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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dysfunction Junction

Remember that song from School House Rock? "Conjunction, junction, what's your function?" I loved those songs and actually remembered them a time or two when pondering on a grammar question.

Well, as the title suggests, I've been visiting Dysfunction Junction - otherwise known as my family in Illinois.

Without going into too much detail, but giving you enough information to understand why I made the trip, here goes. My uncle (mom's brother) died of cancer. Not a sudden death, a relieved death after a year of suffering. My grandmother (uncle's mother), who I am very close with is left to deal with all the details as my uncle was not married and left everything to my grandma, even though he had a son. The son is ill-equipped to be inheriting any money, let's just leave it at that.

This tragedy has required my grandma to be in Houston, Texas, where my uncle lived, for the last 9 months.

Now, my grandmother and I are close. If it weren't for my grandmother, I would not know diddly about the things that are so important to my life, like, gardening, canning, cooking, sewing and life in general. Without going into futher detail, my mother was ill-equipped at being a mother and therefore gave up and left to live her life. Only to return, 7 years later, with the thought we could all just act like nothing ever happened.

Needless to say, to my grandma, getting her garden in is a very important part of her spring. She tolerates winter only because she knows soon she will be bent over in the garden picking green beans. The other part of spring that is a long-standing tradition to my grandma and her mother and her mother, is hunting Morel mushrooms. I have a very clear memory of my great-great grandmother holding my hand and walking the timber looking for mushrooms when I was only about 4 years old.

Last week, I got a call from my grandma indicating she was very stressed out about her gardens. Her flower and vegetable garden were in terrible shape from her absence and "they're saying this is a great year for Morels!" Taking the hint, since she would never come right out and ask for help, I put the two youngest in the car and in a split second decision, jumped in and took off to Illinois.

We arrived with 3 flats of plants from my greenhouse and all the garden tools. In a matter of 3 days, we had all the flower beds, which are beyond huge, and the vegetable garden, weeded, tilled, planted and mulched. We even had time to go mushrooming 2 different afternoons and got a good 'mess' of mushrooms, as she calls it.

We also got to see my brother, my uncle and my grandmother on my dad's side. Great to see all of them. Oh, yeah, we also saw my mother and younger sister and her new baby.

Now, we all have dysfunction, I know. But where my mom and sister are concerned? Jerry Springer has nothing on us. Never would we believe that our mother abandoning my brother and I as a good thing, but our sister is living proof that having my mother stick around and raise you, is far worse. That's all I've got to say about that (said in my best Forest Gump voice).

So a week without a post, but for a good cause. It's the one thing I hate about being so far up North - too many miles between me and my grandma.

My grandma, my girls and my uncle in the timber looking for Morels.

My awesome brother, Aaron and my grandma.


Ang said...

Mushroom huntin' yay! I haven't done that since probably junior high!

I'm certain your grandma appreciates all the garden help!

We use to spend every summer, all summer long, with my grandparents in OH. I lived with them again through most of college; growing up I was always closer to grandma than my mom. I still talk and visit her more, lol. She passed on a lot to us as well- the love of reading, cooking, cross stitch and can't forget snappin' and canning bushels and bushels of beans! :-D

Madeline said...

Thank goodness for grandmothers when the mom doesn't mother. My mother had the same situation withe her mom and grandmother.

Have you read Omnivore's Dilemma? The mushroom chapter was do cool!

Mrs. G. said...

I am always so glad to know that I am not the only one who has crazy in the family. Your grandma sounds like a kick ass gal. Love your music today.

Kat said...

Well. I for one am also very glad that your grandma raised you. You turned out pretty good. =)

Erikka said...

glad to hear you're still out there, alive and well, well being a relative term :) sounds like you and your grandma have a special relationship and i think it is so awesome that you have your priorities in order (even while running your own farm) to run off and be with her! that takes enormous strength and care, so...you go girl.

Minnesota Matron said...

Hang in there. Do you ever pat yourself on the back for staying so sane? I do. I grew up in a family full of that same Sesame Street theme song. My mother didn't leave,my father did. He said she was crazy and he couldn't cope with her mental instability. Yes. . .so leave your three small children with her, hmmm?

Empathy, bright light of strength. . .

Amy said...

Count me as another woman who has a mom and younger sister living a Jerry Springer lifestyle. Lots of blogging material, but I'm not going there.