The reunions and the black eye

sense of humor

black eyeWe’ll get to the black eye soon enough.

Saturday through Monday, the weekend after Independence Day, my wife, my mother-in-law, and I went to see folks in the Binghamton, NY, area.

Saturday night, we first saw a cousin of my wife’s and her husband. They couldn’t make the Olin reunion. We talked about whether their property was actually… haunted? They made a good circumstantial case for it.

Sunday morning, we saw a bridesmaid at our wedding; we were in her wedding with her husband of 20 years. In November 2021, we rendezvoused with them in Oneonta, roughly halfway between Albany and Binghamton. But before that, it had been years. The guy had a new job where he finally felt appreciated; his previous workplace sucketh mightily, something I know about.

Sunday afternoon, we had the Olin reunion. These are my MIL’s people, whose genealogy goes back to the late 17th century in the US. I’ve described it briefly here. (There’s a cute pic of my kid from a decade ago; just noting.)

After the reunion, one of my oldest friends, Carol, who I’ve known since before my wife Carol was born, came to the reunion site. She met my MIL, and then MIL and my wife left while my friend Carol and I talked for about three hours about everything before she dropped me off at the hotel.

What about the black eye?

Yeah, right. The Friday morning before the reunion, my wife announced that she would go for a walk for about a half hour. Great, I’ll check my email and maybe start a blog post. Less than 20 minutes later, she was back. She had bruises on her knees, knuckles, and face.

She had been talking to a neighbor about a cat. As she walked away, she turned back to say goodbye and tripped over an uneven slab of a sidewalk two doors down from our house. Her sunglasses broke; I’m not sure if they were the cause of the black eye under her right eye, the cut on her right cheek, or both. Regardless, I got her some ice, as our daughter and I helped patch her up.

Eventually, she went to the local urgent care folks. They decided stitches were not warranted but did more cleaning up. She also got a tetanus shot since she couldn’t remember the last time she had gotten one.

The interesting thing about black eyes is that they go through colorful phases. Initially black and blue, with a hint of red, they morph into shades of green, gray, and yellow.

The one thing that really bugged me about the weekend mentioned above is that no fewer than five people “joked” about me giving my wife a black eye. “Did you give her a black eye?” or the like. The first time, I groaned. The subsequent times, I’d say, “That’s two.” “That’s three…”

Here’s the thing. I was CERTAIN – should have bet money on it – that someone would say that, even though, or probably BECAUSE they knew I had not, and would not hit my wife in the face. Person #5 tried to explain that there’s such a problem with domestic violence in this country. Yes. I. Know. That. This is why it irritated me so.


The Thursday morning after the reunions, I walked into my office and tripped over the suitcase I had not yet fully unpacked. I hit my chin, cut my right pinkie finger, banged my left wrist, and scraped my right arm. We then had matching bruises on our right knees. That afternoon, at a birthday party, time #6 of “What did you do to your wife?”

Some people GOT my irritation. Friend Carol did. The adult daughter of the birthday celebrant got it. And I appreciated that.

A person at the birthday party asked me if I’ve always had such a good sense of humor, a question I had no idea how to answer. But there are some things I just don’t find funny at all.

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