As i’ve mentioned, getting the final body count for the reunion proved to be a massive headache – i didn’t have the final number until the day of arrival. Needless to say that the following conversation with my Mom the week before didn’t bring me joy.
Mom: DQ and BJ are planning to bring their friend, Doogie. Is there going to be room for him?
daisyfae: WHAT?!?!? Who the fuck is Doogie? When did they plan to tell me this?
Mom: DQ said he’d be fine sleeping on a couch somewhere. He’s going to be bringing the Razors* down so they can go off-roading while they’re in Tennessee.
daisyfae: Well, he better bring a damn tent and sleeping bag, too. i have no idea where to put him! That’s going to be their problem.
Mom: He said he’d be fine with that.
daisyfae: Does Doogie have a J. O. B.? So he can P. A. Y.?
i was a little stressed out…
Upon arrival, i let DQ know that it was up to her to figure out where to put him, while making sure that all of the cousins had suitable places to sleep. i met Doogie as they moved into their cabin. Not the tattooed, toothless bubby i was expecting. Mid-sixties. Balding. Quiet.
When we got in the car to drive back to our cabin, i asked Mom about him.
daisyfae: How did BJ hook up with Doogie?
Mom: He lived next door to BJ’s parents. BJ helped him with projects around the house as a teenager. Doogie’s wife died last year. Ovarian cancer. It came on pretty quick and she died within a few months. He’s been helping BJ with work on my house ever since. Needs something to keep him busy I guess…
Mom: Oh, and he takes care of his mother-in-law. She’s got to be in her 90′s. She was living with them before his wife died. He’s a real sweet man. Looks after me, too. The kids tease us. They say he’s my boyfriend, because he’s always offering me his arm when he helps me in and out of the car.
At this point, i was feelin’ like a right shitheel.
During the weekend, he tried to stay out of the way – it was awkward for him since it wasn’t his family. He was literally along for the ride. But he was looking out for Mom – helping her along the slanted gravel path to the door of the cabin. He stepped up to be chief photographer when it was time to take group photos with a million cameras.
To deal with sleeping arrangements on Sunday night, we had to make an adjustment. Since Hurricane T and TK had vacated the loft in NATO HQ, we moved BJ, DQ, DQ, Jr., DQ, III and Doogie in to our cabin. There was a double bed, and two twin beds up there — i had already claimed the sofa downstairs.
If you’ve ever spent any time outdoors, you know that the best way to collect mosquitoes around your head while trying to sleep at night is to leave a light on. To minimize the bloodsuckers inside the cabin at night, i had developed an entry protocol - turn off the porch and interior lights BEFORE entering. A few bugs would get in, but not an unmanageable swarm. Instructing DQ’s clan in the entry procedures, they managed to unload all of their gear from the car with a minimum of additional multi-legged livestock joining the party.
As they were all getting settled in for the night, Doogie grabbed the fly swatter and proceeded to eradicate nearly every critter in the cabin before he went on to bed. Turns out, Doogie hates bugs. Especially spiders.
Not a bad fella at all…
This critter spent the weekend on the front porch of the Gathering Cabin. Right by the door. He ate moths, but rarely moved. We let him live…
*A Razor is an off-road vehicle. Nice description found here. They like to run through the mud in these…