Perhaps it was talking about the memories of my mother's mother on Mother's Day. Perhaps it was the amount of art hanging on the walls. Perhaps it was the wine consumption. Probably a little bit of each.
As I mentioned in my last post, my family is "normal", gets along very well with each other, and loves any excuse to get together. We did the golf thing (I kicked butt, but sprained a finger somehow....), then went back to my parent's, rather than one of the sister's. We BBQd, and drank beer and/or wine. Afterwards, the nieces and nephew retreated to the den, the menfolk retreated to the TV room (NBA), and left my sisters (2 & 3), my mother and me in the living room. We told jokes. We told stories. We drank a little more. This is where things might have gotten a little strange. Well, strange is a relative term (so to speak). In this family, it was totally normal, I think. Other families might be horrified with our behavior. I know my grandmother anticipated this sort of thing well in advance of her death.
I made some sort of offhand remark about a piece of artwork hanging on the wall. Not a spectacular piece of art, but I've always sort of liked it while growing up. Then I mentioned another still life watercolor of a vase of flowers hanging next to it. S2 missed that reference and thought I was referring to the real vase of flowers under the paintings. She innocently said that it would look good somewhere in her house. I'm not sure how it happened, but all of a sudden, I'm finding myself calling dibs on the two pieces of art. As in, "when my parents die, I get dibs on those paintings". Immediately, S2 & S3 are pointing and staking claims and joking about the crap stuff (and there's plenty of that, too!) and bargaining and bartering and trading. My mother, who has been drinking wine since leaving the golf course, gets up and leaves the room. We don't even notice. We're as bad as old ladies rummaging through the Salvation Army Thrift Store. There's bargains to be had, dammit!
Mom comes back into the room with a manila folder full of yellow legal pad paper. It's "THE LIST". Unbeknownst to us, she had already tagged all the artwork! And not surprisingly, pretty much along the lines that had developed during the rush we had just experienced. It was like Christmas! "Os, you get this, this and this..." "S2 & S3, you'll get that, that and that..." Yes, Sister 1 got stuff too, but she's in Portland, so she didn't have much input.
So we spent much of the rest of the evening making "suggestions" regarding some furniture, artwork she hadn't gotten to yet, and getting the latest update on my parents' living wills (which is why she'd made the list in the first place, per their attorney's orders). There was some minor complaint from S2 & S3 when Mom mentioned that my list was longer than anyone else's, but I reminded them all that I was the oldest and knew my parents the longest, so I should get more. That seemed to placate them. For now.
Other families might view the whole scene as a terrible way to end Mother's Day. For us, it was a time to reminisce. Each item that we went through was the catalyst for a childhood memory, or stories that had been tucked away for a long time. So we laughed and remembered. Maybe it was the wine. All I know is that in the end--I score some great artwork! But with my luck, my parents will live to be 100.....