and even passes the link along to family and friends through e-mail.

She doesn't even mind me making fun of her. In fact, I've been pretty lucky that everyone I've made fun of here has graciously taken this blog and my words in stride. I did get an e-mail from a guy not too long ago. He said although he enjoys reading my blog, he was glad he isn't family and won't be made fun of.

Silly, silly man, I say.

PK met my father on the job. They worked side-by-side and were great friends even outside of the workplace. PK is more like family than some of the people born into the Lanes. Why should he be exempt? He shouldn't.

This man shared his vacations with our family. Every year he invited my parents and their brood of children to come out to the lake for boating, tubing, fishing, swimming, sun worshipping, basketball and then some. Mom was smart. She always stayed behind, letting Dad take us kids. I think it may have been the only quiet time she ever got while we were growing up.

PK fed us the best and healthiest of foods, made sure we were plenty hydrated in the hot summer sun and tried like hell to get me to put sunscreen on. I think that's the only time I didn't follow one of his suggestions. And even though many times, I was too stubborn to apply sunscreen, PK always had a bottle of aloe with my name written all over it when I came back charred.

We visited PK so many times during his vacations that my sister Angie and I thought he lived in that cute little cottage on the lake. We eventually figured it out and when we did, we liked PK even more. I mean, how cool is that for a guy to welcome a shit load of extra people to his summer retreat?

After a few years of visits, once in a while my dad and PK would leave us kids alone so they could go golfing. We were older then, knew the rules, knew how to swim and fend for ourselves. Dad would give us a lecture in the car on the way.

"Listen, I want you to be on your best behavior while we are golfing. When we get back, that cottage better not be a mess. Make sure you rinse your feet before you walk in off of the beach. Don't eat all of his food. If you use a lawn chair or anything, you better put it away when you are done. Don't be fighting and making a scene outside, because you know the other people will tell PK when we get back."

It was the same lecture year-after-year, which he followed up with getting a couple dozen doughnuts for us. I don't know if that was my dad's way of buying our best behavior but sometimes it did feel like a bribe. My pockets lined with sugar, I was on my best behavior.

Until they left.

Angie and I couldn't behave ourselves to save our souls. We really did try but we weren't very good at that behaving thing. Sometimes we threw words, other times punches and occassionally we would try drowning each other. Good times! When Dad and PK returned, somehow, everything we messed was in its proper place. There were no visible signs of fighting, drowning, crying, cussing or any mess of any kind. We would slip our little halos on top of our horns just as they were pulling into the driveway. And just like in The Cat In The Hat, we would lie and say not much of anything went on while they were away. Unfortunately we did not have a seven-foot cat and two things to clean up all the shit we messed up. And because I was the youngest, I was always outranked and had to speed clean by myself.

Well I guess the truth is, I don't have any dirt on the guy, just on us Lane kids. I don't even have anything to make fun of him about. Not one tiny thing! PK has always been a really nice person. Damn him!