<--------(Uncle Jerry) (Waylon Jennings) ----->
Witnessing his older brother (my grandfather - who looked vaguely like Willie Nelson) getting jumped by some neighborhood kids, running home to get his metal roller skates, and then beating those kids with the skates at the age of six; and for subjecting my family to one of the worst family reunions ever.
He'd been working as a handyman at an Irish resort in upstate New York, and decided that since the bar was well-stocked and he had a trailer all to himself that he would organize for the rest of the clan to come. And we did come. And the first afternoon, it was alright. Sure, each individual family changed rooms around three times before succumbing to the realization that the rooms weren't going to get any cleaner - or look any less like they'd been decorated in the mid-70s at the height of the orange and brown revival. But the place also had an Olympic sized pool and as much dangerous playground equipment as any family could ever possibly want (which was a lot). And the bar was well stocked, so that was something. But then a rain storm rolled in and refused to roll out, the power went out, and the only emergency generator was hooked up to the bar. Which is where a majority of my family stayed. For four days. The other place we all gathered was the cleanest room, which happened to be my family's. It had several perks: it was closest to the bar, it was on the ground floor (which was convenient for when people were stumbling back from the bar), and it had a trash can. The trash can was important because we had to manually flush the toilet, and pouring water into the back of the tank was the preferred method. This was also the summer several of the younger members of my family were being potty trained, and they were horrified and confused at the lack of flushability the toilets offered. We finally all abandoned the reunion when the from Ireland parents of one of my cousin's husbands called him in a panic, ranting about the "shanty Irish" and to get the whole family out of there. Since the rain hadn't let up and the bar money was running low, most of us took their advice and got out. For those too young to drink (like me) the whole long weekend is burned into memory. For those who were old enough to drink, most of the long weekend seems to be a blur. What we learned, though, is that about forty of us can live in one room for four days without fighting; many of us felt closer after the weekend, and some of my family members feel like Uncle Jerry just proved how well we are all able to get along. I learned that you can make a quick buck walking by a drunk relative with someone else's kid, because that drunk relative (especially if it is my Uncle Eddie) will help himself to someone else's bar money to pay for babysitting - much to the bewilderment of the person the bar money originally belonged to, especially if the kid in question wasn't his or her own. So, all in all, what Uncle Jerry gave us all were stories, and a lot of them. And in my family, that is the greatest achievement.