So my great aunt really wasn’t a Romulan but for all you Star Trek fans, you’d be hard pressed to not admit with her very black dyed hair, blunt bangs and the bowl cut that she didn’t remind you of the Federation’s nemesis. So she was missing some pointy ears. Big deal. But she did have a way about her that her way was the ONLY way. I clearly remember the Thanksgiving arguments with my dad, uncle, and cousin (her son) and they were all usually on the same side! Unless it was football, then it just sounds like a bar joke. “A Hurricane, a Gator, and a Seminole walk into a bar….” (For you noncollege football fans, that would be the main three Florida teams.) Religion and politics? Same sides of the same coin yet they would all still find something to disagree upon.
My aunt wasn’t really all that eccentric, but when I saw this week’s topic was “Eccentric relatives”, I was nervous because I really don’t have any. I mean, maybe they are to the rest of the world, but to me, they’re just…normal. I suppose it’s possible that I have eccentric relatives on my husband’s side, but that’s a whole other can of worms I refuse to open. Plus, it’s far more aggravating than entertaining and I won’t go there. Repeat. Will NOT go there.
My great aunt was a serious bargain hunter which was passed onto her grandaughter (my favorite second cousin – not to be confused with my second favorite cousin because I really don’t know who that one would be). I’ve heard stories about their epic finds at garage sales and such. I had no idea you could talk the produce manager into discounting food at the local Winn Dixie, but apparently, my great aunt was a master of this. Sure, I expect some haggling at a yard sale, but Winn Dixie or Publix? I just can’t do it. (Probably because my grocery store trips are of the “Get in, get out, get everything on the list” variety. I don’t have time or SKILLS to argue about the prices of less than stellar produce. Like I could even identify it. Good=I buy it. Bad=I don’t.) I thought I was the deficient one until I learned that the bargain shopping gene apparently skipped over my great aunt’s daughter (my favorite second cousin’s aunt) as well. Whew! I started to think I was the family freak. Well, maybe I am, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one or even the original. It was that cousin who got me hooked on those cute MAC eyeshadows and damn good wine. She makes me feel welcome everytime I make a trip to the Bay Area in California. (And her husband ALMOST convinces me that I could become a baseball fan.)
My great aunt’s son though captured the prize for tackiest Christmas gifts. We’re talking one year each of my kids got a Walmart bag (that was the wrapping) full of candy. Lots of candy. Like Halloween levels of candy. Then there was the year we all got flannel shirts. So. Not. Me. But you know what, it was a classic M (cousin’s name) gift. I realize as I’m typing this, it’s a lot funnier to me than it is to the rest of you. M passed away within the past year, and it’s things like the non-wrapped Christmas presents, used tools, ginormous amounts of candy, and other tacky-yet-quintessential-M gifts that bring a smile to my face when I think about him. Eccentric might be too high-falutin’ to describe my relatives and this particular blog post, but it’s like M’s Christmas presents. I did the best with what I had laying around.