It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
How come the only thing my family tree ever grows is nuts?”
Wade Rouse attempts to answer that question in his blisteringly funny new memoir by looking at the yearly celebrations that unite us all and bring out the very best and worst in our nearest and dearest.
Family is truly the only gift that keeps on giving—namely, the gifts of dysfunction and eccentricity—and Wade Rouse’s family has been especially charitable: His chatty yet loving mother dresses her son as a Ubangi tribesman, in blackface, for Halloween in the rural Ozarks; his unconventional engineer of a father buries his children’s Easter eggs; his marvelously Martha Stewart–esque partner believes Barbie is his baby; his garage-sale obsessed set of in-laws are convinced they can earn more than Warren Buffett by selling their broken lamps and Nehru jackets; his mutt Marge speaks her own language; and his oddball collection of relatives includes a tipsy Santa Claus with an affinity for showing off his jingle balls. In the end, though, the Rouse House gifted Wade with love, laughter, understanding, superb comic timing, and a humbling appreciation for humiliation.
Whether Wade dates a mime on his birthday to overcome his phobia of clowns or outruns a chubchasing boss on Secretary’s Day, he captures our holidays with his trademark self-deprecating humor and acerbic wit. He paints a funny, sad, poignant, and outlandish portrait of an an all-too-typical family that will have you appreciating—or bemoaning—your own and shrieking in laughter.
she birthed Abraham Lincoln said to me. And I considered that sage advice. I stopped desiring lattes from Starbucks and became quite satisfied with Folgers every morning. I stopped exercising and found myself exhausted just putting bread in the toaster. Gary and I took naps and watched America’s Funniest Home Videos. We began snacking on Saltines and juice before bed, often choking on the dry crackers if we didn’t have something with which to wash them down. I began waking early, creepy
which ranged from the awful to the pathetic: a small chain of quick-oil-change shops, a hard-rock radio station, a local developer of heinous homogenous subdivisions that featured faux gas lampposts and ranch houses with marbleized columns. “Oh, and we just got a mall,” he told me. “That’s where we need the most help.” It was here that I finally began to get interested. Saying “mall” to me was like saying “blow job” to a sex addict. Though I certainly didn’t look like it at the time, I loved
mistaken, sir! That is fact! James Wade, you have the genes of—what!—a great athlete residin’ in your bones, isn’t that correct?” The only thing I had residing in my bones, if anyone in my family cared to open their eyes and actually look, was a lot of gay genes, considering I was a sixth grader who adored chokers, hemp bracelets, friendship pins, and mood rings. Never mind that I secretly pinched my cheeks to make myself look flushed and excited. “You are mistaken!” my mother repeated,
with the same ritual: My mother and grandmother would kneel to say a prayer, pay their respects, and then plant peonies and American flags into the earth over the grave. “See you next year,” they would whisper, passing a kiss from their hand to the earth before standing again, interlocking arms, and slowly making their way to the next party guest. But when I was fourteen, a litany of death strangled my family in short order like a swarm of locusts—starting with my brother, Todd, who was killed
making his mouth water. “Okay, I resolve to spend less money on unnecessary items, like holiday ornaments and pretty candles. Your turn.” I looked at the TV. I had been watching reruns all day of Project Runway and House Hunters International. “I vow to watch less reality TV.” I sounded less than convincing, but continued. “I’m smarter than those shows, right? So, from now on, I’ll watch more Discovery and rent important documentaries.” Gary nodded enthusiastically. “And I’ll read more!” I