Friday, January 22, 2010

No Sibling Left Behind, with a shocking ending.

The following is an old story, but I found an email with it, and thought it worth posting.

Last May, my girlfriend and I had our annual trip to the Greek festival snowball into a family outing. You know, one of those occasions when you make plans with one person, the others get wind, nobody wants to be left out, and all of sudden what had been a simple jaunt to get a gyro and spanakopita has degenerated into coordinating the schedules of eight people. Don't get me wrong, I love my family, and we usually have fun joking around with one another, but chronic lateness is a hereditary condition in my family, and I dread making plans for that reason

It started when my sister Kara surprised us by asking if we were going to festival at the Greek Orthodox church.  This was shocking as she's the finickiest of eaters, and so hasn't developed a palate beyond the standard issue second-grade menu of chicken soup, pizza, chicken nuggets and steak.  We agreed to go and and knowing that I'm the only person who likes baklava, suggested that we head to the wonderful Rich Farm Ice Cream shop for dessert.  Plans were set for four us to go.

My sister Kara is, in the manner of youngest siblings everywhere, an absolutely horrible secret keeper.  She spilled the plans to my brother, who decided that he and his girlfriend would like to come along. The original four arrived at the Greek Church at five o'clock.  True to form and despite being told that we were meeting at five o'clock to get ahead of the crowd, my brother hadn't left his house at that point.  This was a problem as the lines at this particular festival generally head out toward the street and parking and tables becomes scarce quickly.  We waited as long as we could before just getting and line, and wound up finished our food before my brother even found parking.

In the meantime, My other sister and her son were on their way back from the Peabody museum, and assumed that her brothers and sister had hatched a deliberate plan to ostracize her while going off and having fun together. As this was not the case, we told her to meet us at the festival.   At this point, the original four were just sort of milling around to kill time, while waiting the others.  This was a poor plan, as what we'll call group B, was never able to find parking and wound up heading to Frankie's for a few hot dogs before heading to the dairy. 

After what seemed an eternity, we all finally arrived at the dairy farm. My four year-old nephew Carmen was running around with other future delinquents while we waited in a much longer line than we would have had we gotten there as planned.  With my usual self control, I inhaled my cake batter and midnight mocha waffle cone at a Kobayashi-esque pace, finishing far ahead of everyone else in our group. My nephew had gotten full/grown bored about halfway through his sundae and  was far more interested in seeing the cows up close.

Being a fool, I volunteered to occupy his time.  I brought him first to the main barn where, despite shimmying up a gate with a "no climbing" sign, he couldn't really see anything. He then spotted a family standing by a field where field where some were grazing and was off in a flash. By the time I caught him, he was giddy with excitement, saying "Uncle Tiger, can I pet the cows?". I said no, that they were too big, and besides they were behind a fence that we'd be shot by the farmer if we crossed. Still, given his tendency to bolt when he sees something that catches his interest, I made sure to have a solid kung-fu grip on his hand.

We walked up to the fence together, where another family was watching the cows. Carmen, wanting to get closer, reached out and started to grab what I thought was a barbed-wire fence while the family and I yelled "NO! Don't", but for very different reasons. The next thing I knew my legs were buckling and arms were in spasm. We both stumbled back and the father explained that the fence was electrified. I felt semi woozy, having just taken enough juice keep a 1500lb animal at bay.  Naturally, everyone was worried about the kid.  When asked if he was OK, Carmen shot me a huge grin said "AGAIN!".  And yet, for reason I don't understand, people are appalled when I refer to him as the "little rat bastard".

The sad part? Getting partially electrocuted was actually a high point of 2009.


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