Every family get together, I dread practically everything. I dread the sarcastic remarks and the judgmental looks. I dread the multimillion-dollar parts of the family looking down on the lesser-dollar-amount parts of the family. I dread the gossip and I dread the small talk about my plans after high school. I, however, do not dread the food—especially the cheese.
Like the slices of cheddar set out in a lovely array, the talk of politics and the mood surrounding the talk is sharp. I once made the mistake of speaking in a “liberal tone” with my only liberal relative, my Aunt Peggy. You see, her and I are like the “kick” of the jalapeno pepper of the pepper jack cheese, which is usually the only cheese left on the tray; we are seen as a change to the perfectly bland world my family knows; we are feared in the conservative eye as the jalapeno pepper is feared by the unadventurous cheese lover. My Uncle Mike sarcastically asked, “Should I bring your Uncle Mark over here?” My Uncle Mark is the master of political debate; he, too, is feared. Unfortunately, when it comes to politics, my Uncle Mark has much more sharp than I do kick.
Like all great cheeses, nothing goes better with my aunt than a great wine. It doesn’t matter where we are in the party, or how many glasses it’s been, the wine is always flowing, along with the gossip. Just like it doesn’t matter what wine, it doesn’t matter what subject. They talk about boyfriends, girlfriends, who said this, who said that; you name it. It doesn’t really matter though; they’ve got a mouth full of cheese and a bloodstream full of wine.
Like every great cheese ball, every great family needs some nuts on the side. The nuts on my dad’s side happen to be my grandparents. My grandmother sits there with a senile look on her face and asks me the same question she is now asking me for the fourth time in the last ten minutes. My grandfather always has a lecture in him, which he so lovingly chose this year’s to be about sex and how because I’m now seventeen, I’m going to get pregnant just like my aunt and grandmother did when they were seventeen, although I have no intention of bringing out the “wee-wee,” as he so caringly put it. But the entire time, both of them are enjoying a mouthful of cheese, nuts and all.
I whole-heartedly believe in cheese. I believe in the unity it brings to a family so much like Swiss cheese, with a hole in every bite and a lot of us content with that fact. There we are, with our sharpness, our kick, our wine, our nut, and we’re all different, but fortunately for us, and for sanity’s sake, we all eat and love that same cheese.
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