Okay, so another story from the reunion:
I had one cousin who showed up to the family registration drunk, and wearing an oversized white-tee. When I say 'oversized white-tee' I mean the damn thing looked like a dress with jeans underneath. I hated the skirpants look (skirt over pants) when it was popular for girls a few years ago, I really can't understand why it has now moved on to men. Anyway, he showed up with a beer and some Hennesy in hand, stinking, and loud. He had to be at least my age. He was politely tolerated but just barely. After watching the family photo DVD we were invited back up to the hospitality suit for some chips and dip. Not having finished the plate of cheese and cantaloupe that I stole from a different family reunion (guilt, I threw it out) I was more exicted about onion dip than usual.
When I got up to the room, cousin white-tee was there, busily scooping up grocery store 7-layer dip. I debated waiting until he was done, since he was still doing his best to look intimidating, but hunger won out and it's hard to be really intimidating when you're wearing a cotton dress over your jeans.
Me: Can you tell if there is meat in that?
Me: Yeah there is?
WT: What? No, not in here. My friend's girlfriend makes this and she puts meat in it. I like it when she makes it. It's really good. But there isn't any in this one.
Me: Okay, thanks
WT: Why you askin?
Me: I'm a vegetarian so...
WT: *snorts* Well you know, they couldn't be worrying about that back in them underground railroad days!
I swear that is an actual quote and I will never forget it. He looked me dead in the eye when he said it too. Like I might start crying at the challenge.
I stared back at him and said, "Right. Well I guess it's a good thing we aren't there then. You know, what with the meat they had in the bean dip and the slavery and all."
We left it there.
I considered telling Cousin White-tee that back in the days of the underground railroad slaves used to sing songs and sew quilts that contained the directions to freedom so that they could pass the information along without being caught. Who knows, maybe they also passed along recipes for bean dip that way? I think the words of the old underground railroad song sum it up best:
Folloooooooow the drinking gourd, folloooooow the drinking gourd. For the Old Man is awaitin' for to carry you to bean dip, follow the drinking gourd. Well the river bends between two hills, the ground beef will show you the way, and it's left foot, peg foot, sour cream on, follow the drinking gourd.
But it wouldn't be fair to end the story here. I must say that the next morning, cousin white-tee showed up in the hotel lobby. This time he was considerably more friendly and was wearing his family reunion t-shirt (giant peach on the tummy) tucked into tan dockers with a brown leather belt. He behaved himself for the rest of the reunion and was actually quite pleasant and well spoken. I met his mother the next day. She is a high school teacher, one of many in the family. When I asked her who her children were she introduced me to her 18 year old daughter and then said "My son is the one who had too much to drink yesterday and showed out. Did you meet him?" I admitted that I had, but I left out the part about the bean dip.
Better to save that sort of thing for the internet.