Friday, January 21, 2011

What Kind of Christmas would it be without King Henry VIII?

I wrote a few holiday posts back in December but am only just now editing them. Thus, I'm finishing my holiday posts in January! That's pretty good! January is not too far moved from December....

There is a rather immature quote that I have heard about how you can pick your nose but you cannot pick your relatives. I'm certainly glad that you can't choose your relatives because then I might not have ended up with the bunch of characters that I've inherited.

When we all convene, usually around the holidays, we have absurdly enjoyable conversations. I say absurdly because we rarely discuss anything relevant, useful or even anything that we are qualified to have opinions about. This is especially true of my mother who makes many adamant, yet as far as I can tell baseless, assertions like "There are no cows in Sweden!" Despite all of that (perhaps because of it), we manage to talk for hours. One of our most popular topics of discussion is the British Royal Family. Yes. The British Royal Family. Some families talk small talk, some talk politics, some sports. Mine discusses long-dead English Sovereigns about which we know precious little. Our favorite is King Henry VIII and his ilk.

Most of this discussion stems from a lengthy biography that my mother read and then passed onto me. It was about doting husband Henry and all of his lucky ladies. Even though we both read this, for years we've been discussing whether or not Mary Queen of Scots is different from Bloody Mary. This was clearly covered in the book but we could never keep it straight. It has been like a version of the film Groundhog's Day. Yes! Turns out they are different people! Something we have discovered many times because year after year we could never remember what we'd established the year before. Now we've finally settled the matter of the two Marys. Even my sister's boyfriend, God bless him, knows the difference. Which says a lot about how thoroughly this matter has been discussed because this fellow is no history buff. (Though he is very nice and I kid you not, he invented the Justin Bieber haircut. He should have patented it!)

So, we've moved on to discussing what claim Mary Queen of Scots had to the English throne. We haven't quite gotten to the bottom of this one yet- though my mom did print out "required reading" for us this year which examines the matter. Probably in another 5 years we'll have moved onto something else. In the meantime we are making a lot of unsubstantiated claims and verbally remixing sound bites from the history channel outside of their original context.

I can't explain why, but this quirkiness makes me smile. Everyone was created so uniquely. I can't say that this uniqueness of ours is particularly helpful to anyone. But it makes me feel like everyone can fit somewhere.

This might be a roundabout way to get here but these thoughts remind me of part of a Bible verse: "God sets the solitary in families." Ps. 68:6 And certainly, even if you can't feel at home with your wacky relatives, you can be accepted by God in Christ. And perhaps He will even give you people you can call family who don't constantly discuss dead British monarchs, if that's not your bag. After all, perhaps you're a francophile.

As for me, the holidays just would not be the same without a lively (yet mostly ignorant) discussion of those dead Britons.


Anonymous said...

This one really cracks me up!! You are right! You have some of the nuttiest people as relatives and they have some equally nutty friends and we all have a great time laughing until our sides ache or one of us wets their pants (I actually think that is usually me, a non-relative). I love your British chats and always will although I never have anything intelligent to add. Thanks for this one. Terry

Anonymous said...

Yes, discussing the royal British monarchy is a joyful time, I have not brought up the subject that someone does not have an opinion that does not bring a chuckle from another participant. It is truly a lively conversation and makes people keep their googleing aparatus close at hand so they can quickly gain more information to add to the mix. And, one day we will have it all figured out, I hope we will be discussing this same subject when baby John is able to add his 2 pence worth!

Erin said...

Have you read the Phillipa Gregory series on Henry? Very interesting twists there

Peter and Leslie said...

Terry, you don't have to worry about having anything intelligent to add! None of us do! I'm glad you liked the post. :o)

Anonymous (Don or mom?), John will assuredly be able to put his 2 pence in soon. He will not be my mother's grandchild if he doesn't have an opinion of those Britons early on! (I fear she'll write us out of the will if chain mail isn't among his first words.)


I have not read Phillipa Gregory, but my mother has read several of her books. I have heard good things about them. I'll have to pick one up someday soon (always too many good books to read and not enough time...).