Despite her unflinching devotion to The Inmates (or perhaps because of it), Uncle Chester is their favorite target for abuse. To hear them tell it, she would make the top of any magazine's "Most Stupid" list, her fashion sense may put Vera Wang in a sanitarium, and her sole chance at financial stability is winning the lottery (and then only if she can figure out how to color in the little numbered circles on the form).
This past Sunday we finally made it to Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo, the last night the event was running. We figure we were either very late this season or very early for the 2011 season. Naturally we were left with a night with temperatures in the 20s and a biting wind that cut through our clothing. We all bundled up in our warmest hats and gloves and coats and socks. Now, let me state right now that my mother is a fabulous crafts person and sews wonderful quilts and clothes and aprons and wall hangings. She also made herself a fleece hood that buttons under her chin and which she wears on those extremely cold, windy nights like the night we went to the zoo. Any other time you can't get a hat on that woman's head, but for extreme temperatures she'll bundle up. My mother looks cute in her hood. She really does. Sadly, she also made a similar hood for Uncle Chester and, well, it just doesn't work the same way.
As soon as Uncle Chester stepped out of the van and secured her hood, the insults started. The Inmates questioned if she really intended to wear that garment in public, where she obtained such a monstrosity, and whether she actually intended to walk next to them. Shortly after entering the zoo, however, Foghorn took an entrepreneurial approach to her embarrassment. She began hollering, like an old-time carny advertising a girly show, "Who wants to see Little Red Riding Hood? Only $5!" She didn't get any takers but she did get some amused glances.
The Professor didn't particularly want to draw attention to Uncle Chester or her proximity to the rest of us. Foghorn, on the other hand, was either shouting her sales pitch or loudly insisting that the various animals we were seeing were in fact statues and not real. Even the Komodo Dragon was supposedly a fake even though it obviously blinked during view. While I would have preferred she kept her voice down, it was still less humiliating than our trip to the lifesize Nativity scene at Krohn Conservatory. Uncle Chester tried to point out the various statues and Foghorn roared, "I know! That's Mary, that's Joseph, that's Donner, and that's Cupid." Thankfully we're not church goers. At best they'd try to save her. At worst they'd call in an exorcist.
By the time we got in line for the train ride, Foghorn had tired of verbally abusing Chester and went the physical route instead. She gave Chester the occasional kick in the shins or punch in the stomach. Of course Chester then reciprocated and I thought I was going to have to separate those two. Since Uncle Chester only stands a hair over 4'10", I've often wondered if people at a distance comment on that husky kid beating up on that skinny little girl. Foghorn got the last word, so to speak, when she gave Chester a right hook to the "boobage", causing a yelp of pain from the victim and a giggle from the woman standing behind us.
For some reason The Inmates' father, The Vulcan, doesn't usually come along to these kinds of family outings. I really don't know why...
You might also be interested in:
* MEET THE INMATES -- "FOGHORN"
* MEET THE INMATES -- "THE PROFESSOR"