>Scene 1:

This afternoon, my mom showed Sister, Sister’s Husband, Husband, and me some of the holiday loot she received from other teachers at the school at which she works.
Sister: Oh, what did you get them?
Mom: I went to Crate and Barrel and bought those memo clips that you can put on your desk to display pictures or whatever. But then I thought more about it and returned them. Instead, I decided to use the money as a donation to the scholarship fund for the kids of a teacher who died suddenly this summer.
Me: That’s a nice idea. Did you do it with the names of the people the gifts were for?
Mom: No. I did it in my own name.

Scene 2:

The family – Husband, Bubbe, Granny, Dad, Mom, Sister, Sister’s Husband, and me – gather around the chipped dining room table to eat cake and celebrate my birthday. Conversation turned to other people, including someone we know who came home one day and found his fiancé dead on the floor.

Bubbe: She’s lucky she died before she found out what she was marrying.
Everyone else: (horrified laughter)
Granny: What?!?! That is a terrible thing to say! You don’t say things like that!
Bubbe (scowling and muttering to Sister’s Husband as if Granny is not sitting right there): She only defends him because she is also that way. A weirdo!

Scene 3:

Family is still gathered around the table.

Bubbe: We used to sing this song [referring to “Yankee Doodle”], “Stuck his finger in the ass and called it macaroni”
Dad: What? Stuck his finger in the pony?
Everyone else: (hysterical laughter)
Bubbe (annoyed): No! In his ass.

Other conversation during the course of the day involved the need for doody-scented candles instead of other scents that cover up the smell of feces after a big dump and the unique phallic shape of a back massager that my mom received as a gift from another teacher. (Pictures to follow with more details.)

Click your heels together and repeat after me, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home….”