My mother's brother and his wife were married. So last night there was a gathering of the clan. We were up at The Ashworth in Hampton Beach (Little Charlestown!). Ann & Frank's six children pulled together a really excellent little party. The best part was they managed to keep it a secret. My aunt & uncle were genuinely surprised. When people remarked on it, as proof my uncle pointed out his very casual attire. They thought they were grabbing a bite to eat with their friends Betty & Eddie (say it out loud, it's fun) and my uncle was wearing shorts. When Eddie, who was wearing slacks and loafers suggested my uncle change....my uncle responded "Why don't you change!" LOL, we are a belligerent lot. Oh well!
It was a long drive up and a long drive back. We had the chance to get a room at the Ashworth, but we passed it up. Both Jen & I have to work today, anyway.
The room was packed, we came in to greetings and hugs. All I knew was I wanted something to drink, so while my cousin Martine is telling me a story I drag her up to the bar. I ask the bartender what kind of vodka he has as I put my hands in my pockets. Nothing! There is nothing in the pockets of my skirt. I realize that I have left my license, my ATM card and my cash on my desk at work. Fortunately the table closest to the bar is my immediate family, so cash is given to me. Good thing it was a family party.
My cousin Dan got up to speak. He's not the oldest, but you know every family has one. The guy who gives the speech. You laugh and you're touched and you know he genuinely loves his parents.
So, on the way up, my Uncle Walter set a trap for us..........but Jen & I were too smart. We were discussing my grandfather's sister Kay. Walter made a remark and we laughed. It wasn't kind, but it was true. Then he slipped in a little zing about someone else. After a moment I turned to Jennifer "That was a trap Jennifer. Good thing we hadn't already had a drink or two. We might have been tempted to repeat that remark........." Jennifer agreed. We might have been tempted to tell our mother and get Walter in trouble. But that would have backfired on us. The other person in the car encouraged us to "tell" on Walter. "No," said Jennifer "That will only backfire on us if we tattle. If we tattle to our mother, we end up in trouble and Walter laughs at us and gets off scot free!" Jennifer and I didn't fall into the trap................However, Jennifer's friend, SB, is not as wise (or as beautiful) as Jen & I. He has come into the possession of certain information. He intends to relay this information so as to display me, Princess Crabby, in the worst possible light. He is gleefully planning/plotting when to drop this bomb. At first, I was stunned by this shocking breach of confidentiality. I pleaded for him not to tell. My pleas fell on deaf ears. I appealed to his honor, but he is not from Charlestown.....
And then.........I thought about it. He was proposing to rat me out.
The shoe was on the other foot! I invited him to go right ahead. I told him I couldn't wait. I was glad I would have a ringside seat. I told him that I hoped he told her when we were sitting comfortably in her living room........me with a nice cold Fresca.......Jen with a nice cold Sam Adams.......SB would perhaps be enjoying a Guinness. "Go ahead and rat, Stev-a-rino! I can't wait! Tattle on me to Jen and I will watch you tumble right off that pedestal she has you on!" He laughed and said he didn't think so. He said his friend Jen would understand that he was just supplying information. Information Jen wanted.
I am not worried. When we were little, the one thing my mother absolutely could not handle was tattling. Consequently, the rule in our house was, no matter what the crime, if someone ratted on you, my mother could not.....would not....punish you. And, even better, the finker would be reprimanded. If you were bad, sometimes, the best thing that could happen to you was to be ratted on.
Years ago, one of us skipped school with her friends. One of the other girls was caught by her mother and punished. Oh well, you roll the dice, you pay the price. But that wasn't enough for the other girl's mother. Mrs. X marched up Bunker and told the nuns.....and named NAMES. The nuns called my mother and explained the circumstance, they had to suspend the offender. Incensed does not begin to describe my mother's reaction. Not only was the offender not punished, she was told to make sure she relayed to the other girl (and by extension her mother) that there was no punishment because Mrs. X had ratted. Mrs. X was an exception, most of Charlestown was like us. The suspension should have kept the offender from receiving a certain school related award. But somehow the nuns never got around to telling Father Mahoney, lol. Years later Father Mahoney told my father that he knew the whole story (it's a small parish!). My father was surprised and asked about the award. Father laughed and said "If the Sisters had told me, I would have been forced to do something........" That, boys & girls, is what you call plausible deniability!
So..........go ahead Steve.........it's your funeral. Up to now, you & your beer buddy, Jen have enjoyed the happiest little mutual admiration society known to man. you have never disappointed her. She holds you in the highest regard. No matter what my complaint, all criticisms of her friend, SB, are swept aside impatiently.
Once you fall from grace, there's no going back. You've been warned. Proceed at your own peril.