Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday Lunch with the Relatives

Not ever having been a married man I am perhaps more than most unfamiliar with the weight and gravity of relatives.  Certainly I've had some experience with familial relationships with my sister (my sole sibling), her husband and two children (my nieces). But quite honestly the extent of the exposure has been largely limited and primarily functional at best. I would be enlarging the content of those events to say that I have ever actively pursued family other than as a natural duty; which isn't to say that I discount the importance but rather that duty is the primary value.  Recalling the biblical admonition to "Honour thy parents" similarly captures the theme I am seeking. Certain things in life justifiably qualify for obligation. It almost lessens the significance to suggest that entertainment or other personal derivation is either necessary or to be expected. I confess that this seemingly harsh account entirely misses the deeper thrust of relatives. But it took an event such as lunch today with the relatives to heighten my erstwhile perception.

Well!  Now that I've got that off my chest!  Here's what I'm leading up to. Some time ago - within the last couple of weeks say - we heard from my partner's nephew that he and his two sons (aged 15 and 17 respectively) proposed to visit us for lunch en route to their ultimate destination with immediate family a couple of hours from Daytona Beach Shores. The proposal met with our instant approbation.  Over the past 22 years I have had minor association with my partner's nephew and in a word everything I knew about him endeared him to me.  I have met his mother, father and sisters.  From the little I have heard of his various undertakings and occasional misfortunes I was always impressed.  So knowing that we would have the benefit of his company (and that of his sons) was easily settled as the work of choice. I might add that the thrust of the meeting gathered steam when I subsequently reasoned that, as my partner's other half, I qualify as uncle to my partner's nephew and  great-uncle to his sons. My authenticity improved accordingly!

The wider picture of today's agenda was that it was the beginning of bike week in Daytona Beach.  Motorcyles.  Reportedly half a million of them.  The ubiquitous noise of motorcycles was inescapable.  The shriek of the seagulls combined with the shouts of people on the beach. While we thought that lunch at Crabby Joe's diner on Sunglow Pier (located next to the condominium building) was an appropriate venue, it also occurred to us that the notoriously large crowd of bikers may diminish our ambition.  Nonetheless we proceeded as planned. Serendipity prevailed.

Fortuitously after our inital very agreeable gossip at the apartment (and short tour of the club room and pool) we were able to secure a table for five in the central part of the diner.  We were also lucky to have had the very competent service of an expert waiter. A thread developed upon examination of the menu; namely, Key West derivatives - conch fritters and Key Lime pie.  Retailing anything approaching snails is never easy.  However the starter combinations of conch fritters, fried green tomatoes and mozzarella cheese sticks proved successful.  While waiting for the food to arrive the boys and I wandered onto the outer extremity of the pier where the local fishermen abound.  The elder boy is a photographer, something we both share as an artistic interest.

We listened to the roar of the Ocean as it frothed beneath the pier. The weather (which originally had been predicted to be stormy) proved to be pleasant and increasingly warm. I marvelled at the maturity and delightfulness of the two boys - intelligent, kind, sharing, cooperative and comic.  An unquestionable credit to their father in particular and to humanity in general!

After lunch we lingered for quite some time on the interior edge of the pier, just gossiping, admiring the views, watching the people on the beach.

We eventually wound our way back to the apartment where we shared a gander at some of the artwork.  Clearly my partner and I were set upon extolling the virtues of what little we know of the local geography.  My partner's nephew then headed with his boys for a more detailed examination of the immediate area; specifically the conglomeration of exotic motorcycles.

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