He is still wearing the shoes he bought in 1989

We hosted my family on Monday night for a Memorial Day barbecue, and it was the first time all, or at least most of my family has been in my house at the same time. The old house was just too small to have everyone over, especially since we’re all pretty big people who tend to crush chairs with either our weight or our inability to walk more than a few inches without tripping over our own feet. We’re a clumsy bunch, the Hamiltons, and if you’re going to have us over for dinner you should just go ahead and get comfortable with the idea that one of us will end up head first through a window. Because it got in the way as we were trying to walk across the room.

I’m quite proud of the job we did as hosts, although we didn’t do much of anything other than providing the house. Everyone else brought all the food, and our backyard did a hell of job taking care of all ten kids. My father was the most impressed, I think, and I’m not sure if it’s because he thought that I was suddenly going to hop onto the kitchen table with a beheaded lamb clutched in my bloody right fist. And I never did. Because isn’t that what I do over here? I mean, first I vote for a Democrat, and the next thing you know I’m recycling grocery bags. It’s perfectly logical, then, to think that I am the type of person who would disrupt a perfectly civilized gathering by doing something totally inappropriate, like say, talking about oral sex over the potato salad.

I’ll have you know that I kept the inappropriate topics of conversation to a minimum, because I love my Dad, because he is old and color blind and has lost most of his hair. And he deserves my respect, although he knows very deep down inside that his sense of humor is my sense of humor, that HE MADE ME, and the way I talk, the way I walk, it’s all him. It’s all very much his father too, and I remember the last time I ever saw my grandfather, we were eating at a small buffet restaurant outside Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was standing with his back facing me, scooping a large spoonful of baked beans onto his plate, and I noticed that his legs started at his ears. Exactly like mine did.

My sister is shaped like my wonderfully curvy mother. I am shaped, straight up, straight down, exactly like a very grumpy 80-year-old man.

When we said goodbye to my father Monday night I noticed that he had a small medical tag hanging around his neck, and when I asked him why he was wearing one he said it was his father’s diabetes ID tag, that he wore it to remind him of his father. My step-mother said she was worried that someone was going to find my father unconscious somewhere, and because he was wearing that tag he was going to be treated for diabetes, which he doesn’t have. And we all agreed that he needed to put his real disease on that tag so that if he’s found lying on the ground somewhere, his rescuers will know that the real reason he fell over is because he’s exhausted from hoarding all that money.

My father’s medical tag should read: MISERLY. Treatment: poke him with a fork.