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
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum
in Vevey, Switzerland
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism
recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin.
A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir
Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright
Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model
Treasures of Ireland: The Burren (Dispatch
The Palladian Traveler ventures back to the days
of fearless Celtic warriors to search for some "stones to take you
home" as he files his latest dispatch from the monochromatic moonscape
known as The Burren.
Buckingham Palace It's THE Most Popular Tour
in Great Britain (Part 2 of a 2-Part Series)
Is it more momentous for a Brit to do the Buckingham
Palace tour than say an American or indeed any other nationality? Yes, I
know that's an odd question, but if you grow up as I did in
London back in the 1950s, getting inside Buckingham Palace was the stuff
of dreams. Hence my surprise at touring BP in 2005.
Paradise on Earth: The Romance of
Tahiti and Her Islands
The first thing you notice is the fragrance. The intoxicating
perfume of the tiare flower announces to your senses that you are in a magical
place, overflowing with tropical vegetation and soothing trade winds. It
is the same fragrance that the English seamen on the HMS Bounty also first
encountered; but they came, not for flowers, but for breadfruit, intended
as a new food staple for their slaves in the West Indies.
Provence: As Much a Mood, a Spirit as a Destination
"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" goes
the song. Robert Goulet sang it and Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis,
too, and it surely comes to mind when you stand on a bluff in the Luberon
of Provence and stare across at the little hill village of Gordes. The view
is the best part; the village's interior itself is not dramatic and stands
as a warning of what contemporary popularity can do to the simple homes
of 12th century working people.
Exploring Venice: Lost and Found. And Special Finds.
Walking home to our apartment in Venice, we share a
wave through the window with the owner of Baba, our local osteria. Leaving
for a day of sightseeing, a cup of my favorite pistachio gelato awaits me
despite the early hour. At the Bar Dugole, we relax after a day of sightseeing
and order the regular: vodka for my husband and Amaretto for me.
Traveling with Beautiful Boots and a Bison Backpack
People often asked about my favorite travel apparel and
gear. This happened to me at the airport recently. One question came as
I was putting back on my clothes after going through the TSA checkpoint
striptease. Before leaving the area, I heard a soft voice say, "hey,
I really like your boots. Where did you get them?" Looking up, I
found a uniformed employee staring at my feet.
Film Review: "My Hero Brother" A Tribute
to the Human Spirit
I just spent five days attending the Santa Barbara Film
Festival and for the most part, the features, animated shorts, and documentaries
were quite professional and compelling. That said, "My Hero Brother,"
a documentary that was particularly outstanding, told the remarkable and
inspiring story about a group of Down syndrome young men and women who
go on a two-week trek through the Himalayas with their non-Down syndrome
La Paz, Baja California Sur
Photographer Deb Roskamp focuses her camera on La Paz,
Baja California Sur. The resort property is CostaBaja, and the boat tours,
which include snorkeling at the UNESCO protected site, Isla Espiritu Santo,
were conducted by Fun Baja. The photographs are intended to speak for
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!
Triumph over Terrorism
After a three-month adventure seeking beauty in the
world, many thoughts race through your mind, especially when you have quit
your job, run out of money, and have no clue what comes next. However, a
philosophical discussion on the meaning of life with a perfect stranger
is not one of them.
The enormous Sonora Desert, a colossal 120,000 square
miles of splendor that spreads like a great tapestry of textures and colors
across international boundaries from Arizona into the State of Sonora
in northern Mexico is one of North Americas grand, untrammeled natural
treasures. The complex, sun-blessed region of bright dry heat, brilliant
low-hanging stars, and long, ever-changing shadows that shift with the
sun as they drape like endless silhouettes across craggy walls, mountain
ridges and hidden canyons, is a vibrant land with tales to tell.