“His voice sucks!” Thumper announced breaking the spell I was under as we drove up to Aspen for the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club’s annual fundraiser where the community is invited to ski Aspen Mountain the day before it officially opens. Spoiled? Us? Nahhhh!
Daring to scan the radio for something other than the rapper Nicky Minaj I landed on Jim Morrison singing his all time classic song, “Riders in the Storm”. I was transported back (as I’ve been known to do) to my college dorm room procrastinating from my studies while staring up at my poster of Morrison in his aviator sunglasses, wishing that I were that cigarette precariously hanging from his beautiful slightly parted lips. My twelve year old with his inexperienced ear zoomed me back to the planet I took off from by reaching his toes to the dial to change the station back to the same-o same-o 100.5 “Radio-Free” Aspen.
With my two older sisters, their five kids and my mother all in town together for Thanksgiving and Winternationals in Aspen, I had been resorting back to my youth quite a bit since they arrived.
The second my oldest sister, Melanie, walked through my door, I wanted to plant my thumb back in my mouth and follow her around like I did when we were little. That’s the thing about family, as soon as everybody reconvenes we all slip back into our behavioral patterns stemming from our birth order, or ordinal positions. On ChildDevelopmentinfo.com it pegs me as the youngest child:
- Behaves like only child.
- Feels every one bigger and more capable.
- Expects others to do things, make decisions, take responsibility.
- Feels smallest and weakest. May not be taken seriously.
- Becomes boss of family in getting service and own way.
- Develops feelings of inferiority or becomes “speeder” and overtakes older siblings.
- Remains “The Baby.” Places others in service.
Wow! That’s tough to accept but oh so true. But on the lighter side, growing up I always accepted the dares that came from my sisters which usually entailed doing extremely stupid things for the entertainment factor like eating cookies that looked like dog food, which actually were dog food, or overflowing the kitty litter in the back of the Wagoneer when a sister (Michele) refused to pull over for a pit stop. I did whatever they challenged me to do, just for a good laugh, and nothing has changed. When we are all together, especially when my mother is here, we revert back to the tightly knit family we were when we were little, impenetrable, ready for any adventure and prepared to laugh.
But family holidays bring dysfunctional dips that threaten to bring the happy holiday highs to maniacal melancholy lows. We didn’t anticipate that Michele would be taken down hard with back pain or that one of the children would vomit up her Thanksgiving dinner from nut allergies or that Baddy would find his 40 something wife running up the country road in a rage from harsh and unfair words that were hurled somewhere between cooking the mashed potatoes and the Brussel Sprouts.
It’s all good in the end, right? I mean, we wouldn’t be who we were without a little family dysfunction and brutal honesty to keep our feet on the ground. And so we got over it and when Melanie, who has been invited to be on a reality tv show, found out that Cowboy Mouth was playing in a free show at the base of Aspen Mountain prior to the fireworks, she was all over it. The Aspen Daily News had given an excellent review on the lead singer & drummer, “Often compared to the Tasmanian Devil, he’s developed a raucous style with an infectious energy and a preacher’s knack for whipping a crowd into a frenzy,” how could we miss it?
Before the concert we procured a Vicodin prescription for Michele and raced our kids down the mountain on fresh corduroy, in between watching the world’s fastest women compete on the World Cup course.
We then drank hot cider and layered up for the evening festivities. Upon arriving slightly late for Cowboy Mouth, Melanie, who has a love for fur (with the alive animal still in it), beautiful clothes (without fur), dysfunctional men and rock stars, ran straight up to the front of the crowd. I was going to hang back with my mother but when I turned around to find her I discovered that she too had left me to meander her way to the front for a better view. Soon we were all up there, kids, husbands and sisters all bopping up and down as Cowboy Mouth belted out some magnificent tunes under the stars. Steam pouring out of their nostrils in the cold night air.
That night with Wade banished to the bed in the basement Melanie and I cuddled up in bed together to revisit the funny stories of the day like Tucker singing “”Hey Jew, don’t make it bad…na na na na na, na na na, hey Jew,” at the top of his lungs and refusing to believe that the Title of the Beatles famous song is, “Hey Jude.”
We sadly looked back on all the changes that had happened lately in our lives and we sighed big sighs but then we looked at each other and while rubbing noses realized that it was all good, because we had each other and our families and we acknowledged that we would always have our youth, as long as we continued to play together!