Family Resemblance

I saw a bumper sticker today that read: “I haven’t been the same since that house fell on my sister.”

This is, of course, a reference to the wicked witches of Oz, but I confess to be just the tiniest bit worried that my students (some of whom have never seen or heard of Oz) will assume it points to me, their English Professor.

After all, I teach Gothic literature… I am clearly from somewhere else… I live with cats… I ride a bicycle with a basket in the front and cackle insanely at small dogs named Toto…You can see the potential for making such mistakes. But really, the family resemblance ends there.

My real family is much more fun, much more wonderful–And probably just as strange as the wicked of Ozdom. We have been described as “different” by the kind, “left of center” by the  metaphorically creative and “just plain weird” by most everyone else. I am quite proud of that fact. Let’s face it, my fiction (which dips happily into my actual life for material) would be pretty dull without them.

Unfortunately for me, I really have been whisked–Dorothy like–into far flung environs. Here in the Great River Region, I am at least a half-day’s drive from all of them. This necessitates frequent travels to Ohio and Kentucky (and sometimes to Florida or West Virginia). It is worth it for those honey-gold drops of refreshing familiarity, however, and so I hop on my 4-cylinder Toyota broomstick and zip on down.

Around July 4th, I visited with Mark’s brother Matt, his wife Jess and their three lovely children (plus Mark’s mom and dad). Then this past weekend, I went to Wilmore, KY to visit my brother Joe –that’s him, pointing–his wife Kari, my parents and my little nephew Nicholas. I took a number of snaps on both occasions, and while compiling them for the album, I realized that there is another sort of “family resemblance.”

Let me explain:

And further:

And finally,

Did you catch the key trait we possess? That’s right: we are all good looking! Except for Bugly, my parents cat (short for butt-ugly–see album).

Not bad for a family of eccentrics, no? I am truly quite blessed, I think, all falling houses aside.

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