Every day is a thrill here in the old home parsonage. I never cease to be amazed at how much love there is to go around.
On Thursday, my adult niece, who lives about an hour away, showed up unexpectedly and spent the afternoon and evening with us. Pastor Mom started cooking chicken fried steaks (vegan “chicken” nuggets for me), corn on the cob and mashed potatoes (she made a special batch for me with soy milk and no butter).
As if that weren’t enough, my 17 year old niece and her baby came by. My niece showed me a YouTube video that she was required to watch for her psychology class, described a novel she read that was set in North Korea, and asked me to help her with her algebra homework. When we sat down to work on quadratic equations, Mr. Meyer’s ninth grade class at Pomona Junior High came back to me out of the depths of misty memory. My niece rattled off the quadratic formula from memory. I smiled, recalling a time long ago when I could do the same. “It sounds complicated but it’s really not,” I offered, and we exchanged knowing grins.
She started talking about the Holocaust and our conversation took us through Schindler’s List, the Holocaust Museum in L.A., Freedom Writers and how much she enjoyed Roma Ligocka’s memoir The Girl in the Red Coat. I was smiling again, recalling how I found that book for her at a library sale in Fresno several years ago. She says she wants to visit the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and I hope she gets there someday. She has a bigger heart than mine, that’s for sure. I don’t think I could handle it.
I am simultaneously impressed by my niece’s range of knowledge and surprised at her ignorance of other facts that I would consider basic. My wife urges patience, reminding me that not all of my interests coincide with those of my niece. But I felt a warm glow when I found myself expounding about the differences between communism and capitalism. Who would have thought that I’d ever have occasion to quote Das Kapital? Gosh, I knew there was a reason I went to college.
On Friday, I rode down to the Roseville Galleria with my wife and Pastor Mom; we enjoyed a wonderful lunch (we had a 20% off coupon) and then spent the better part of an hour wandering through Whole Foods (their fresh sourdough bread is beyond amazing). In the evening, we mosied on over to my sister-in-law’s house for dinner and had a ball playing with my little grandniece and her stuffed monkey, Curious George. She (the baby, not George) is just barely able to take two steps without falling on her bottom or reverting to fast-crawling across the room, but I bet that in a few weeks more she’ll be standing erect and we’ll be tearing down the hallway and out into the street after her.
My niece, who has a beautiful, melodious singing voice, returned from catching the Jackass flick with her brother and tore into “The Cup Song,” which is accompanied by a cup-slapping, hand-clapping game that I said sounded like some kind of Zulu African ritual. This remark proved with some authority that I am a fine specimen of the species Dorkus americanus. Upon further scientific research (thanks, Wikipedia), I learned that this little routine was performed by Anna Kendrick in the movie Pitch Perfect, and then went viral courtesy of Anna Burden and an infamous YouTube video. Uncle Guacamole may know a lot about history and geography, but he apparently has a way to go when it comes to popular culture.
Yeah, I know, I’m still trying to figure out that Twitter thing.
Don’t hassle me, man.
You don’t want me to start singing “you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone,” now do ya?
Trust me, you don’t (clap clap).