Sometimes my life is a TV sitcom. Family-friendly comedies constructed my middle-class childhood, but they were nothing like the ones that air new episodes today. The shows that remind me most of my own life are not the ones with all the mainstream glitz and glamour.
Like sitcoms, family reunions have brought out the best and worst of us. I’ll never forget the 2000 reunion where I realized that my branch of the family tree was a rerun of Good Times and my cousins were the reality show version of The Cosby Show. They say the apple never falls too far from the tree, but you can’t compare apples to oranges.
My grandfather was one of seven children, half of whom moved north in the 1970’s for better job opportunities. That decision is still reaping benefits. Yes, there’s really a physician married to a lawyer in my family, up North. I know the gene pool is similar, but vast differences arose between the southern and the northern halves. The southern branches of the family have elementary campus security guards married to middle school teachers.
Job titles don’t diminish the respect I have for my side of the family whatsoever. All branches of our tree distinguish ourselves through morality, integrity and Christ-centeredness. But, it was always a plus to practice my George Jefferson strut when we were “moving on up.” I walked with my head so high in the sky after my mom’s completion of her master’s degree from TCU, I almost tripped.
Even though “we finally got a piece of the pie,” our series wasn’t cancelled yet. In 2008 there was another variety show reunion that brought me back down to Earth. One cousin had just finished his bachelor’s degree from Harvard, and my closest distant relative (as contradictory as that sounds) was about to enter pre-med at the University of Michigan. Did I mention she’s a Wolverine cheerleader, too? Oh well, I would attend school in the West to study journalism – because we all know there’s high paying jobs there. Not.
The day I came to ACU, I knew I was in foreign territory. Welcome Week was like stepping into a scene from Happy Days, and my potluck roommate was nothing short of a Richie Cunningham. We didn’t blend as well as the Brady Bunch, but as the Good Times theme song goes, “keepin’ your head above water, makin’ a wave when you can”; that’s exactly what I do. The next line is “temporary lay offs” and as a student working on campus I go through that, too. But nonetheless, “ain’t we lucky we got ‘em? Good times.”
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