y wife (now ex-wife), daughter, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and his wife sat around the dining room table, nobody really wanting to be there.
Platters of great food. Plenty of wine and Martinelli's. Baskets full of rolls. Butter, gravy, pecan pie, and tension. Lots of tension.
My father-in-law had tragically, and without warning, passed away several years before. I had only known him for a year, but during that time I rarely saw him and his wife together, when they weren't bickering. Not cute, funny, "Tracy/Hepburn" bickering, but "you ruined my life" bickering.
The revisionist history began almost immediately after his death.
My mother-in-law acted as if her departed husband was Alan Alda. Suddenly he was "witty, smart, handsome, funny, and a great dancer." Before he died he was a "disappointment, inattentive, wimpy, and a bad father."
She became teary-eyed at dinner, revealing how much
she missed her husband, especially at Christmas. Her seething son blurted
out, "I don't know why. You had a loveless marriage."
In a twisted way this was a great moment. In less than
two seconds the ugly truth was out. My ex brother-in-law was emotionally
tortured by his mother and he finally blew.
The in-laws did appear to have a loveless marriage.
If not loveless, certainly miserable. Who knows, they may have been
blissful, but if they were they hid it well from everyone.
My mother-in-law had no verbal reaction to her son's
ill-timed remark. She sat in silence. We all did. Uncomfortable glances
between my wife and me.
I finally broke the silence with, "How 'bout them
More silence. More mashed potatoes. One more glass of wine. Another
layer of scar tissue. Another dysfunctional family Christmas.
Let Roger know what you think about his traveling adventure.
* * * * *
As you may (or may not!) know from reading my stuff on TBoy,
I'm a WW2 aficionado, and several years ago on one of my many trips to Normandy,
I stopped by Monet's home. I was transfixed from the second I walked into his
garden, and felt as if I was part of one of his paintings. Your marvelous story
captures the essence and magic of an equally marvleous and captivating house
and garden, and it made me feel as if I were back there myslef. The hallmarks
of any really great travel journalist is to be able to transport the reader
to whatever he or she is reading, and make them feel as if THEY are seeing and
doing what you, as the travel journalist, are describing. YOU have that talent
in spades, and let me give you a British Hi Five and Super Bravo for a super
story on this mesmerizing French destination. I hope it encourages many TBoy
readers to go there. Again, congratulations!
-- John, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Loved this article! You have such a strong, true voice -- reading
you is like having a chat with you -- always a pleasure!
-- Jamie, Edmonds, WA
Three Musical Pilgrimages: Mozart, Grieg and Hendrix
Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was
five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the
Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first
became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father
conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the
road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts
Treasures of Ireland: The Irish Goodbye (Dispatch
The Palladian Traveler brings to a close his 20-part
series on the Emerald Isle from an upscale restaurant in downtown Dublin
where he files his final dispatch and then quietly slips away.
Two "MUST SEE" Truly Spectacular Places
in Europe. Here's Why.
The Han Grotto and Culzean Castle. As the name
of my Traveling Boy feature is "Travel With a Difference," it's
important to me to always bring you offbeat and unusual tourist places around
the world you may not know about. These two fit that category to a T, and
they're absolutely worth a visit. One's in Scotland and one's in Belgium.
Culzean (pronounced CULLANE) Castle is located near Maybole, Carrick, on
the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's
In the 1840s, the population of California was only
14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived
from all over the world and they came for one reason: gold. James
Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutters Mill in El
Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.
Lake Charles Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles,
the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their
childrens eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very
much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from
last years Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little
ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already
fed and are rubbing their stomachs.
Puerto Vallarta: Magic and Mayhem on the Malecon
So I heard that you could spend from dawn to dusk on
the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and never get bored and I thought,
"Okay, I'm up for that challenge." Well, maybe not the dawn part
I'm not a morning person so I had no problem leaving those
early hours to the joggers and those seeking an early start to catch their
red snapper for dinner.
Relaxing at The Inn at Laguna Beach
There is nothing like sleeping in an ocean-front room
and awakening to the sounds of waves crashing against the sand. It is
one of the finer things in life. And it is exactly what I experienced
recently on a memorable getaway to The Inn at Laguna Beach. The adventure
began when a friend I pulled off the 5 Freeway in Orange County and took
SR 133 south nine miles through winding lush hills and wilderness areas
to the ocean.
Tim Robbins On His Road To Stardom
Award-winning Tim Robbins began his career on episodic
television. Robbins' film work, however, is what catapulted him into becoming
a major movie star including "Bull Durham" and "Mystic
River" for which he won multiple awards. Equally at home behind the
camera, he directed the riveting "Dead Man Walking." He is Founder
and Artistic Director of The Actors' Gang, which he formed thirty-five
years ago and has directed multiple provocative productions.
Tahiti and Her Islands
Just their names (pronounce each vowel!) conjure up romantic
images: Tahiti Nui, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Ra'iatea, Taha'a. Her
people are gentle; the air, tiare-perfumed. Warm lagoons, majestic peaks,
tropical fruits from the land and bounty from the sea all tantalize the
senses. Paradise! As near as can be found on planet earth. And, in my
experience, the finest way to explore her is on a ship designed for that
Leviticus 20:13 Sent by Tom of Pasadena,
It all makes sense now. Gay marriage and marijuana
was legalized in the last election. Leviticus 20:13 states
"If a man lays with another man, he should be stoned..." We've
been interpreting it wrong all these years!
California Road Trip
You would never guess that you didnt have to
leave the mainland USA to find an Island with lush gardens, oceanside views
and fabulous food all minutes away from downtown San Diego. I wondered what
exactly we were heading towards, an Island in the middle of a city? It sounded
slightly absurd, never-the-less, we drove onto the property of Paradise
Point Resort and Spa and were pleasantly surprised.
Costa Rica's Green
Sitting at an umbrella table in downtown San Jose overlooking
the Plaza de la Cultura is like a page out of Hemingway's "The
Sun Also Rises." The plaza is laid out in a maze of stalls where
passive vendors sell sparkling silver jewelry by the trayfull, hand-carved
clay masks, colorful Guatemalan belts, area rugs, and hammocks perfect
for a midday siesta. Three men play an old wood marimba over the buzz
of the crowd while a steaming plate of Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) is
served to an elegant lady who was performing with her guitar...