I cannot believe it has been a year since Grandma died. The stone setting today was the predictably odd juxtaposition of emotions---a terrible reason for the family to get together, but the fact that everyone was in was really nice and would have meant a lot to Grandma. This past year, my family has been hit with the realization that a part of our lives is over like a ton of bricks, and to say it has been bittersweet would be an understatement. (I graduated College, Sarah graduated High School, the dog died, grandma died, and dad is turning 60. We might as well have hung a big "You're Old!" banner for my parents.) It is very hard at this sort of time not to "play it forward" and start thinking morbid thoughts, which I tried to distract myself from by watching football. Although an ineffective strategy, it did consume time. It's hard not to be wistful for the past during moments such as watching Ava throw snowballs at Uncle Mark. Lately, the only time the extended family has been getting together is when someone dies---hopefully that will change. There is a nice continuity in the fact that Jon and Meg will be moving into Grandma and Grandpa's house. Weird as it is on one level that, for the first time in 50 years, the house will not be Max and Betty's, it is far better for it to stay "in the family" than be unceremoniously sold to John and Jane Doe, or, as my ever regressive father suggested, burnt down. Moreover, the notion that Ava, Charlotte and Lilah will grow up playing in the same house that their Grandfather grew up in is actually oddly comforting. Before I get too maudlin and start singing "Cat's Cradle" or something, onto other subjects.
On a completely unrelated note, how bad is Bryant Gumbel at calling a football game? The only thing worse than watching my Browns get demolished by Pittsburgh was listening to Gumbel catatonically mumble his way through the rout. He reminded me of Monty, Bob Uecker's companion in Major League. "Fly Ball. Caught" You could practically hear Chris Collinsworth biting his lip every time Gumbel made such sagacious remarks as "Cowher looks content to run the clock down to the three minute warning" (not a joke), or when, in a voice amazingly proficient at sucking all excitement out of a play, he would pronounce. "Pass. Endzone. Touchdown." In fact, I'm not entirely sure Mr. Gumbel had seen a football game before last Thursday. At least he didn't wax eloquent on the Turducken, or advocate fast actin' tinactin. On second thought, I wish he had.