Breakfast with George and Aubrey

My nephew George is 50-something, and for 40 years he's been a stoner. When he's comes to the twice-monthly family breakfasts, he's gotten on my nerves, and when I've made an effort to spend 'quality time' with him, the quality was low.

George is less annoying and often seems intelligent in a texted conversation, so we texted for a couple of years. Then he sent me, "Soccer is for faggots," which reminded me he's an idiot.

I texted back, "Fuck off," and over the month and a half since then, I've cheerfully ignored all his texts, which have dwindled to nothing.

On Wednesday, my sister Katrina, who's George's mom, texted me that George wanted to meet me for breakfast on Saturday, which was one of the Saturdays when the family doesn't meet for a meal.

To Katrina I said, "Well, tell him to text me."

"He says you don't answer his texts," she said, which is true. "And you know George, he's angry about that."

"Tell him to text me anyway," I replied.

George is famous for his easily hurt feelings and long feuds with anyone he feels has slighted him, which sometimes has included his mother and sister, both my brothers, a few other nephews, and his pastor. He's always angry at somebody.

He texted me half an hour after my text-conversation with his mother, and started with, "Text you, huh? You didn't respond to my previous texts, so I have left you alone, but my mom says you wanted me to text you. Seems pointless but here goes."

My reply: "Remember, you lost me with your 'faggot' crack in January." No response, so I added, "Your mom said you want to do breakfast?"

He told me my silence had been rude, and I said "Yup," and told him his slur had been rude, to which he said nothing. He texted that he'd been angry at me for a month, since I stopped answering his texts, and I texted back, "Was it fun?"

Clearly, we're both childish men, but he replied, "No, man. I love you and I'd like to see you," and his message included no slurs, so we agreed to meet for breakfast, Saturday at noon.

My guess was that he wanted to yell at me about something, or tell me I'm forgiven, in person. Either would be fine with me.

Not ten minutes after I'd said OK to breakfast with George, there came separate texts from my mom, my sister, and my sister's buddy Adelle. All three said basically the same thing — happy to hear that an extra breakfast had been added, Saturday at noon, and they all said they'd be there.

I hadn't told anyone about breakfast with George, and briefly thought about asking Mom, Katrina, and Adelle not to come. But George had invited them, and he has as much right to invite people to breakfast as I do. 

So instead of a breakfast with George and his wife Aubrey, it would be a bigger breakfast with more of the family.

Honestly, I didn't know what to make of George's "I love you and I'd like to see you." That's an out-of-character thing for him to say, but we were kinda close 35 years ago, when he was a kid.

And what of his inviting everyone else to join us for breakfast? Hmmm. Did George want an audience for whatever he was going to say to me? Or would be an intervention, where they'd all corner me for Christ?

Everything in our family tree said something would go wrong at breakfast; it was just a question of what.

And then noon on Saturday was 45 minutes away, so I went to wait at the bus stop, and...

♦ ♦ ♦ 

If I'd made a spreadsheet of all the things that could happen at breakfast with George, what actually happened would not have been on the list. It's too improbable. 

What happened was, nothing went wrong. George and Aubrey came, and the three of us talked pleasantly for ten minutes before Mom and Katrina and Adelle came, and then all of us talked pleasantly through breakfast, and 45 minutes beyond.

Nobody said anything stupid, angry, or rude. No unpleasant topics were broached. Nothing was argued about. Nobody called me on my lack of Christianity.

The six of us had a low-volume, completely cordial breakfast together, and it ended with hugs and "I love you."

Near as I can guess, this is what 'family' is supposed to be like, and I hope we can do it again soon.


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