Sundays With Family, Pt 21


She disliked me before she met me. In 1998, this woman (who thinks that the South won the American Civil War) loudly proclaimed that I was a “hick who would never learn – or amount to – anything.” In 2004, this same woman (who proudly states the Hillary Clinton should be president, but cannot identify the US Secretary of State in President Obama’s first term) refused to walk down the aisle at the beginning of her first born’s wedding. Things have never gone smoothly; things are unlikely to change anytime soon.

Still, when my mother-in-law visited last week, I tried to be accomodating. I let her watch the one and only television in the house every night while I quietly listened to the NBA finals on the radio. I made breakfast in the mornings and took her and the family out to dinner in the evenings. I even made certain that the music in the house was more ‘sedated’ than usual.

On Tuesday, I played Billie Holiday. On Wednesday, I played Ella Fitzgerald. On Thursday, Ol’ Blue Eyes got his turn. On Friday, it was time for Art Tatum’s.

“I feel like I am living in an episode of The Peanuts,” she said, peering at me through the corner of her eyes while glancing at me over her shoulder.

Vince Guaraldi only wishes he had the chops of Art Tatum,” I quickly replied, not certain it was even true.

“Who?” she asked.


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