Monday, November 22, 2010

Technically Family

I haven't quite gotten used to being technically "married" yet, so when the full magnitude of marriage hit me on the way to the mountains for my first Officially Sanctioned In-Law-Event - I suddenly I looked at Tyler and blurted "do you realize we're family now."

She blanched.

Who knows what mental image being in my "family" conjures for her? I'm sure a snapshot of my Uncle Robert sitting in his recliner at 3AM clutching a gallon of ice cream, gray hair to his shoulders and only one shoe on; lighting a fresh Benson and Hedges off the butt of another flashed through her mind at least once.

"People keep calling me Mrs. Ewing and I feel panick-ey. I may be having an identity crisis" she coughed, blowing a handful of slobbery BBQ sunflower seeds into my passenger-side air conditioner vents.

"Lets not talk about it."

Then, after a brief pause and a slurp at her Diet Dr. Pepper:

"Have you added me to your checking account yet? I need $200."

We continued on through Dawsonville in a fog of life-merger technicalities and headed northeast for Blue Ridge.

On arrival my mother-in-law greeted me with "I heard you're on a diet. Can I get you a beer?"

God bless her. Good mothers-in-law don't just grow on trees.

The next day we awoke bright and early to the sound of cheerful toe-music and slamming refridgerators outside our bedroom door. As newlyweds - the lowest rung on the family ladder, we have been supplied with the only bedroom that opens directly into the kitchen. Its a sink-or-swim family indoctrination process that serves a dual purpose: 1). keeping me as fat as possible so I can't run away and 2). ensuring that we don't miss any conversation going on in the house - no matter what the time.

After a lovely breakfast we forayed into the wilds of North Georgia in search of a producing apple orchard that might allow us to sample their wares.

Wouldn't you know it? We found some.

Unfortunately, so did 98% of the toothless denizens of the county. Never let it be said that dentures and fresh fruit don't mix. Apparently we Georgians have developed a new technique for gumming an apple to death.

My father-in-law, Duane, and I agreed - we got lucky - the apple orchard was entirely wrapped in signs boldly announcing "Closed For U-Pick"; a bit of redneckery we understood to mean they didn't want us picking our own apples. I thought to pick a few anyway, just to prove that I'm an American and I'll pick an apple any-damn-where I please; but the scarecrow they had hanging by his neck in the front yard next to a cheerful sign in red proclaiming "APPLE THIEF" took the wind out of my sails.  There are few places left in the world where you can hang a threatening man-sized effigy off the ground with a noose around his neck and not end up in the paper. This is one of them.

Tyler handled this crushing bit of no-apple-picking news with her usual aplomb and immediately tugged me into the country store. The indoor scene was a brisk business in pre-picked apples ("non-u-pick" apparently is the technical name) and hot breaded apple desserts sold to relieved Dads from all over the state.  We dove into the crush of sharp-scented humanity for a peek at the non-u-picked wares. Somewhere towards the back of the building my lovely wife cheerfully flounced her ponytail at me and promptly disappeared into the crowd in the direction of the Granny Smiths; leaving me quite alone by the fresh-fried pork skins.

I lingered for a bit until several irritated stares suggested I was blocking ingress to the rock candy section, so I flung myself back into the river of rednecks and floated along, carried around the store by a wave of sticky-fingered rat-tail exhibitors.

I thought I could manfully power through until I found my wife, but I could only take so much. I clawed my way back through the crowded throng and burst into the parking lot just as my will to live shattered.

I collected myself, taking a deep breath and blinking in the bright sunshine for a moment, then I heard a cheerful "Yoooo hooo!! Ohhh whooo hoo hooo! Hallooooo!!" floating out over the crowd behind me. I turned to see Tyler standing half way back in the snaking checkout line energetically hoisting a large sack of apples over her head and grinning.

"Um! Heyylooo!!" she chortled. "Look whattt I founddddd!!! AAAPPPLLEEESS!!"

"Did you bring your wallet?"

No comments: