Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On quarreling whilst camping

     We went tent camping this week and upon arrival we could not agree on the placement of the tent.  We argued back and forth for a while, finally compromising so that neither party got what they wanted, but we both could live with what we had.  We had barely finished when we could hear a similar argument a few sites over, and it dawned on me that it was a sound I had heard frequently before, hence this blog.

A common camper placement
     We had family camping trips every other year for about a 15 year period.  We would choose a geographic location, find a suitable campground near it and start to fill up a corner of it with Yargers and kin.  This blog isn't about those trips, but rather about the shared experiences of most of the participants each year, and that was the fight each couple had while setting up camp.  It would play out the same, each time.  A tired, haggard couple pile out of the car, and upon reaching their assigned site, start to back their campers in, or drag their tents out.  Most times the first stake hadn't been pounded before a hint of the argument that was about to ensue would emerge.  "Honey", one of the couple would say " Are you sure it wouldn't be better over there?"  And the race was on.  Each one would state their case emphatically about the positioning of a

Typical Yarger set up

small hovel on a small site, citing door positioning, electric and water access, proximity to other campers (and family), the morning sun, the rocks that poked from the earth, and anything else that they could add that would bolster their claim that theirs was the better choice.  An half and hour to an hour later the decision would have been made, and pouting or not, both would have to live with it.  What amazed me was that almost every couple would go through it.  In my immediate family it became so common that I finally insisted that I would place the camper and Char could set up the inside as she saw fit.  It saved a lot of arguments, and I realize it denied my wife options, but after all she was getting to camp with my family for a whole week, so I felt that she owed me.

     The funny thing is, I suspect that these quarrels had little to do with the actual set up of the site and more to do with the pent up frustrations of the trip it took to get there.  Typically we'd leave for a camping trip at 2 or 3 am.  If you are questioning why, you obviously don't have children but seasoned parents know that the more miles you can get under your belt while your kids are sleeping, the better.  Think of a few hundred miles less of "She's touching me", or "Are we there yet", or "What's that smell?".  It's worth it, but it may lead to cranky adults.  The next frustration is probably choosing the best way to get to the destination and the number of stops along the way.  Rarely do couples have the same opinion on this matter, and if a mistake does happen they are quick to blame each other.  Map reading and mis-reading must account for a fair amount of this initial frustration, and it's not limited to the car you are in, especially if you caravan.  I remember on one trip, I had to stop a brother in law from going any further in the wrong direction after he made a bad turn, and although he
finally agreed, he almost ran over my feet before I could leave his window side with my map.  Yikes!  On that trip, I had more reason to be upset at that point, as the same brother in law had overslept and kept the group packed into their cars and sitting at my house for over 45 minutes.  That's probably another source of frustration right there, no, not the timeliness, the lack of space from over-packing for these trips.  We would use every available space in whatever vehicle we had when we packed for camping and even when we got minivans, it was a tight ride to our destination each time.  Inevitably, when you get there, the first things you need to set up are always buried beneath a mountain of other camping paraphernalia, it's Murphy's Law.  Getting back to map reading, I'll lay odds that the invention of GPS devices saved a lot of marriages, that is, if the couples are smart enough to listen to them.  At the very least, they give the travelers something else to blame. 

     There are countless other small frustrations on these trips, especially if they are long ones.  Where to eat and what to eat?  Drive through or stay in the car to save time?  Which radio station or CD to listen to? (A few
Note the homemade shade and rain shelter in the background
hours of country music is enough to set me off, but my wife probably feels the same about my Irish folk music).  Bad weather driving can be added to this list.  I've done my fair share of driving through pouring rainstorms towing pop-up campers behind me and only being able to see a few feet in front of the tow car.  For  a while we actually towed a small pop up with our Toyota Camry.  It worked really well.  On one particular trip, we got that car stuck on a soft shoulder and believe it or not, we were able to pull the car out with some baling twine that we had in the back.  My daughter, Molly, had gotten car sick on that trip, yet another source of traveling frustration. I can read in the car, do my work on a laptop in a car, sleep in a car, but my wife can do none of these.  It makes for long trips.  I think I've run the gambit of possible causes of the first fights whilst setting up camp, and I'll offer just one more bit to bolster my case that it's not about the set up of the site, and that is, I don't recall any specific arguments that relate to setting up and I don't remember
any camping trip that I had a bad time at.  The family pictures that are included in this blog, came from a 2003 trip to Ravenna Ohio that we had 4 straight days of rain, and a micro-burst tornado that touched down within a few miles of us, but would you ever know if by the faces of those camping?  I thought not.  That's the nature of these early setting up quarrels, they may be volatile and explosive, but they rarely last long.

     I want to thank everyone who shared last week's blog, who sent in ideas for future blogs and who commented on former or current ones.  I know, thanks to my cousin Gayle, that I have at least one new fan.  I'm still looking for guest bloggers though, so step up, come up with an idea and present it. It's really not that hard, look at this one. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I could use a hand this week.....

My wife, Char and I
     This blog reached a milestone last week with it's 50,000 hit. In general, the readership has been growing, but lately it's had a drop off.  As I've mentioned before, it is really difficult to tell which internet hits are people actually coming to read the blog regularly and the ones who find it on accident by searching the internet for a particular phrase, but my best guess puts about 1/3 of the 500-600 hits each week, as people who visit regularly, and for that, this humble blogger thanks you.  This week, however, I am asking for some assistance in revitalizing the blog.  I'd like each of you to do one of three things for me......

1.  Share a favorite blog to your Facebook, e-mail or Twitter. - I've listed some of my hand picked ones categorized by topic.  I'd like to add some new folks to the family, so consider introducing your friends to this blog.

2.  Comment on your favorite blog.  - A writer likes to have validation for their work, and knowing that people are out there and enjoying your efforts is a great boost, and can lead to better blog content. You can comment on this one, or pick one from the list to read and comment on.

3.  Consider writing a guest blog or suggest topics for future blogs.  - You can send your idea or requests to blog to my e-mail (wyarger@rochester.rr.com).  If you want to write a guest blog, you know the format that I use, so you can write the words and let me attach the pictures or you can provide the whole thing. Of course I'll credit the author, so think about a topic that interests you and give it a shot.

                     Thanks for your cooperation, below you will find links to my favorite blogs.

Straight up Humorous Blogs -  These are the most fun to write, but they do take time to get the imagery and verbiage to portray the event or circumstance in the exact and most humorous way.  The biggest blog that I have ever written is (Giving Thanks for the ample derriere) If you have an affinity for a rounded posterior, feel free to share this one.  It's been copied and posted more than any other blog I've written.  A close cousin, by content is (My wife has dimples on her rear end.), which has a surprise twist at the end.   (My Girlfriend Stretch), talks about my exercise partner and gives a great description of her.  Read about our attempts to teach my stubborn daughter to cook (Night of the Skittle Pancakes).  This blog is the 2nd most read and I think contains some of the most descriptive language I have ever used. I go off the deep end with (The internet is controlled by cats), but you may enjoy the trip there too.  I talk more specifically about my cat in (There's a cat in my house).  If you aren't or animal lover, you might enjoy (The things buried in my yard), where I talk about a lot of pets, but they are all dead.  If you want to get away from this type of blog and get some
guaranteed belly laughing, it's hard to beat my family stories, so try (The infamous red jeans story) or (Avoiding the curfew) or even better yet, (3 Brothers, a shopping cart and a very steep hill), you should like them all.  Are you married?  Then you might enjoy (She hides my stuff and wants credit for doing it).  Have kids?  Then you are sure to like (My best magic trick ever.).  Finally, if you are aging, you might connect with (The franchise is in Jeopardy) or (Oh, my aching eyes.).  That's a lot of content to choose from, but we are just getting started.....

Tear-Jerkers - I'm not generally known as an overly sensitive person, but each of the following blogs I would have to classify as almost certain to evoke tears.  I
write a nice piece about a classmate that had faced adversity and that I found inspiring, check out (My friend Eileen).  My time in Scouting introduced me to an interesting character and I talk about her in (The clothing lady with the one shoe story). My wife's time in Scouting gave me the blog (The reunion of Troop 50). One of my blogs was quoted in the local paper once and it was about my first boss, who passed while I was away on a trip, check out (Rest in Peace Papa Frank).  One of my favorite blogs to write outlined my asking the most popular girl in school out on a date and the subsequent rejection.  It's a longer story so it's (Sweaty hands and a rotary phone) and (Part 2).  I chronicled a meeting with a complete stranger that I made an intimate connection with in (On a quiet night at LaGuardia airport).  I've seldom re-run my blogs, but I like the message so much in (On Christmas trees, lost and found. ), that I did repeat it the following year.  My Mom got some mentions in 2
blogs, entitled (First Fridays with my mom) and (Lobster, donuts and some thoughts on Erma Bombeck).  I'll give her the blog she deserves some day, but I'm not quite ready to write it yet.  I'll finish this batch with 2 stories from my childhood, one on fighting (Of Fisticuffs and loose teeth) and one reminiscing about the field I played on (Reflections on Evans Field).  If you don't have need of a tissue after a couple of these, you're a better man than I am.

My Family - As many of you are aware, some of my best stories, and then blogs, are stories of growing up
in a family of 12. I was fortunate to have this experience to draw from, so I do, and I do it frequently.  The primer for learning about each of my family members is (It's time that you met the family) and finished in (Time you met the family-part 2).  Once you are fully acquainted with them, you can read stories about them and my relationship to them in (They call my brother AQUAMAN) and (Ace, my brother).  Are you a fan of Yarger gatherings?  Try reading (A swine time) about my sister's pig roast or (The Yarger Memorial) about our charity golf tournament, or (Our annual Christmas shopping trip) about our testosterone driven annual shopping trip or even (The Yarger Family reunion) the granddaddy of all Yarger functions, our family reunion.  We don't lack for gatherings in this family.  If you want to take a ride down memory lane with my family, consider (Fort Hill Christmas memories), or (If that table could talk), or my personal favorite and stuff of urban legend (The famous flaming deodorant story).  Lastly you can round out this category by reading (What I did on my Thanksgiving vacation), and once you've read all of these, you can consider yourself fully educated on the Yarger Family (This degree, surely is a BS).

My Children - What parent wouldn't write about their children and the experiences that they have shared?  Well, I'm no exception.  You can get a good read on my son Nolan at (Awesome 26 cents !).  (Dedicated to my son Dan, the Eagle Scout) and (The summer I spent with a Renaissance Man) are mainly about my son Dan and (I made my daughter cry that day) focuses on my daughter Molly and our college discussions and I get a little sappy in (An open letter to my daughter Molly).  They all make appearances in (Save the drama for your mama) and (It was a family kinda weekend) and my personal
favorite in this category (My imaginary Houseguests). Finishing this category are two others, (I went to a Yarger Party and everyone was there) and (Off to college to pursue some knowledge) about out trips to bring our kids to school.  They are, of course, sprinkled into almost every blog that I write, but these are the ones, primarily, where they are the topic.

Food - Wait, should Food have it's own category?  Sure it should, and I'm actually surprised that in 2 years, I haven't written more blogs on food than I have, especially since it plays such a big part in our lives, and of course I work in the field.   (On Lobster) is sure to get your mouth watering.  (A night at the Whalesbone) recounts a night I had in a dive in Ottawa.  My son, Nolan and I try our hand at making Maple syrup in (Oh what a sap I am).  I round out this category with (How to make Uncle Bill's Clam Chowder) and if you read that one, you should be able to experience a dish that
my family loves. There definitely should have been more food blogs, so feel free to recommend some topics.

Travel -  I do have a travel job and for 12 years have spent about 3 nights out each week, so it would make sense that this topic would have some attention paid to it. I seem to do more on Canadian cities, but I think a lot of people don't get up to them, and I want to share my experiences there with those folks.  (Getting to know Halifax Nova Scotia) is a great example, as is (London, it's closer than you think). I've got my U.S favorites too, and in fact, did a 3 part series on Boston (Why I love Boston),(Part 2), and (Part 3).  It's a good read, from my point of view as a child going into a racially charged city and up to my more recent travels there.  (The night I danced on Broadway) is a true story of the night I danced on stage at a Sunday evening performance of Cabaret.  Less the West get jealous, I did a blog entitled (We spent a few days in Arizona last week) that chronicled a trip to
Phoenix and Sedona.  Not every trip was fantastic, so I'll finish this category with (The cruise to disappointment) that tells of my time cruising with the family.  If you've never been on a cruise it would be helpful to read this one so you can avoid some of the mistakes that can easily be made.

Politics - Although I hold fairly conservative beliefs I rarely write on them, and when I do, I tend to defuse them with humor.  A good example is (I'm not easy but I can be had), that offers up my services to switch allegiances, but for the right price. Along a similar theme, I update a classic kid's series with some wry commentary about today's youth with (Please bring back Schoolhouse Rock).  I also have examined our fiscal woes in (I'm a little depressed about my debt right now) and finally I did a 2 part series that was more serious called (I'm still afraid of China) and (Part 2).  Those blogs, incidentally, required hours of research on my part to educate myself on the culture and
compare it to ours.  They may be a drier read, but I think they are a sobering read and worth the effort if you want a quick education on the topic.

     That's all she wrote for this week, and all my best that I've written for 2 years now.  Please reward my efforts by sharing this blog, or one of your favorites with your friends.  Keep those comments and suggestions coming and hopefully these blogs will keep coming too.  My thanks to you in advance, for choosing to read my meandering thoughts each week.   Sincerely,  Bill Yarger - The Ongion

The end

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The summer I spent with a Renaissance Man.

     The sad fact is,  that when your kids go off to college, you're not guaranteed to get them back each summer.  Jobs, internships, friends, and apartment rentals can all conspire against you to have them live full time in the city that they are being educated in.  This summer may have been my last with my psychology major, Dan, and if I had to live through it, I thought you should experience it too...

DaVinci's Vitruvian Man
     One of the smartest things I ever did (yes, besides marrying Char), was to put a bedroom up in the Garaj-Mahal and let my college kids use it.  Since it's 100 ft away from the house and detached, they can stay up later, and I can get up early and we don't bother each other.  Maybe if I had this option as a teenager, I wouldn't have been thrown out of my Dad's house at 18, but probably not, when I was tossed out, it was approximately 2 years later than I should have been, and it was a great lesson for me, but I digress, the bedroom was a smart idea. Why?  Because it gives me enough space from my son that I don't have to react to each of his actions, and enough space for him to be creative and not be hindered by his parent's admonitions.  It was never more true than this summer, the summer I lived with a Renaissance Man. 

    A Renaissance Man can be defined in at least two ways, "a man of the Renaissance who was educated, cultured, and proficient in a variety of fields" or " A present day man who has acquired knowledge and proficiency in more than one field".  I'm sure, that after this summer, my son Dan, fits the second description more than aptly.  Where to begin?   On his first trip this year, technically it was before summer, he went off into the woods with two friends to live deliberately.  He and his college roommates backpacked into the woods and
Dinner in the woods
they spent the better part of 2 days living off the land and learning about all things natural.  This summer he had picked up "Walden" and our discussions of late have centered around whether we need all the "trappings" that we have.  Don't laugh, but I'm a fan of Thoreau myself, but my interpretation puts my Sapphire well into the "needs" column versus the "trappings" one.  I'll give up the Mercedes, but try to take my gin, and see how you fare.  When the nature lover came back for the summer, he immediately went to work both educating himself in a variety of fields and then practically applying that knowledge.  I've been the beneficiary of some of this, like the Limoncello, for instance.  One day I passed a vat of clear liquid on the floor of my garage with a cork in it.  I watched, as over the next few days lemon peels were added to it, and then fermented until the liqueur base was done.  Dan added simple syrup after that, chilled it, and moved the alcohol concentration down to the required level and damn it, he produced a pretty nice approximation of the Limoncello I'd had a a dozen different Italian joints.  Surely the work of a Renaissance Man?

      Not giving it up that easy, huh?  Alright, how about all the odd things that Fed-ex has been delivering to
Olde World Style Globe
the house?  We never know what he might show up with, but I'll tell you just some of the things I do remember.  It was a day after the throwing knives showed up, that a target appeared in my backyard and the Renaissance Man started to get proficient at throwing them. An Olde World style globe showed up next, but there is a bar hidden in it.   A long stemmed Churchwarden pipe showed up a few weeks later, and this started to get used on our Thursday night musings on the deck.  It was a natural progression from his tea ball, where he took loose tea and steeped it (no Lipton for a Renaissance Man), instead now he took loose tobacco, packed it into a bowl and smoked it. One morning, and you cannot make this stuff up, I passed the counter of my Tiki bar on the first floor of the garage, and there spread out, were dried green herbs, a glass container with tubes and a fine white powder.   Now, I know where you are going, but even though it was after a party, I figured that the explanation wasn't as simple as the evidence left before me.  The mortar and pestle next to the pile gave me my first clue.  Dan showed me later, that he had been
The Renaissance Man trying to experience prison

grinding some ingredients to capsulize them in order to make his own study aide, which turned out to be a mixture of caffeine pills and some other herbs.  The bong-looking device was actually a small distiller that he had used earlier that day on another project. By the way, he had all of this stuff delivered, because he's not technically allowed back into the mall for a few more weeks.  There's a story with that, but I'll just tease it with what Dan told us when he got home that night.  He remarked, "Did you know that you can buy whips at the mall, but that they don't allow you to act out a chase scene with a guy in a morph suit, trying to train him with it, in that same mall ?"  We didn't know that.  Dan has taken to wearing costumes this summer too, and you never know how he'll appear to head out with his friends. It could be as a 1930's golfer, a Pirate is a personal favorite or lately it's just as Batman, who of course is the epitome of a Renaissance Man.  As a parent, this does keep you guessing.

     Lest you think Dan is one of the Renaissance Men who are only thinkers, I should remark that he has done
all these projects while holding down a full time job this summer.  He toils manually for 8-10 hours each day
Dan, the Pirate
and unwinds with these activities.  His favorite thing to do with his younger brother is to get onto Minecraft and help build imaginary worlds.  I tell him that it is redundant as he already lives in an imaginary world. I want to finish this up, but I can't go without telling you the story of the flying machine.  This time it was a trip to Lowe's (he's still allowed to go there) to get some tarp material and PVC that started up the adventure.  He has a close HS friend that he does a lot of this stuff with, for the purposes of this blog, I'll call him T.J.  What Dan likes about T.J. is, the only question that he ever asks, when Dan calls and proposes these adventures is ...When?   That's the kind of friend a Renaissance Man likes.  The flying machine was based off of an early drawing by Da Vinci and had Dan and T.J. done their homework, they would have realized it was a failed design, but if they had, they wouldn't have found themselves on a dirt road, with a skateboard, a Chevy Impala, a tow rope, and a crash helmet,  testing the design out.  For the record, there were fewer injuries that when Da Vinci tested his, and it was equally unsuccessful, but Renaissance Men have to be able to handle small setbacks. 

     I really have to finish the blog now, just like my Renaissance Man has to finish the last of this summer's
The remnants of the Flying Machine
projects.   The hard cider he is distilling still has to be bottled, the Portabella and Shitake mushrooms that he had started have to form and grow, the musical he is writing has to be finished, and the sequel to his film "Dan the Bastard" (view Part 1 here DTB Part 1) has to be edited and posted.  He ran out of time before he could implement his homemade zip line.  All in All though, it was a heck of a summer living with a Renaissance Man. I hope that I've given you a good feel for it, and like I said when I started, if I had to live through it, you should too. 
The Batmen

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Yarger Family Reunion

     Few families have traditions that are as old and deep as this, but that's not to say they can't start them now....

An early oleo ad
     This Sunday I'll be attending the 73rd annual Yarger Family reunion.  The reunion started as a way for the Yarger Family to get together and break bread at least once a year.   It used to be held picnic style at a relative's home.  It's held the 2nd Sunday in August.  I'm not sure of the attendance of the early years but I was told that the locals made it a point to attend.  The menu was sandwiches that were placed on a communal tray and passed around.  My dad used to tell a funny story of how he had brought ham sandwiches one year, but when the tray came around, he selected and then bit into a sandwich and exclaimed loudly "MA, someone brought lard sandwiches!! ".  He was quickly shushed as his mom realized that a poorer relative had simply spread oleo on bread (at that time oleo came with a coloring packet to make it look yellow thanks to the butter lobby) and brought that to the reunion.  My Dad would tell the story to make sure that you got the point, that it wasn't about what you had, what you could bring, or where you were at that point in your life, it was about making time for family, if only for one time each year.

My siblings and I at the 2006 reunion
     At some point the reunions outgrew the host households and they started to be held at county parks and other suitable venues. They generally are held near Canandaigua NY, but every decade or so, they move to Pennsylvania for a year to make it fair to those folks that attend.   The sandwiches gave way to the host family planning a menu, so each year now we take up a collection and have a starting fund for the following year.  We've had pig roasts, chicken BBQs, ox roasts and hot dog and hamburgers and the host family always does a great job providing for the crowd.  How big is this crowd nowadays?  Between 100 and 150 people most years. The crowd is made up of the NY Yargers, although a Pennsylvania contingent comes up regularly and the "snowbirds" that migrate from Florida attend too.  My Uncle Abe comes up every year from Florida.  He was likely taught, like I was,
Aunt Margaret, Trudy, Uncle Abe, Aunt Dora and Mom
that there is no excuse for missing a reunion that comes just once a year and is always the same weekend.  Abe actually started a reunion in Florida for the Southern Yargers about 32 years ago and it still goes on today as well. The rest of the crowd at the reunion are guests that family members have chosen to bring.  Think it's intimidating to bring a boyfriend home to Mom and Dad?  Think about bringing one to a reunion with 150 of your Aunts, Uncles, siblings and cousins, oh and they are Yargers.  We've chased many a candidate away, of that I am sure.  The tradition holds that if you make 3 consecutive reunions, you are expected to marry into the family.  The other guests are just close friends who are asked to come by a family member, which seems a little strange to invite non-relatives to a family reunion, but I suspect this tradition goes back to the "open door" policy of the Yargers. I've never met a Yarger family who wouldn't take you in, if you were in need of a place to stay, that's just how it's done.

My brother Paul's clan
     The crowd starts arriving around 11am on that day, with each family bringing their dish to pass, and their own table setting.  They stake out a picnic table and set up and then they start visiting.  Some families are known for a particular dish that they bring, and for me a reunion isn't complete without someone making my Aunt Jen's famous blueberry muffins.  I never eat muffins as a rule, but I never could resist hers when she brought them.  My Uncle Abe makes a pretty killer broccoli salad too.  The meal starts an hour or so later, after grace and by then you are sharing a picnic table with a cousin or sibling as the room is near full.  Most years we have to raid neighboring pavilions for a few of their tables.  This year's reunion is at the Ontario County Park (Gannett Hill), and this is the venue I remember the most.  We've had it at Pierce Park in Cheshire too, which once was a part of my Grandfather's farm that he had donated.  After we eat,
My Niece Jen at the Florida reunion
some volunteer children host games for all the kids, and they head off for them.  The meeting is called to order then by the President (elected by majority vote each year) and the Secretary keeps the notes of family business.  The announcement of births, deaths, engagements, military service, and other family matters are read.  The attendance is taken and prizes are generally given for the oldest and youngest and for the farthest traveled.  We elect the officers for the next reunion, ask for host volunteers and set the venue, take up a collection to cover the year's costs and then adjourn.  The rest of the day is spent playing horseshoes, redneck golf, volleyball, baseball or just visiting with family that you don't see too often.  The party breaks up completely around 4-5 o'clock and the hosts have the responsibility of cleaning up and settling up with the park. 

     Before I close, I'll talk a little to the hosting duties and share a couple of stories on the job.  The hosts volunteer each year and this duty is shared by the family membership.  We try and spread it around, so no one family has to do it year to year. The hosts secure the venue (generally on Jan 1st).  This is an important part of the job and you don't want to fall down on this duty.  For a long time, Ontario County Park only had one pavilion large enough to accommodate the family and we were in fierce competition with the Pierce family who hosts their reunion the same day.  As a new host about 25 years ago, I had the duty and tried to book
My sister Hummingbird
the park a few days after the new year and was shut out.  That year, we had to use 4-5 pavilions in tandem
and I'll never forget the look of disappointment that I got from my father that I had failed in this duty.  The hosts purchase and cook the meat and coffee, and stay until the end to clean the facility and cart the trash away.  A few years ago, my sister Hummingbird volunteered to host the reunion during a year where our family had just hosted.  When I approached her afterwards, about this choice, she said that she didn't need my help, that she had a catering friend that would be assisting the next year.  When next year came, sure enough, the call came to see what "we" would be cooking for the reunion.  I assisted her, of course, but can't say that I did it graciously.   Towards the end of that day, when she attempted to leave before the rest of the crowd, I kind of went off on her to remind her of her duties as hostess, and she took a burn to it.  She's a good cleaner already, but I have to say, I've never seen the tables scrubbed down as hard as they were that year.  We both stormed off at the end and about 20 minutes later I was headed down Gannett Hill with the cooker in tow.  I heard something dragging, so I stopped at the bottom of the hill and while I was checking the rig, I noticed her car, across the road.  As mad as she was, she stopped to make sure that my family was going to get home safely.  I reached out to her the following day and remarked on how surprised I was by her caring act, in the midst of our disagreement, and what she replied caps off this blog nicely.  She simply remarked " Of course I stopped, we're Family".