Don’t you love family reunions? Everyone gets to meet everyone.
For example, I get to introduce my mother’s sister, vanished 25 years, to my mother’s namesake, my niece, who is 20 years old, seven months pregnant, due to be shipped to Iraq 45 days after the birth, and looking plenty shell-shocked already.
Does this sound like fun?
Right at the start I’d like to sit the family down, hand out stubby yellow pencils, and make the following announcement. “You may NOT talk. The following is a list of explanations and guidelines. You may take notes. You may not interrupt. There will be time for questions at the end.”
This is impossible, of course, because no one could agree on an official version—or the official version would have nothing to do with the truth.
All I said was, “Joan is Ned’s second wife” and immediately Ned is fidgeting. Evidently Joan is actually the third. There was another mystery wife sandwiched briefly in the middle. We don’t talk about her.
Finally nothing can be said but, “Everyone does just love Uncle Ned!”