I have returned from a trip to North Carolina, where I paid a visit to the homeland of the Paco clan. A couple of interesting developments:
The caregiver for Elderly Relative A claimed that Elderly Relative A's brother - let us call him Elderly Relative B - stole $1200 in cash from a drawer in Elderly Relative A's night table. Elderly Relative A, convinced of the truth of the accusation based on no evidence at all (except, perhaps, for the highly prejudicial historical antecedents of Elderly Relative B's excessive fondness for writing rubber checks throughout most of his adult life), noised it about that his brother was a thief. Elderly Relative B, eventually hearing the gossip, was outraged, and threatened to beat the caregiver's ass, and his brother's ass into the bargain. Elderly Relative A (who, I should point out, is blind) threatened to blow Elderly Relative B's head off with a shotgun if he ever again darkened his door. The caregiver, fearing, not so much that Elderly Relative A would blow Elderly Relative B's head off on purpose, as that he might blow her head off by accident, promptly hid the shotgun. On making inquiries as to the presence of the shotgun, the caregiver told Elderly Relative A that she didn't know what happened to it. Elderly Relative A immediately concluded that Elderly Relative B must have snuck into the house and stolen that, too, which assumption led to a new round of charges and threats of mutual ass beatings. Both men are in their eighties.
Elderly Relative A's third wife died recently. Elderly Relative A had her interred in the cemetery of an old country church; however, whereas the mortal remains of the existing residents have all been capped by modest headstones, Elderly Relative A erected a gaudy mausoleum, which rather creates the effect of a McMansion plopped down in a neighborhood of ageing vinyl-sided ranchers. It was not, though, the aesthetic issues that roused the ire of Elderly Relative C, sister of Elderly Relative A. No, her wrath was ignited by the fact that, in the preparation of the foundation or slab for the mausoleum, a large amount of dirt had been unceremoniously dumped on an adjoining plot, in which reside the earthly remains of the mother of Elderly Relatives A, B and C. After much heated discussion (almost certainly featuring more promises of ass beatings), Elderly Relative A finally consented to paying for the clean-up of their mother's plot.
And, believe it or not, my friends, the foregoing is the merest scratching of the surface of the high drama and low comedy that have characterized the Paco tribe since time immemorial.
It wasn't all bad, however. My family attended a cookout thrown by my brother and his brood, and we all had a merry time (the event being greatly enhanced by my sister-in-law's outstanding culinary skills). Also, Mrs. Paco and I have granddaughter Maggie with us for a week or so, which always gives us joy (on the trip back from North Carolina, 3-year-old Maggie kept repeating the cryptic sentence, "I have a plan" - ominous, in a way, since these are the very words uttered by many Pacos over the years preparatory to launching some project that inevitably turns into an epic, though usually comic, disaster).