By Gail Nott



Thanks to the information highway, I recently made contact with family members I haven’t heard from in thirty-five years. When you have sixteen aunts and uncles, twenty-four cousins and God knows how many first cousins, it is mind boggling that I was able to remain hidden for so long.

When the first E-mail arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to have been found. I was looking forward to learning about college graduations, home purchases, births and juicy gossip. Perhaps it is a generational thing, but I was unprepared for the news I received. “Uncle Joe has hemorrhoids, Preparation H just isn’t working.” “Aunt Mildred’s Foley catheter keeps falling out, duct tape won’t hold it.” “Bert and Agnes had to move their trailer; the power company said they could not hang clothes on the tower.” “Pappy is in the county jail, says he never had a drivers license and he’d be damned if he’d license his hunting dogs!” This was too much information!

Operating under the misconception that the family wanted a rational response to these quandaries, I responded, “A rubber donut might help Uncle Joe; a waistband of elastic might hold the catheter; a length of rope from the trailer to the tower would hold clothes; and the family could chip in and buy Pappy’s dog licenses.”

Much too quickly, I received the next E-mail. “Uncle Joe tried sitting on a donut but they keep flattening out. We tried Uncle Fred’s suspenders but they keep breaking loose and hitting Aunt Mildred in the face. Bert is recovering real well from the electrical burns; we think it was from the wire he strung from the trailer to the tower. Family decided to leave Pappy in jail but sold the dogs.”

Ex-patriots try to be helpful to each other. Having a computer in a small Mexican village is the same as having the only swimming pool in town. The cheapskates show up at my house to have me send E-mails to their families. “Kids, dad’s scorpion bite wasn’t too bad, he’ll be off the respirator soon. Helen thanks for the tip about Viagra, blood pressure is good, sex is great. No, I will not send you money for an airplane ticket to Paris till you get off welfare!” I understand international telephone calls are expensive but they still send telegrams don’t they?

I don’t have much hope that the frequency of E-mails from my family will diminish. My plan is to confuse the hell out of them by moving back to the U.S. and let them try to find me again.

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