Tuesday, July 15, 2008


This is Rita. Rita is 45. I know this because she told me. And Tim, and Uncle Herman, and Uncle Chuck and Aunt Hazel, and...well...let us say that anyone who did not know that Rita turned 45 was simply just not paying attention.
Or hard of hearing.
One of the two.
Rita used to live on the family farm with her mother, Mary Jane and her father, Uncle Harold. Harold died a while back, and Mary Jane started failing. She was finally put in a nursing home. What to do with Rita? Her brothers and sisters had a serious discussion and Rita lives with her sister in Missouri, and, last I knew anyways, she has a job counting out 10 lids for 10 cups at a factory, and was enjoying herself there. Probably hugging everybody she meets,
because everyone loves Rita, and Rita loves everyone. She is a smiler, and a hugger, and she doesn't forget a name. Which is embarrassing. I do, you see. I stink at names. Majorly.
Anyways, Rita loves a big party, so she is a great fan of the family reunion. People coming in from Kentucky, and Texas, and Maryland, and gees, I don't know, all over the country, heading back to the farm to bake bread, and break bread and wallow around in family for a while. One year, the reunion happened to fall on Rita's birthday. She joyously assumed that all the folderol was in honor of her and her special day. And so it came to be that we always have a birthday cake and party celebration for Rita at the family reunion.
In the real world, Rita would have a label, one that marks her as 'different'. In this family, you just never hear it. Rita is just...Rita. A unique individual with her own shortcomings and weaknesses, just like any of the rest of us.
And, by golly, when it is Rita's birthday, everyone celebrates.