I just got back from a week-long trip to Buffalo, New York. This is where my family is from, and every year, my parents drive from Arizona, where they now live, to Buffalo, and stay for a month to visit with the relatives. I haven't been there since we moved away when I was very young. So this summer I decided to fly to meet them there for a week, and see just what all this family shit was about.
The first night I played cards with 20 of my mom's cousins. I haven't been in a room with that many people who were all related to me since my Christening. This time, I didn't cry, and had on pants. I drank a lot of beer, because that's what I do sometimes (lots of times). So when we all sat around the table to play Scat (google this awesome card game), I apparently began to drop the F-bomb, and light-heartedly refer to my elderly Polish Catholic relatives as bitches. As in, "Scat, BITCHES, I win!" I can be fairly impressive in public.
I stayed in a condo with my parents. They get it from a friend every year. It had many figurines.
The whispering can get really loud from these things when you're drunk and in a strange place at night. I tried to avoid all the tiny porcelain-faced staring, and not break anything.
There are a lot of funeral homes in Buffalo. Like freakishly too many. I saw more funeral homes and cemeteries than schools. This was my favorite:
Is this a question? Yes, you are gone.
The best part of the trip, the genuine surprise, was how great my whole big crazy Polish family is. I see now where I came from: a bunch of folks who sit in their screened-in garages, and drink beer and play cards and eat wonderful homemade food and shout above the chaos of an enormous family, and enjoy every minute of it, even when they have a gout flare-up. These are my people. I've always been a little leery of my Polish heritage; it comes with so many unflattering preconceived prejudices. But after this trip, I gladly embrace it. Pollocks are cool, BITCHES!
This is my mom (left), and Aunt Marge in front of the Polish Falcon. Be jealous.