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BEING CAPE CODDER

 

Published by The Poetics Project August 26, 2014; platform discontinued

 

I'm a mix of two extreme families—both lovers of God, both blue-collar Republicans, both builders of walls, but both opposites in nature: One can't ask for what it needs while the other takes what it wants.

My mom's family is a tribe of followers without the confidence to choose a restaurant. It's packed with musical talent and no showmanship, which means the talent sits dusty until their God prods them into squawking out an embarrassed tune on Sundays. In that house, there's plenty of laughter and no bones to pick with anyone, anywhere. Herding them into a family picture, however, is like yanking lambs with low-self esteem and mousy hair to the slaughter. Good people, happy people, humble people. Mild, like cranberry cocktail—sweet, sweet, sweet, but not that interesting.

That's half my blood.

The other half, my dad's family, is loud. There are usually several brawls and people seething in the corners, but there are always lively debates and lots of storytelling. There's laughter, too, but much more slapstick and usually at someone's expense. In that house, there're too many voices and frank opinions, members scrabbling to be alpha dogs. Though most members would rather be shot than touched, there's a certain amount of pride in photographs, a great sense of clan and family (you belong here, damnit, whether you want to or not). We're abrasive, like our name. Like a shot of vodka.

And me? I'm an opinionated Lacock with questions, some musical ability, and my mom's hips—a Cape Codder, with more vodka than juice.

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