My mother hails from San Diego, so growing up we used to schlep down from the San Francisco Bay Area at least once a month to hang out with her extended family. Back then it was incredible – my grandparents shared stories of growing up in Portugal, my uncle talked about World War II (when pressed to do so), and there were dozens of aunts, uncles, and cousins to visit with. To give you an idea of the fun characters we got to hang out with back then, let me tell you about my cousin Scott. In addition to driving a car with the words “LOSER CRUISER” emblazoned on its side, he also had a bevy of tattoos including the following NSFW gems:

1. The word “Kiss” on one butt cheek and “This” on the other.
2. A chicken with a noose around his neck on his calf – he said it was the cock that hung below his knee.
3. And, to prove he didn’t do anything half-assed, he actually tattooed some crabs onto his penis. These never failed to amuse the new ladies that came into his life.

He also had some cute tattoos…like a bag of Fritos on his shoulder (you know, the “chips” on his shoulder). As you can see Scott was pretty awesome. The comedy tattoo is a rare, dying art form.

Anyway, I bring all this up because many years have since passed, and the majority of my San Diego relatives have either died or moved out of San Diego. This is pretty sad, but on a happier note, my terrific Aunt Ruthie still lives there, and last weekend we took Annabel to meet her!

Annabel with her Great-Aunt Ruthie

Ruthie was very taken with Annabel and said she looked like a cross between Heather and my mom as a baby. (I’m not sure what Heather made of this exactly.)

On a side note, Ruthie doesn’t live in the same house we used to visit her in when I was kid because she recently sold it and moved back into a home she had rented out since I was three. Anyway, I bring this up because I hadn’t been in her current home since I was around two, and upon looking into the backyard I immediately had a memory as clear as day of being with my entire extended family by the pool. It was pretty amazing to remember something from so long ago, but neat to be back with my extended family again – if only for a second.

My memory isn’t perfect though…as I stood in Ruthie’s kitchen she told something I had forgotten about.

“We had a mouse loose in our house once when you were over,” Ruthie began. “So we set out a mouse trap, and when no one was looking you went to grab the cheese and the trap snapped down on your hand!”

My eyes bulged as I imagined the cartoon like image of my hand stuck in a mouse trap. Funny my mom NEVER MENTIONED that anecdote!

In the end it was great to see Ruthie and introduce her to Annabel. The fun times of yesteryear may fade into the past, our loved ones may leave this earth, but at least we can carry the memories of happier times with us, and share them with the loved ones we have left, like Ruthie and her great niece Annabel.