I asked Primo if Doris was close to his stepdaughters. Let's call them Laura and Kate - I cannot remember the names I gave them earlier in the story. So Laura and Kate it is.
No, he told me. "She tried, when they were teenagers, but told me they were too listless and so she stopped trying to have a relationship with them."
"But isn't that what teenagers are like sometimes? And isn't that the same complaint she makes about Michael and Maria?" I asked.
"Yes," he admitted.
"So even though she was the adult and she should have known that kids can be like that, she decided to write them off."
"Yes," he said.
I don't get this attitude that you just throw people out of your family. Sure, I don't go out of my way to see Licking Pat, but I do keep in touch with my other cousins and with my aunts and uncles.
My sister got married last month to a man with three children, one of them an adult, one a teenager, and one a four year old. The adult didn't come to the wedding - I do not know the story on that but I have to get it - wouldn't you be dying to know? - but the teenager and the little boy did. My mom was thrilled. She kept introducing them to everyone - "Have you met my grandchildren?" she asked. She is so happy to have those kids in our family. They are nice kids. Laura and Kate were nice kids. Who wouldn't be glad to have them?
At the big family lunch at my aunt Mary's house the day after the wedding, I finally met my uncle Hugh's ex wife, CC. Hugh and CC have been divorced for over 30 years. They have two daughters - my step-cousins, if you want to be pedantic - together. CC and her husband are friends with my aunt and uncle. They invited them to the big family party. Why not? They are family.
Why wouldn't you want to enlarge your family with nice people? If they are crummy people, I can understand why you might not want them around, but my relatives have all married nice people with nice kids.
Doris' current complaint (you may noticed I have not mentioned Sly - I have no expectations that Sly might ever try to develop a relationship with anyone but a bottle) is that Michael and Maria are not doing it right. Maria visited them over Christmas break, but Michael is too busy working. He works at some fast food place and has been putting in the hours.
Sly and Doris are sure he's working so much so he can buy pot.
Maybe. Or maybe he wants to have money for school. Or maybe he likes a young woman and wants to take her out somewhere nice.
Or maybe it's for pot. I don't care. I don't care if someone smokes pot. I know too many people who are successful in their careers who smoke pot to think it destroys lives. Although I do not think it is wise to be caught with marijuana, which has already happened to Michael.
But I digress. Doris, she of the Perpetually Aggrieved, has found one more thing to complain about that is someone else's fault - nothing to do with her. She could have had two lovely young women as granddaughters and then have also had their husbands and their three adorable children as great-grandchildren.
But she would rather complain.