Family Gathering anxiety

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“We are so gonna be late for this thing…go put on some pants!” Mixie tells the kids.

The Mixologist’s family is considering a reunion soon. No solid plans have been made, but he is already full of great fear and trepidation. A dyed-in-the-wool introvert like Mixie does not enjoy big social events and even if only the siblings and their families gather, we’re talking 28 attendees. Mixie knows there will be assorted friends and extended family members, pushing the list up to 40 or 50 people.

The plans keep changing–“We’re having the reunion in the spring…probably at a campground somewhere!” “The reunion is canceled! We’ll do Fourth of July instead!” “The reunion is back on! Location to be announced!” “Daisy is doing all the cooking!” “Daisy has to work each and every day forever; someone else needs to cook.” “We’re ordering deli platters! Nobody has to cook!” “We’re handing out Hungry Man TV dinners!”

This is what our planning is always like.

The actual gathering will be “delightfully awkward” as Mixie’s best friend likes to describe all of the Mixologist’s family gatherings. This is a polite way of describing the complete and total systemic dysfunction that is Mixie’s family. There will be graceless, uneasy conversations; passing of judgement on anyone who dares leave the room; drunkenness that leads to emotional outbursts and insults; and a whole slew of things that will leave everyone stung and wounded for the next 12 months.

And now, The Family Reunion: A Drama starring Dean Martin as Mixie, the Mixologist.

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“Get in that car or I will strangle you. Your aunties are waiting for us. Old people hate waiting for anything–especially food!”
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“Look! Here comes Mixie and his brood of hooligans!”
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“We’re both in costume…he’s a cowboy and I’m dressed as a grownup.”
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“C’mere, you big lug!” Mixie, in an uncharacteristic display of affection, hugs his brother-in-law (played by Frank Sinatra). “Let go of me, or I will crush this cigarette out in  your ear!” B-I-L says.
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“Let’s ride Uncle Mixie until he collapses!”
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“Let’s drown Uncle Mixie!”
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“Why do we always have to go to the store?! Why don’t they make a damn list and check things off it?!” B-I-L complains about having to run out to get a few last-minute items.
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“Don’t just dump it in! We’re supposed to add the pasta slowly,” Mixie tells his father (played by John Wayne). “I thought we were having a traditional Fourth of July cookout! Why are we making spaghetti?!” the Old Man asks. “Don’t ask me,” Mixie says, “I’m just doing what they tell me.”
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Mixie helps himself to a little sample.
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“My goodness! Virgil’s Root Beer is the best!”
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“Dibs on the grownups’ table!” Mixie and his brothers try to assert their adulthood.
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“This guy hasn’t met the family, has he?! You might want to keep it that way,” Mixie says as he congratulates his niece on her engagement.
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“And I said this meal is over!” Mixie’s brother-in-law breaks down after we run out of green olives–and the martinis that go with them.
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“The winner gets the last piece of apple pie. We know it won’t be Mixie…he failed geometry three times in a row!”
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“I will take that pie a la mode!”
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“Look, Mixie, you’re the only who’s not completely schnockered,” the brothers-in-law say, “we need you to make a run down to the package store…don’t tell the wives.”
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“Time for the traditional Family Pyramid!”
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“You promise you won’t leave me here?!” Mixie’s son pleads. “This place smells like old people and moth balls.” “I promise I’ll bust us both outta here right after breakfast in the morning, Sport.”
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“Hey, Old Man, you said we were leaving this joint right after the scrambled eggs!” “We’re going. We’re going. I just need one more cup of coffee.”

 

 

 

 

 

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