Lowcountry Surrealism, Sundays, 6PM on A&E

Just had the most surreal freaking experience of my entire life. Well, one of the top five anyway. I have a fairly small immediate family. Being the only child, I have myself and the standard two parents, divorced. My Mom is also an only child, and she comes with the standard two quirky grandparents, one of whom is still with us. My Dad also came with the standard two grandparents, less quirky, though. However, he has an older sister.

Here’s where things get, well, bigger. Aunt Joan has what is to me a very large family, including four kids, Cindy, Kristin, Karen, and Bubba. (You knew there had to be a Bubba in there, right? :-) ) Anyway, I never did spend as much time with them as probably would have been good for me. I mean, it was usually understood that I was invited, with my Dad and Mom, to Christmas parties, showers, weddings, funerals, etc., etc. I never really spent more time than that with them, as a rule. For a while as a kid, though, I spent a good bit of time at Aunt Joan’s house, since a year or two after Grandmom died, Grandaddy moved into a room made spare by someone going off to college.

I remember that house and those times as fairly good. He’d pick me up after school a few miles closer to town and we’d head back to Aunt Joan’s. After a short time, people would start coming home. Aunt J was a school secretary for the high school that I knew that I would wind up going to, so usually by the midafternoon, she’d come home. Cindy and Kristin, the daughters who were still at home, would often be there, too. Sometimes Cindy and I would gang up on Grandaddy and con him into going to get burgers at McDonalds, or we’d go to her & Kristin’s room and play with her records (Boy George, Cindy Lauper, and so forth) and she’d do my hair and makeup. Sometimes Kristin would come home from school with her friend Kevin. We’d sit in the little den, Grandaddy, Kristin, Kevin and me, watching soaps (General Hospital, as I recall) and talking or playing with their dogs Buttons and Pup-o.

Kevin and Kristin were pretty much inseparable for a long time, and the day came when they decided to get married. I was asked to stand with the guest book at their wedding reception in a fancy local reception hall downtown to be sure everyone signed. I always felt good about Kevin, since even though I was a lot younger tht he was and probably a bit of a nerd, he never made me feel like I wasn’t welcome or that he didn’t like me.

Fast forward about 20 years. I’m sitting on the sofa at home with my husband, putting off painting the last coat of primer in the library room for a couple of hours. I was flipping through stations and ran across the show my parents had been telling me to watch for a while now. It’s called Flip This House and comes on A&E on Sundays at 6PM. It’s your fairly standard real estate reality TV show, where a quirky yet kind hearted real estate broker buys, fixes up, and flips property accompanied by his band of wacky sidekicks who work to make it all happen.

Sounds like pretty tame fare, right? Except here’s the mind-blowing part: Kevin is one of the wacky sidekicks. Here you go, look, this is his head shot from the show’s website.

My cousin-in-law Kevin

My cousin-in-law Kevin

Keep in mind I’ve known this guy most of my life. And there he is on national TV, in his bathroom, (where I’ve partaken of the facilities, mind you!) hurrying his daughters up, nagging them about why they have to take so much girly stuff with them on their vacation, and why don’t they have one-piece bathing suits, and so help me god, frying an egg directly on roofing shingles he installs on a house and then eats it, let me repeat once again, on national TV.

Surrrrreal.

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