Every family has two sides. There’s dad’s side of the family and mom’s side of the of family. I haven’t know very many families where the two sides meld into one. Families are always having to spend Christmas Eve at Dad’s house, Christmas afternoon at Mom’s or whatever. In my family growing up, we lived near and among my mother’s side of the family. My dad’s side of the family lived in Phoenix. When I was young we wen to visit them fairly regularly, once or twice a year. We saw my mom’s side of the family on all the holidays. Christmas Eve was the big Anderson family gathering. I have fond memories of those Christmas Eve’s. They were fun. They were the official start of Christmas.
Going to Phoenix was better than Disneyland! Dad’s side of the family had all the fun. The folks in Phoenix were the party crowd. Even when the grown ups were sitting around talking there was something for the kids to do. Play in the pool. Ride a mini-bike. Play pool. Play pinball (without needing a pocket full of quarters). Play with the slot machines (never had to use my own money but I always got to keep anything I won). And then there would always be at least one day when we’d head out to the desert to ride motorcycles, dune buggies and Jeeps – the didn’t have four wheelers yet. The Phoenix crowd also went to the lake and river a lot but, for whatever reason, they never did that when we were there. Nonetheless, the Phoenix side of the family was a hell of a lot more fun than the Southern California crowd.
Returning from White Sands, New Mexico we drove through Phoenix and I thought of my family that still lived there. We didn’t have time to stop on that trip but I continued thinking about it. I was getting the week of the 4th off at work so I suggested that we contact the Phoenix Crew and see if they’d be interested in getting together that we. “Sounds like fun, come on out.” So, on Monday we left at 0500 headed for Phoenix, Arizona. After an uneventful eleven and a half hours, we arrived. The first thing we noticed is, it is hot in Phoenix in July. Really hot.
We landed a great hotel deal. We stayed at the Homewood Suites (yelped). A two room suite in a Hilton hotel for $120 a night. In January, that same suite costs $290. It was great. However, Phoenix is hella hot in the summer. It was a 115 degrees while we were there. Staggering heat. Brought back memories of my time in Kuwait. I understand now how all the guys from Phoenix were able to manage so well. They were right. It’s about the same. Damned hot.
The trip was a smashing success. I contacted a cousin of mine and set the trip up with him. I hadn’t seen him in 19 years. I told him we should get together and see if we like each other. He and his wife thought that was pretty funny but it’s true. Very often families don’t like each other but feel they have to spend time together. That sucks. So, we spent three rather short days together. The Phoenix Crew is a little older but still the same fun crowd that I remember. My cousin and I turned out to be the most markedly different if only for the fact that the last time we were together, he and I were kids. Everyone else looks and acts very much the same as I remember them from my childhood. Our families – mine and the cousin’s – got along very well. We’re looking forward to the next get together, though it will have to either wait until fall or be here where the weather is not so hot. We’re hoping to spend Labor Day together.
[posted with ecto]