Volleyball and MSG

When contemplating a family reunion – even a small one – people rarely look like this:

. . . Unless they are screaming.

Sunday, my husband and I went to the small town of Westville, Oklahoma, to visit his family.  My husband, Randy, is the “one who got away”.  Every family has one of those.  In my family, it is my brother Daniel.  He lives 24 hours away in Brooklyn, NY.  My other brother Dennis tried to get away, but he only got as far as Tulsa, a mere two hours’ drive.  I got away to Florida for 9 years, decided that I couldn’t take the horrifying pollution, and moved back home to Arkansas.  Living in Florida was like being trapped in an unventilated porta-potty.  Lest any readers from Florida object, let me state that we lived in the center of a triangle formed by three paper mills.  The pollution killed fish and grew eye-catching cysts on many of the natives.

But to get back to my husband, Randy is the only son in a family of 8 who moved away into another state.  Not very far – only an hour away – but far enough.  When we come to visit, the family ‘kills the fatted calf’ and we converge at his mother’s house for a meal.  This visit included sandwiches for lunch and a grilled hamburgers for dinner.

This is my husband’s youngest brother, Karl:

He is the one with the barbeque tools

He is the one with the barbeque tools

Midday, somewhere after lunch and well before dinner, Karl asked my husband to accompany him back to his house to fetch the grill.  Karl lives just down the road.  They were gone for over two hours.  No one was surprised.  Sadly enough, neither was I.  Karl is like his father.  Karl’s father was a laid back country boy that could talk about fish, hunting, grass, walnuts, deer ticks – pretty much anything – for hours and hours with another country boy as long as they had a beer, iced tea, or a porch.

Meanwhile, everyone played volleyball.

Volleyball consisted of hitting the ball once, maybe twice, possibly hitting someone in the back of the head, before it was retrieved from the neighboring cow pasture . . . 

There was much cheering, laughter, fun,  and no one kept score.  It would have been impossible.   Occasionally, a child would stray into the melee, unconcerned . . .

. . . and play would stop, until the child wandered back out in search of something more interesting . . .

Then, after much calling, texting, and attempts at bribery, Karl finally returned home with his grill and my husband, and began dinner.  He made the best hamburgers I’d had in a long time.  Fire-seared, thick, and well-seasoned.  Well-seasoned with Karl’s mysterious seasoning . . . something in a sprinkle jar that made my eyes swell shut sometime in the wee hours of the morning.  I must have slept on my side all night since I woke up Monday with one side of my head bigger than the other.  I looked like a sagging water balloon.  But at least I was able to keep my eyes open for the visit.

Thank you, Margaret, everybody, for such a good time.   That picture at the beginning of this post? 

Those were smiles.

To leave a comment, just click on the numbered blue circle below.  Thanks and have fun!

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8 Responses to Volleyball and MSG

  1. Mallory says:

    Now we now just how healthy your tonsils are ;) (wouldn’t it be funny if you have had your tonsils removed?)

    Sounds like a fun time! And I loved the part about Randy and his brother being gone for 2 hours. Made me laugh.

  2. Mallory says:

    I meant we “know”…I obviously forgot the ‘k’. I’m going to blame it on this tiny keyboard I use…

  3. Thea Phipps says:

    Yes, and you can see all my dental work as well. I really need to quit the coffee…

  4. Lexi says:

    Oh now i want a hamburger! WHy does you blog always make me crave things?

    Hope you guys had fun looked like you did! And yes what lovley tonsils you have!

  5. maddy says:

    AAHHHHH that last commen about the hamburger was me not lexi!!

  6. JB says:

    You always make things funny. I love your outlook. I lol at the description of playing volleyball,especially the back of the head thing.

    In my family half of us moved away, but not to Florida thank goodness.

  7. Kippy says:

    Dear Thea,

  8. Kippy says:

    Dear Thea, Did you get my pictures? Did you like my stories? Did you not like my stories? I’m being sensitive right now. I really love your stories and wish that I could have gone to eat hamburgers, too. I think I’ll go see if my Daddy will take me down to McDonalds. Mammy says she won’t let me send any more pictures till she knows that you got the last ones. She’s not trying to be mean, she’s just tired of all the rain and snow and is afraid that we won’t get to play outside this year like y’all get to down there in Arkansas. Yeah, it’s depressing….Mammy said that the last time that she saw Karl he was my size! She’s also feeling old….and crabby and I’m the only one that can be around her,cause i make her feel better. Your blog makes her feel better too, because she says they are funny stuff about everybodies families. She goes to your website everyday to read it. We don’t have family reunions, but we do get to go camping and kayaking and if we can beat Bud to the kayak first we might be the one chosen to be strapped down under the bungee cords on the very front of the kayak. Then everyone that sees my Mammy and Daddy paddling on the lake call out and tell them that they really admire their hood ornament. I guess we are too far away and too little for them to tell that we are one of the kids, but that’s OK. One time a beaver came up behind us in the water and started to slam his tail really hard on the surface. My Mammy and Daddy thought that it was a whale breeching cause it was so loud and they didn’t expect it. The beaver played like that and they chased him all over the lake, until my Mammy and Daddy couldn’t see anymore because the sun had gone down. That was fun, but no one got hit in the back of the head like at your family reunion. Mammy did drop her homemade apple pie on the ground. It was OK, because the lid held it in it’s tupperware and we just ate it upside down. Mammy also slamed her hand in the car door when she got out to go into the store and buy ice. She had to get my Daddy to open the door for her so that she could get her hand out, it was stuck so bad. It swelled up really gigantic and my Daddy drove to our camping place. but it recovered really fast. Maybe it was the cavity cookies that helped. I guess that is like being hit in the head by a volleyball?

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