Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Henry family reunion

Maxine and I (and Mary!) traveled down to Antigua to visit with some of the Henry family. I owed my niece Melany a visit, as she just had a baby (my grand-niece!) and I wanted to meet her.

I could have predicted this, but I did not enjoy sharing a hotel room with my sister. She likes to watch the Cooking Channel into the wee hours of the night, whereas I love going to sleep really early and then waking up in a panic at 8:00 a.m., smoking cigarettes and drinking cup after cup of coffee. A couple of times, I ended up down at the Coconut Grove by myself in the morning, waiting for my traveling companions to join me, smoking away at the bar and being stung by mosquitoes.

Maxine rented a car, and terrorized Mary and I by driving into ditches and generally menacing the (terrible) roads there. With Mary in the back seat videotaping us (unbeknownst to Maxine) I tricked Maxine into launching into her favorite argument with me, that I was "shown a lot of attention" by my maternal grandmother when I was a baby, and so therefore needed a lot of attention when I was adopted by my aunt and uncle in Queens. Attention, according to Maxine, that they were unwilling to give me - just on the principle of the matter, from the sound of it. In Antigua, Maxine unveiled a new angle on the argument - that my aunt Grace, when I was living with her and my late uncle Max in St. Croix before embarking for Queens, used to dress me up and have me come out and "perform" for her guests, singing and dancing and reciting Bible verses. It sounds almost lewd, doesn't it? That's the power of Maxine - to take the innocent foibles of a child and make them sound damning and perverse. But she's my sister, and I love her, though I am putting extra money aside to care for her when she finally goes insane.

We drove into town and I bought an Antigua keychain, a very stylish Antigua t-shirt, and a (zipped! very rare!) Antigua tote. I like looking at Antigua t-shirts online, but the ones I like are always expensive, so I was glad to find a nice cheap one. I also wanted to buy some Antigua rum, but unfortunately, whenever I get my hands on a bottle of liquor, it is my custom to sit down and drink the whole bottle, then take my clothes off.

Here we are at a party Ann threw for us, with some assorted (and very fashionable!) Henrys. Because I left Antigua when I was two, some of these people I had never even met, really, so it was fun to catch up with everyone. Louise reminded me a lot of my mom, with her stories of being outraged, and Pat sort of reminded me of me. (He told a story about taking a poop and finding a frog in the toilet). I had a good time with my relatives. Because I was raised by crazy people, I keep expecting my relatives to dislike me, because I'm sure they've all heard crazy stories about me from my crazy immediate family. But life has taught me that everyone is crazy, and our families are too busy dealing with their own craziness to care too much about ours.

Afterwards, Maxine nearly killed us again in that car. When she was returning the car the next evening, she found the Antigua t-shirt and my "precious bag," as she put it, in the trunk, and returned them to me with an evil, knowing chortle, as though my forgetting them in the trunk was indicative of my whole persona. Harrumph!!!!!!!