You Filthy Socialist

My sister and I are very different people except in one key area. We’re both rotten, filthy socialists.

Like many Mid-Western families who have barely ever existed outside of a 50 mile radius from where we grew up (“Hey, that’s not fair,” my uncle shouts! “I’ve been outside a 50 mile radius of here, like that one time we had our honeymoon in Florida!” True, my aunt and uncle honeymooned at my “snow bird” grandparent’s winter home in a retirement age-only trailer park outside of Tampa, FL. I digress.) Like many Mid-Western families, we have a very large “extended family” made up of loads of family friends who are not actually related to us but we still refer to them as “cousins” and “uncles”, some might say they are “framily.”

One day, not long after my sister had returned from a 2 month study abroad in New Zealand, the “framily” had gathered for our annual reunion. Everyone wanted to hear about how my sister’s New Zealand adventure was. What was her favorite thing? Least favorite? Funny stories? etc. My sister, who is quite indecisive about most things (it’s a family trait) mentioned that her favorite thing was going grocery shopping. Unlike in America, where mega grocery stores and supermarkets embedded within SuperWalmarts can paralyze an indecisive person with 900 choices of cereal, 12 brands of identical milk, and 23 types of sugar (you know, in case our cereal isn’t already sugary enough), grocery stores in New Zealand present a simpler way of life. You can choose between Cheerios and Corn Flakes, cow’s milk or goat’s milk, and white or brown sugar. The whole grocery store was the size of a typical American ice cream aisle. “It was so relaxing, to just walk in, know exactly what I was going to buy, and walk out 10 minutes later with no regrets or fears that I chose the wrong one,” my sister noted. “I wish we had stores like that here.”

Everyone around the table was thinking about it, nodding their heads, “You know, you’re right, that does sound kind of nice sometimes! Shopping can be overwhelming with all the options here.”

Then, out of nowhere, like a bald eagle diving down to catch a piece of bacon (because ‘Murrica), Aunt L. starts up. “How could you POSSIBLY be so un-American?? You must know that our military fought and died for our freedoms, especially the freedom to have every option available, whatever we wanted, including 900 cereal options! And you’re just going to take that for granted and wish you didn’t have American freedom?” Then, turning to my mother, “How DARE you raise a filthy socialist child? What were you THINKING??

I, of course, couldn’t be prouder of my sister, who held her own when a giant argument ensued, the two of us against Aunt L, while everyone watched with confused looks. She now thinks that we are a bad influence on her precious children and has lots of excuses for not hanging around. Everyone in the “framily” seems to be fine with this.


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