(Big family dinners: they’re complicated!)
What keep me going are laughs like the ones I get from my friend Ann Aikens, who described what she called ‘the wine-fueled row over nuclear power” she got into with her family at Thanksgiving last year. “My aunt nearly dumped a casserole of boiling German Beans on me, she writes. ”Coincidence? Hard to say.’ Or the rundown she gave of the Christmas when her pals brought a pig too big for the oven. “If you too do this, make sure you have a clean hacksaw blade handy because the alternatives are really hard to explain to the neighbors.”
It was years before Ann and I met face to face though we both wrote for the The Vermont Standard in Woodstock VT, one of the last of the old-time papers, section after section, page after page of opinion and local news, columns on country living and who’s up to what. Sometimes I think I’m in Heaven itself when I go see them there in Woodstock and the satellite towns.
She calls herself Upper Valley Girl in her column and for a spell she actually moved to LA to LA and became a real valley girl. That year she sent a Christmas card showing herself in Lolita-style glasses and leopard skin swimwear sitting out by a pool.
Because she feels almost like a baby sister to me, I was happy when she came back east.
The last time I saw her was in July of 2010 at the memorial service for Kevin Forrest, longtime editor of the Standard, musician and father, beer lover and all-around great guy who liked nothing more than to stay up late with his million friend laughin’ and pickin’ until dawn.
BUT ! She did write a column for the Herald of Randolph just last Thursday. It starts like this:
One of the great things about going to Disney World is that you think for weeks, “I’m goin’ to Disney World!” You could be in gridlock traffic with a full bladder. Getting fired. Your leg could be falling off. But things really aren’t so bad; you’re goin’ to Disney World.
I don’t know yet what the rest of it says since that’s as much as the piece the paper will let you see at first, unless you’re a subscriber. But the rest of it should be up tomorrow and I can get my fix of her frank funny talk then. Or who knows, maybe she’ll see this post and send me an even fresher laugh, hot off the griddle.