Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Arizona Thanksgiving at the End of the World

Carol's best friend in Arizona, also named Carol, likes to have an annual Thanksgiving soiree with more friends and relations than Rabbit in Winnie the Pooh. We hadn't been there in a while, so we piled in the car with dog in tow to hit the Valley of the Sun. Best line of the whole trip was in Gallup, where we were having a falsetto-singing contest and Abby said, "Dad, don't quit your day job - oops, never mind."

We stopped in Walnut Canyon, a national monument outside Flagstaff, to see the cliff dwellings:

The wonderful thing about the Phoenix gang is you get all the hilarity of a happily dysfunctional family without the muss and fuss of truly dangerous or disturbed relatives wrecking the week. Carol's son Decker is a strapping six-foot-something lineman for Salt River Project, but he's the intellectual type who reads The Economist, keeps up with the IBEW, and goes through novels voraciously. Since the list can include anything from the Oprah book club, he can cart around a Jodi Picoult novel while teaching a class on basic transformer theory, and not bat an eye. He's living at mom's following a divorce, with the three kids on tradeoff. We didn't realize the ex was barred from the house, she came in to pick up the sick two-year-old, and was charming and delightful, but Decker pointed out later that photos appeared to be missing from the walls. Typical. His new girlfriend, with almost the identical name as the former wife, is a charming and funny Chicago native with her own two-year-old son, who wants to play endless games of pirate and monster.

Carol's daughter Corey and her husband were living in the house for a while, while their own home was being finished, and they still drift in for visits. Her husband is a hilarious process engineer at Intel who's into beatnik culture and Trent Reznor, bearing a goatee and a Maynard G. Krebs grin. Corey is artistically inclined and often stoned, but she's the token Republican in the gang, a source of endless ribbing. She seems to admire the natural dominance of the ruling class, but gets into convoluted defenses of why she feels that way. It reminds of a new song Dar Williams released, "I Press the Buzzer," about stimulus-response experiments and the nature of fascism, except that Corey has her S-R wires crossed.

Carol's brother David was usually a permanent fixture in the house, as a perennial bachelor with custody of a teenage daughter, except that now David has finally married at some grizzled age no one can keep track of. Will meet the new wife soon, everyone loves her.

Carol has warned Decker and David and myself that Uncle Eddy is coming down from Prescott and politics are not to be discussed, as Eddy is adamant about a secret UN-al Qaeda conspiracy led by Obama. I said I'll just leave the new editorial out from The Economist, positing that the Republicans now officially devalue intelligence, so that no one but idiots are left in the party. We'll have fun. Happy Thanksgiving!


Ruth said...

Reminds me of Cousin Eddy in "Christmas Vacation."

Walnut Canyon is gorgeous! I've never been there.

You've painted a wonderful "family" portrait if the Phoenix gang, I can envision each one. Have a blast. I bet you go to straight to sleep when you hit the pillow at night.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Carol, Abby and the gang.

CraigM said...

Abby is pretty funny. :)

That Economist editorial nails it. The worrisome thing is that the Republicans can still draw a consistent 50% of the vote.

Loring Wirbel said...

Well, let's be fair, with a population made up 99.95 percent of idiots, they need some representation! Happy Thanksgiving to all Green Barn Mowrys and San Jose Matsumotos.

Sharon said...

Sounds (and looks) wonderful. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

You know, if you can't talk politics and are looking for more neutral topics maybe you could do a rendition of your hip hop single Froggy Goes A Courtin and post that! :)

Loring Wirbel said...

Word up, Sharon.

Barry said...

I was just stopping by to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, but I see from your family description that some fine amusement, if not genuine Happiness, seems assured.

Loring Wirbel said...

Thank you Barry, sorry if I'm late in wishing you the same for Canadian Thanksgiving - and we have yet to reach the punch lines for a funny week!

ofifteen said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

'designing your life'