Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Guys Rule, For Now . . .

Growing up, we were nine girls (including my two foster sisters, who spent most of their childhood and adolescence with us) to three boys. The ratio of 3 to 1 changed first with my brother's death and then again with my foster sister's, but it was still an estrogen-dominated household. These guys, my brothers Joel and Miles, holding a space between them for my brother Chris (who would now be almost 52, unbelievable!) are veterans of those gender wars.

But how things have changed in the next generation. While my daughters (shown below with their brother in the background) seemed to establish a female-dominant pattern of grandchildren, 1-2-3 girls in a row, there was a sea change shortly after. And that sea change was very obvious here at the seaside this weekend.
My nephews Chris and Nate, who eschewed the violence of their father's preferred sport, rugby, and chose to play the non-contact Lacrosse instead (hah!) -- they're both Minto Cup players and winners. This nephew below, Ryan, is a someday Minto Cup player, I'm sure, with some impressive wins behind him already.His brother Jon, meanwhile, on the right below, has teamed up with red-hoodie cousin, Jeff, below and red-hoodie's younger brother Sean to form a rock band, The Knots. (At least one song was written, start to finish, here this weekend, and several more may have been inspired -- I'm pretty pleased about that!)Most of these pics, by the way, are borrowed from family members' facebook pages (thanks to Pete, Rachel, and Megan)
All these guys below-- and yes, they're walking 'round my neighbourhood with beers in their hand, enhancing my reputation, don't you know! -- bear the surname I grew up with, the only ones of us who do. (I know, the feminist thing would have been for all of us to keep it, but that wasn't happening too much when I got married in '74, and besides, you haven't heard my surname . . . )
Still not evidence enough of testosterone domination for you? Well, what about the hacky-sacking?
Not convincing. Well, there's the impromptu log-hurling competition . . .
or what about the tire-rolling, also impromptu, at a neighbour's beachfront (I'm laying low for a few days, wonder why . . . )
Of course, this is not to say that the guys can't enjoy quieter moments, as when this guy, quite capable of rocking out on his drum kit (he anchors The Knots), sets his sights on whatever appeals. . .
or this guy (my son) communes with his wee niece.

And of course they're always open to a woman's influence -- I suspect Nate will eventually do better than this neighbour's welcoming mannequin (always beautifully dressed for the season from the local thrift shop)
This nephew, Jeffrey, a handsome young RCMP officer (whose parents and brother couldn't make it), brought this young woman to meet the gang, and she's helping bring gender balance to their generation of our family (as is my son's girlfriend who, sadly, couldn't be with us)l

Already there are two young women joining in with the guys, and some of the guys have joined with their partners elsewhere -- my SIL, for example, was probably hanging with my grand-daughter at this point and Son-out-of-law was helping in the kitchen (he's a cook, yeah!) (a 3rd daughter's partner was on a road trip with his dad)Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying here -- I know many young women who could log hurl and hacky-sack and tire roll and play competitive lacrosse and rock out with the best of them. I'm just saying that on my island, this weekend, the switch from a female to a male majority was pretty obvious in the choice of activities. And, as I say, I suspect that as this generation comes of age, the balance will probably shift once again.
In the meantime, the old guys savour the solidarity . . .


  1. I just love these pictures, and the obvious bond and affinity your family has. What a marvelous weekend this must have been!

  2. How lucky you are to have a big family around you. My family can be counted by the fingers on one hand. I do have cousins, but due to many misunderstandings and decisions my parents made, my contact with my relatives has been very limited. Same thing with my hb´s relatives. The first time after about 40 years I saw some of them, was at my mothers funeral. We have grown apart totally. I won´t be meeting them again.

  3. What a grand family reunion with everyone so comfortable and having a good time. Coming from families who were happy to flee and never see each other again your family pictures always seem to show the joy of what a family could and should be.

  4. I just KNEW it would be a fun weekend! Great family, you are very lucky (I know you know this). Patricia

  5. No need to lie low, Frances -- at least your closest neighbours were not disturbed at all. It's true that the hacky-sacking and log-hurling gave us a moment's pause, but it was also pretty entertaining, and the guitar music was great. What's more,there were no sleep disturbances whatsoever. No need to set the dogs on you!
    It looked like a great gathering, and you do have a wonderful family. I very much admire your style and panache -- and stamina!! -- with all of this.
    With admiration,

  6. If anyone reading this blog wonders what life is like (well, leisure time) on our West Coast, you have provided an alluring window! Looks like a wonderful time, for both sexes and all generations.

    Now what WAS your maiden surname, I am curious!

  7. we are lucky! thanks for presenting this take and lending your house and island as it turned out to us for the weekend. Sounds like your neighbours were okay with it which I think is the green light to plan the next one...

  8. As one of the family members unable to attend I have to say the pictures sure tell me how much I missed. So happy that at least 1 son and his lovely girlfriend got to attend. Sure wish the timing could have included us but maybe next time. Thanks for posting the lovely pictures.

  9. LPC, Pseu: It was fun -- I hope there will be many more.
    Metscan: It's an advantage of a Catholic background -- although I must say, I have 100 or so cousins and I haven't seen any for years (my mother and father each had nine siblings -- I have about 50 cousins on each side.) And luckily, although we've had a squabble or two through the years, there's never been anything we couldn't overcome.
    Mardel/Patricia: Yes, I know we're very, very lucky -- plus we had the example of my dad, who really instilled in us, especially through his last years as a cancer patient, the value of what we had together.
    Carol: Besides my good luck in my family, I'm very, very lucky in my neighbours. It was wonderful to see Charlotte so very happy with her new puppy, and if you did have to set the dogs on us, I'd be happy to deal with that little one.
    Duchesse: We certainly made the most of our location.
    And my maiden name isn't really that bad -- Schmidt -- but there are all those Schmidt house jokes. Besides,we were the only ones to have that name of all my relatives -- in England throughout the 20th century and into the present, my rellies are all Smiths, but when my dad joined the Merchant Marines he found that legally he was still Schmidt -- despite the unpopularity of a German name in 1941, he decided not to bother changing it. So I never felt it was something to hang on to. . .
    Hilary: I'd be happy to make it an annual or perhaps biennial event.
    Miriam: You, Jack, and Bryce were very much missed, but it was lovely to be able to meet Sheena. She had Jeff seem very happy together -- he's a great guy, and I know you must be very proud of him.

  10. What a wonderful (if testosterone-heavy) clan! That kind of gathering is definitely my idea of fun.

  11. What an amazing brood. I suppose brood means specifically the children you gave birth to. What an amazing...other word meaning family.

  12. Tiffany, it was such fun!
    And Thomas, is Tiff's word "clan" a good one for you? (and your Scot heritage?) or tribe? -- we're pretty amazing, I have to agree, if simply in size . . .

  13. Oh, and Thom, so good to have you back! Can't wait to hear all about your trip.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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