We fly to Minneapolis and rent a car because even though I expect parents to pick up their children, even adult children, at the airport, I do not expect aunts and uncles or cousins to do so, especially when the visit is not a duty visit to keep the parents happy but something I am doing because I want to.
I also do not expect a parent to drive 150 miles to pick up a child from the airport. Fifty miles, yes. One hundred fifty, nope. That is not in the rules.
My aunt Aggie takes Primo to the guest room to drop off our bags. Mine go in the guest room, his go in the computer room, where there is a sofa bed.
Primo: There is a GUN RACK! In the GUEST ROOM!
Me: Of course there is a gun rack. My uncle Denny hunts. My other uncles hunt. My cousins hunt. This is Wisconsin. People hunt here.
Primo: In the GUEST ROOM!
Primo: And there are crucifixes everywhere.
Me: Uh huh.
This is nothing unusual for me – to see signs of religion in a home. My family prays before meals. We went to church and Sunday school when I was a kid. My mom keeps the Palm Sunday fronds. My grandma Sylvia had a little holy water thingy by the front door. This is normal for me.
Primo has never seen this sort of thing before. I am pretty sure Sly and Doris would be rolling their eyes.
Primo and my uncle discuss politics while they grill the steak for supper.
My uncle never went to college. He took over the family business, a small car dealership and a garage, which employs about a dozen people, after my grandfather died, and has started other businesses since. He goes to church every week, if not more often. My aunt and uncle’s pattern is the gym at 5:30 a.m., early Mass, then breakfast and on to whatever the day has, including work, chopping wood, working in their half-acre garden, and/or golf. Not drinking.
They are in their late 70s, btw.
Primo: Your uncle disagrees with me, but he’s not nasty or mean. He really wants to understand why I think the way I do.
Me: You mean he’s polite to you? He talks to you? You mean he doesn’t imply that the only reason you could hold your beliefs is because you are stupid? Who knew you could approach things that way?
Primo: I know, I know.
Me: And yet, your parents are the tolerant ones.
Primo: Your aunt and uncle are really nice. They’re wrong about everything, but they’re nice.
Me: What’s more important? That they have the proper beliefs or that they be decent human beings?
Primo: According to my dad, it’s more important to be right.
Me: That explains a lot.