Back from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and seven days of Raskin Family blood sports. Our annual vacay is a chance to reconnect while smooshing as many bodies as possible onto couches, pool rafts and and kitchen chairs.
We also compete for championship titles in everything from tennis to refrigerator-organizing.
This year I kicked butt in Lights Out Hide and Seek. Though I may be forever bent at the waist it was worth it. No one could find me in my perfect hidey-hole behind the oven.
My brother Jamie was (per usual) the Evening Activity Chairman (or as he chanted incessantly, E-A-C! E-A-C! ) Around 20 of us had epic nights of comedy, story-telling and disclosure — in which everyone from eight to eighty “voluntarily” participated.
During the stand-up comedy riffs, my nephew Bo talked about his recent vortex of bad financial luck that included losing his brand new retainers on the way home from the orthodontist. When he realized that he’d left them at the designated restaurant of Dental Celebration, he was informed by the waitress that she’d thrown them out. While going through the trash (ew–high rat potential) he did find one. But after rinsing it off and popping it in he discovered it belonged to someone else. (Ew again.)
Fright Night was particularly terrifying as the tales that we told had to be true. Hearing about one beloved relative who missed a midnight ride home from some college party at an isolated farm house only to find himself wandering across a crackling ice pond was almost as scary as learning that another had dated a Scientologist. Fright Night will also be remembered because my husband Keith stole outside and rapped on the window, causing the rest of us to jump up as if Leatherface himself had just appeared and set fire to the sofa with a chainsaw lighter.
Eight-year-old Daisy, my youngest nibling (I just wanted to use that word. Who knew there was a term for nieces and nephews combined?) riffed about Cousin Jedd trying to censor a conversation about “s-a-x” when she entered a room. She said, “First of all, I know about it. Second of all, that’s not how it’s spelled.”
(I kid you not.)
One day was spent with some of Jamie’s Democracy Summer interns, who traveled across the Bay Bridge for a picnic and gloves-off game of capture the flag. All of the little contests led up to a 10-hour tennis tournament that took almost as long to seed as it did to play. The trash talking was mind-blowing. Think of a family full of (short) Charles Barkleys.
As usual the vacation was full of gifts. Like when my dad taught Teetah an old union song.
And when Emmy and Jedd, the oldest cousins, giggled like nursery schoolers while their more low-key spouses “had” to stay home.
And when, despite the best efforts of my sister-in-law Heather (who is a phenom of a healthy cook) M&Ms crashed the organic produce party and someone (Yaya) ate all the filling from the Oreos and then put them back.
My sister-in-law Sarah was able to come for part of the trip. I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned it (and God forbid I actually scroll thru past posts) but as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury she is the highest ranked woman in agency history. I’m proud of that — and I’m proud because she’s good. She gave a speech at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week that was so powerful in its endorsement of the CFPB mission, born of the horrible banking disaster during the previous administration, that she got a standing ovation.
Next year there will not only be no no-shows (Zack, Hannah, Sarah, Jason and Greer!) but someone new will be attending.