Mar 5, 2005

We didn't have a family, we had a clan

We were standing at the fence along side the softball diamond, Val, Dave and me with our fingers in the chain link watching dad's team in the dugout spitting sesame seed shells.

Mike was just born, we were still getting meals delivered from friends, and dad had decided to make it to the softball game and get us out of the house. So, mid-May evening with the sun setting long shadows to right field and the players pulling their caps down over their eyes, we're standing there at the fence watching the end of the game and one of the guys turns to us and says Heeeey, it's the Silliman clan.

The men laughed and Dad turned and said, Hey guys. I had to ask him later what a 'clan' was. I kind of liked the sound of it, the difference of it and the way that laughter was a little nervous.

When people couldn't just call us a family, because we were more than that, because they thought of family it terms of nuclear family, that, we would say later, was when we gave up being normal. It was the end, I would say, of the minivan experiment and Val and Dave would laugh because we never had a minivan but when everyone else was driving minivans we drove the weirdest, wildest, and funniest family cars. The minivans was mostly a symbol, though, of what we didn't have: We didn't have games, we had tournaments. We didn't have fights, we had wars. We didn't have dinners, we had feasts. We didn't have meetings, we had councils.

We didn't have it normal, we had more than that. It made us, I think, gluttonous for life.