Only in the Family …

Becky, Paul, me and Paula’s damn dog, Bubby. Talk about the Energizer Bunny.

I spent the weekend in Asheville visiting family and telling stories only we would enjoy and fully appreciate. We grew up poor and about as disjointed as a family can be, often hungry, sometimes hurt, always laughing out loud.

We seemed to remember that last part best when Becky, Paul and I got together with my Margie and Paul’s daughter, Paula. I think Paula was probably taken aback by the blunt honesty of some of the revelations and I was, frankly, surprised at how much new information can come out when siblings–all well over 60–get together and start swapping stories.

Some of the revelations were dubious, some enlightening, a couple shocking, but all fully entertaining, giving us something to chew on when we got back to our normal lives. I had a hell of a time.

My brother and I swap political barbs frequently online (Paul’s a long-time Republican who does not try to defend Trump’s behavior, though he agrees with some of his policies and I am of the view that the devil has taken second place in the awfulness sweepstakes), but we keep it civilized and nobody gets mad. I guess that’s family. I wish it was everybody’s family. Becky, by the way, proved to be the absolute queen of gossip, especially family gossip. I had to say, several times, “Oh, you’re not real!” She insists she was.

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Dan Smith is an award-winning journalist in Roanoke, Va., and a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. He is an author, photographer, essayist, father and grandfather. Co-founder of Valley Business FRONT magazine and founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. On Advisory Board of New River Voice.

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