The Great Plotnik

Monday, January 28, 2013


People don't usually get to have their mom come to their 50th Anniversary but Plottie's brother Schmeckl did. We were 70 or so relatives and friends in the back room of a restaurant in the hills above the city of Orange, and our two nephews threw a great party and put on a slide show. Mummy Plotnik stayed the whole time and was still having fun by just shy of midnight.

Plottie gave the toast. He thanked his bro and sis-in-law for always generously offering their home for all family functions and celebrations. He thanked his mom for not getting a hearing aid so she couldn't hear him as he also thanked her for liking him more than his brother, and for always baking him cookies for Christmas instead of the underpants she would give Schmeckl. He told everyone fifty years is a long time to be married to someone who only eats incinerated meat and who pours boysenberry syrup in his coffee.

He always tells jokes when he's in denial, especially about passing time. He remembers the only other Golden Anniversary he has ever been to, the one for his grandparents at Sportsman's Lodge when Plottie was 16. Grandpa Ben and Grandma Eva were old, and not just old but old-country old. Schmeckl and Little Bear are not old. There is an obvious disconnect here.

Plottie's stepsister Judy wrote the most beautiful and gracious note to Schmek and LB. It made Plotnik stop to remember the days when Mummy P. married the Chief and now the Chief's family and the Plotnik family were forced to try and get along. It worked well and it didn't work well, sometimes both at the same time. Plot realizes now that if the situation had been reversed, that is, if his mom had moved into The Chief's house, instead of the other way around, and he and Schmeckl had been forced to get along with their new stepbrother and stepsister in a new and alien environment, it would have been World War IV.

Sometimes it takes a lot of years to realize things that should have been obvious.

Like, for example, that your siblings are your siblings. Things are complicated. They can be your best friends, but it's not likely, because you spent the first decades of your life battling them as you tried to make your parents love you more. Or they can be like your Facebook friends, little more than a few sentences a week's worth. Usually, they fall somewhere in the middle.

And yet, when they feel joy you feel joy. And when they suffer, you suffer. That tribal thing is built in too.

And when your mom is having trouble remembering your name, you talk about it. And when your child has a new baby, you talk about it. And when someone you love discovers they have cancer, or your son has a new job, or your daughter is thinking about living far away, you talk about it. And when your big brother, who has known you longer than you've known you, and his amazing wife, who is still as beautiful as she was when you were 14, somehow, impossibly, complete fifty years of a marriage as convoluted and high-wired as all marriages are, it's an accomplishment that defies the odds.

It makes you bubble over with Big Happy.

So you stand up, make a few jokes, then raise your glass to them, and to yourself, and to all of us.


(Thanks to the Faranoozle for this wonderful photo of the two of us...)


At 5:15 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

oh, this is very beautiful ~ I'm glad you had such a wonderful time and yes, 50 years of marriage is pretty amazing

At 6:44 PM, Blogger The Fevered Brain said...

This is a wonderful post. We, down here in Mexico, will celebrate our 49th tomorrow. A long and winding road. Who knows where we'll be for the 50th. Many thanks for the reminder of what it all comes down to.

At 11:06 PM, Blogger J and J said...

It was a lovely evening and you have captured it so nicely. Always great to see you and Duck. Have fun next week with the young and growing NY Plotties!


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