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As ever, I am looking forward to my annual trip home to the Frozen White North for the Christmas/Festivus season.

Traditionally, and by that I mean, of late, as in the past few years, it’s been me and The Mom for a few days, then Crazy D comes home, stays for a few days, then it’s back to just the two of us until I fly back to the UK. This year, however, it will be a completely full house, or in The Mom’s case, a full nest.

L’il Sis moved in a month or two ago, and Crazy D did the same around the same time. And with them, of course, they brought more stuff than The Mom could imagine. And, apparently, L’il Sis has spent most of her not at work time sorting all of this out, and by that I mean of course, she’s been hiding it in cupboards we never open, and in the depths of the basement.

I have been getting essentially blow by blow accounts of all of this activity from The Mom.

Emails along the lines of: You’ll never guess where we put your sister’s big green chair!!!!!

Or: Why does your brother need three bicycles and have only one pair of trousers??!!!

The exclamation marks are key. I’ve long since learned to ignore them, as that sort of excessive punctuation drives me crazy. But in a way, it’s good preparation for what I’m about to experience.

Now, Crazy D, as The Mom has noted in her previous post, has just returned from deepest, darkest Africa, a continent he has been desperate to visit since forever. He has always felt, in some way, that it would be his spiritual home. It’s because of the drumming, you see. He’s always been a fan of the drumming and the many drums that come out of Africa. Never mind that it’s a hot, sunny place, he’s seemed willing to overlook that in favour of all else Africa has to offer.

I’m pleased he got to go and I’m even more pleased about the stories he’ll return with. His work takes him to interesting places, and because he is Crazy D (we’re not the only people who refer to him as that), something Wild & Crazy tends to happen. So I’m looking forward to hearing about that.

What will be more interesting is watching The Mom, who will have heard all the stories a few days before I return home, prompt him and goad him into telling what she deems to be the highlights of his trip. It’s like the conversational equivalent of an all request hour on the radio. It’ll drive him nuts, but he’ll do his best to humour her.

When I start asking questions about the reaction to Mandela’s death, she’ll quickly change her tune.

“Why must you insist on asking depressing questions? He’s been in a jungle with gorillas for crying out loud!!!!!”

And this is, fundamentally, where we differ. I , too, want to hear strange tales involving gorillas and whatever else he’s run into, but I also want to know what Africa’s like, if it was what he thought it would be, what the people were like that he met, and what it was like to be somewhere like that when Mandela passed. He wasn’t in South Africa, but still.

He knows I like this sort of thing, and in fact, when he was in New York, years after the towers fell, he brought me something that was very touching, very historical, and brimming over with a story. This time, I asked him to bring me a pebble, so we shall indeed see if he’s remembered, or if he found something else, that’s even better.

The Mom likes the laugh out loud ridiculous stories that, in most circles, Crazy D is known for. And I like those too. But I also like the other ones.

So, in less than a week, when I’m sat at The Mom’s kitchen table, and she’s prodding him for the best story, and reminding him how he told it the first time, I’ll smile and laugh, of course, knowing that when The Mom retires for the evening, there will be a slightly different conversation.