While we were down for my dad's memorial, we were driving along a road that was lined with several fast-food places. 8M, who is 9 years old, seemed particularly interested in one of the establishments, and asked Jen and me, "Are they Catholic?"
"Are they Catholic?" he repeated, pointing to a particular franchise.
Um, why do you ask, son?
"Because it says, 'Pope Yes."
And at that point, Jen and I could only burst out laughing, because 'Popeye's' could easily be read as 'Pope Yes', if you're not too careful about where the breaks are. . .
And to make it even more, um, fun (and, you know, keeping it in the family). . .
Another time, we were driving along in a minivan with one of my brothers and his wife, when she pointed to a glass storefront we were driving past. On one side of the door, the word 'Roman' was painted on the plate-glass window, and 'Tic' was painted on the pane on the other side of the door.
"Now," my SIL mused, "what the heck do you suppose a 'Roman Tic' is?"
"I think," I replied, with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, "that it's one of those 'Catholic guilt' things; when a Catholic feels remorse for his sins, he develops a nervous twitch."
"Oh. . . really? I guess that could make sense. I don't know, though; why would they paint it on a storefront?"
Finally my brother, who is a singularly reticent man, chimed in. "Ummm," he began, with a bemused smirk on his face, "I think that's supposed to say 'Romantic'. . ."
The she punched him for pointing it out. . . 'Cuz, you know, she's always tryin' to get him to be more romantic, and all. . .
And, you know, the funny thing is, there's not even any genetic connection between 8M and my brother's wife. . .
Dad's memorial was good, and blessed, and rich. I got to give one of the eulogies, which I basically took from my recent Father's Day blog post. My youngest brother also gave a eulogy, and between the two of us, I think we gave a pretty good account of Dad's life. I was able to say some things about his early life that most of the others might not have known about, and my brother said some things about him from after I'd left home, that I was less intimately acquainted with. Jen and I and our kids sang a couple of songs ('For All the Saints' is a great funeral/memorial song); I was a little surprised by how many of the folks in attendance hadn't known how musical our family is, or even that I play the guitar. . .
The whole time we were there, it was just great family time, full of reminiscences and fond affection. I even got invited to one brother's house for the first time in the 15+ years he's lived there. . .
I've shared some about our wacky, yours-mine-and-ours family, and I was appreciating my family on a whole new level this time. I couldn't help thinking that it was, in lots of ways, a uniquely happy place for an adoptee (at least, this adoptee) to land - our family was formed out of folks coming from so many different, odd directions, that my adopted-ness was really no stranger than anyone else's path into the family. And, given what I've come to understand in the intervening decades, about the unique challenges of 'blended' families, I cherish all the moreso that our family is still together, and we still love each other. And it was very gratifying to experience that again this past week, in what could have been a particularly stressful time for us. . .