chapter v: the green green grass of home

Like many immigrants, myeck's parents, though always mindful of the many wonderful opportunities America would have offered if only they could figure it out, often missed being in the Old Country. And nothing made them more homesick than knowing it was time for the rituals and festivites that made up the annual family gathering back home. 
Specifically, his mother's family gathering. Although his immigrant father also had a family, it was a criminal one, and they followed the ancient custom of attending other families' gatherings and forcibly making themselves welcome. In fact, myeck's parents met this way.   

Relatives would come from miles around for the annual gathering.

After his family attended her family's gathering three years in a row, a quarrel broke out and his family, seriously outnumbered and frantically looking for an excuse, declared that the two children were in love, and the fact that they only saw each other once a year represented a particularly cautious and respectful approach to courtship on his part.

Touched, the girl's family immediately broke out their impressive collection of ornate ceremonial shotguns and arranged a lavish wedding and reception, featuring at least one bite of chicken for each guest and a generous gift of a honeymoon abroad, including First-Class, one-way accommodations on a Cunard Liner.

Confused by the alien culture of the new land in which they found themselves unceremoniously dumped by the ship's crew, the newlyweds struggled for many years to adapt. But the move was not without its compensations.

myeck's mother had been tormented by an idle rumor passed between the women of her town. Although totally unfounded, the suggestion that she was a pot head created a scandal that refused to completely die.

Typical of the attacks was this anonymous drawing illustrating her supposed fondness for ceramic ware.

Although she responded by trying to live a virtuous life, her efforts were doomed to failure both by the refusal of the townspeople to accept her and by the simple fact that living a virtuous life was essentially impossible in that part of the world. 

In America, she was delighted to discover that she had finally found a way to leave her troubled past behind her. Here was a new land, a land full of people whose ancestors had, like her, been kicked out of their own homelands; people who didn't care what the gossips back home had said; people who, in fact, had no idea her homeland even existed and probably couldn't find it on a map if you stuck a pin in it and poked it in their eye. In short, Americans.