Bribery and Great Uncle Rye

The parents text me Saturday. “Are you coming to Great Uncle Rye’s family reunion?”

I put down my phone and walked away.

They text me again. The same question.

I can picture mom sitting in her favorite chair on a Saturday evening, frowning at the phone. The folds of her skin getting thicker, the creases deeper between her eye brows as the minutes very slowly pass without a response.

We’ve had this conversation. Great Uncle Rye lives in Utah. We have a lot of family in Utah. A lot of family “friends” in Utah. Family is everything to them. So every family gathering is almost a requirement even if we don’t really know this part of the family well or their “friends.”

Am I going?

No. Last time I went, we all pretended to have a great time. You had Great Uncle Rye with his family and friends on one side of the park, our family in the middle, and other “friends” of the family with their “friends” on the other side. Awkward hellos and how are yous that petered away like the last swallow of milk from the jug into fidgety silence.

Reluctantly, almost 30 minutes later, I text mom back: “No, we have plans.”

I’ve learned to never let them know what those plans or excuses are as they will almost always find solutions to them. It’s far better to give no reason than some reason. Then, they can’t muscle–er–talk you into it.

That, “No, we have plans,” caused two days of silence, pouting silence, where she doesn’t answer her texts even about the latest Netflix addiction.

It’s probably time to send her a gift card to her favorite restaurant. Bribery has worked in the past.


I prefer private conversation. You are more than welcome to email me in lieu of a comment or contact me via social media.

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