It’s not that my own family has bad genes. Okay one prominent member of it is a lowdown scumbag but I won’t name names. I consider myself lucky that both of my grandmothers are still alive, and the one I call my “modern” granny even says she’d consider running for disgraced Oregon Congressman Wu’s seat if she weren’t so damned old.
But, at 87, Nellie is a spring chicken compared to the sassy old hens I met at my father in-law’s 90th birthday bash. I’d never met any of the extended family before – even Gary hadn’t seen them in decades. It was hellishly hot and humid for a Wisconsin outdoor event, but for Joe they all showed up in wrinkled glory.
Check out the pose that comes out whenever Gary’s Aunt Emily sees a camera. She’s 92 and pushed herself around the tent-bedecked yard in a walker like she was skateboarding. The youngest aunt there was 88 – and she still knocked back her fair share of Miller Lite – all poured daintily into a plastic cup of course.
The birthday boy himself still looks like Errol Flynn, drives, loves his Kindle and I-Pad and shovels snow in Wisconsin’s other season – hellish winter. On top of those good genes, he married into a hardy Slovenian family. Angie, my 87-year-old mother-in-law, is still so fit she complained about having to stay in the hospital overnight after a heart stent. Her older sister Annie looks like she’ll easily match the family longevity record (the matriarch they all called “little Granny” lasted a century.) Annie whipped out photographs of people I don’t know and probably will never remember, yet when all the beer was gone and the party faded into night, she still remembered my name.
So I think I’ll go pop open a made-in-Milwaukee beer and sit out on a hot and humid porch. Seems to work for all my inherited relatives. Cheers!