I headed back to the barn in April or so, when the cold weather broke. Next thing I knew it was Memorial Day weekend, a year after buryin’ my dad, when all these people showed up—my younger brother Joel and my old college friends from Arizona, my older brother Lance and his girlfriend from San Francisco, my sister Lynn and her boyfriend from Boston, my cousins and uncle…and it was a big blast. Limbo party. Much tequila.
All this time I had been climbin’ up and down a ladder to get upstairs, and at the last minute I thought, this is ridiculous. I put the staircase together the day before they all arrived. I really didn’t take any time to design it or anything else—just took what old salvaged barn wood I had, measured it out, cut it, put it up—all in one afternoon, and that’s what’s there now.
It was also that weekend that I got the call from the realtor in Atlantic City that said eh yeah, the deal’s done, you’re the proud owner of a tumble-down shack in Ventnor, New Jersey. So, the party was partly a celebration of that.
Joel ended up stayin’ for the whole summer—got a job at the hospital down in St. Mary’s, lived up in the farmhouse. But it was a bummer ’cause it was the first summer in years that I wasn’t here. I had gone down to take possession of the beach house and started workin’ on it.
I did come up a couple times over the summer and hung out with Joel, just for a few days. But he was here by himself, first time he’d been back in like ten years.
So that weekend, Memorial Day 2000, was the last time all four of us kids, siblings, were ever all together at the same time.
And it was here.