"It's an anal kazoo."
I look at my mother in stunned disbelief. "An anal kazoo?" I hold the object delicately in my hands, unsure as to whether she's telling me the truth.
Mom, embarrassed, waves her hand at me dismissively and heads back into the kitchen. "Ah, just put it in your mouth and blow on it. I've got dishes to clean."
"And, why do you have an anal kazoo?" I call out after her.
"It was in storage!" she shouts, then pauses. "It just kind of fell out."
Corb barks out a laugh. "That's always a problem with an anal kazoo..."
The porch erupts into laughter. Gamely, I place the anal kazoo in my lips and blow on it. It makes a whooshy noise...no sound at all.
I squint my eye and look inside. "Looks like I have a defective anal kazoo here..."
"You're not holding it in the right place," offers Corb.
“Okay, Pauloo, you’re up,” I said, as we turned our attention to the serious job of finishing the board game in front of us, called “The Game of Things.” “What’s our next question?”
Pauline grabbed a card from the box and giggled. “Name the thing you hate most about family get togethers.”
Everyone laughs and starts writing down answers. The point of the game is to try and figure out who wrote what. My problem, of course, is that I usually made my responses a little too distinctive; also, more than a little filthy. The round before, the question had been, "Name a thing that shouldn't be photographed." My answer: a fly landing on steaming hot diarrhea. Pauline fingered me, right off the bat.
Truth be told, there's nothing that I hated about family get togethers, especially those held at the beach house. Further, I was determined to love this gathering most of all, seeing as how it may very well be one of the last ones at the beach. With Cathy's passing, I knew that the ties that bound my parents and Jim to the place had weakened. Too many memories, too much of a past.
The day hadn't cooperated much, however. My parents had been subdued most of the day, understandably so. My friend Buns had hit the road after her son Nathan had pitched a hissy fit. The hamburgers had been tough to cook. It had been a cloudy day, and halfway through dinner, it had started to rain. The fates had not been kind.
Hence the group of us, crowded in a tiny screened-in porch. Of the group, my dad had chosen to stay outside and my mom was busy cleaning, leaving me and the kids, Corb, and my friends (more like family, I suppose) Pauline and Jo-Anne.
Soon enough, all the answers, turned in. Pauline places them in a row, laughing as she looks a few of them over. "Okay, here we go," she says. "Anal kazoo playing. Playing in the anal kazoo marching band. Ted's mom playing the anal kazoo." She places the card down and shouts out to the kitchen. "Thanks, Mom!"
Annie laughs. "So they're all anal kazoo answers?"
Pauline shakes her head. "My dad saying embarrassing dirty things. The family. The get together. Oh, and the flinging of the steamy hot diarrhea."
Everyone stares at me. "I didn't write, it swear!" Then I glance over at Annie. "Gee, I wonder who wrote, 'my dad saying embarrassing things'?"
Annie, ever the Cheshire cat, grins and holds her hands over the baby in her belly.
I hold the anal kazoo to my lips and try to speak instead of blow. Suddenly, it makes an actual noise. "Look, I got it to play!" I cry out. "I'm an anal kazoo expert!"
I get the laughter I crave and then we dive into the important work of guessing the correct answers. Rainy day or not, the best part of the day has just begun, for me. Friends, games and laughter, and just a whiff of the scatological. That's heaven, at least to me.