This weekend I had occasion to see my brother and his new wife (whose marriage sans traditional wedding precipitated Liebermania); nine out of my eleven first cousins, along with all seven of their collective children (the cousin-babies); every single one of my living aunts and uncles; and my dad’s cousin and his wife, the one who is cousins with Sandy’s cousin’s wife, making Sandy and I quasi-related. And that’s not even close to the half of it.
Yet, faced with this overwhelming spectacle, Sandy handled himself with grace and aplomb due to a combination of his incredible maturity and sweetness, well-timed* breaks to non-party-ish parts of the house, and a strategy of always having either a plate of food or a cousin-baby in his hands at all time. (“He looks good with that baby! [wink, wink]” was a common refrain amongst my aunts, cousins, and the occasional complete stranger)
*e.g. when my uncle began singing a multi-verse song in Yiddish.
Sometimes people come over to our house for a party and wonder why on earth we create the kinds of spreads we do. Well, duh. It runs in the family. My mother, still recuperating from a wrist operation and a black eye, nevertheless produced a black bean salad, a white bean salad, a pasta salad, a cabbage salad, corn bread, smoked salmon with wasabi sauce, pineapple with candied ginger, pumpkin cake, and three flourless chocolate cakes. We contributed stuffed grape leaves done Balkan style with fresh dill. Everything was delicious. We’re still working on the leftovers.
And just between you, me, and the internet, he did look good with that baby.