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So in case you didn't know, my Mom's side of the family is composed almost entirely of white trash, with very few exceptions. Some of the extended family isn't white, some of them aren't trash, but for the most part, they are. There's also a metric fuckton of family that I am not familiar with because that's what happens when grandparents divorce and remarry other people more than once, while also having kids along the way. So there's a shitsquillion people on my mom's side that have nothing to do with me-- her step brothers, half brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles-- people who'd probably see me and say "you're so big now! I knew you when you were little!" that I don't know.

The family I do know from that side is pretty straight forward;
Grandma Mona
Grandpa Fred
Uncle Paul
Aunty Wendy
Aunty Leslie
Cousin "Tonnie" Tanya
Cousin Katie
Cousin Lindsey
And the rarely seen Uncle Gene.

Those are the people directly related to my grandma, except for Lindsey and Wendy. Wendy moved in with Paul, and Lindsey was her daughter from a previous relationship. Uncle Paul and Aunty Wendy is its own sordid pile of stupid, so I won't go into it here. What I wanna talk about is my Aunty Leslie.

Aunty Leslie is a character. To hear my mom say it, her older sister Leslie used to be the most beautiful girl in their whole podunk town. She was smart, had gorgeous red hair, and had to beat boys off with a stick.

This is not the Leslie I know. The Leslie I know is a nice (to me) gambling addicted alcoholic smoker who looks like she's 65 despite being only a couple years older than my mom. She taught me to play poker and most of the nastier curse words I know, so of course she was super cool (if scary). These days, she mostly makes me feel sorta sad. During the time of this story, Leslie was living in a tiny trailer that was on cinder blocks behind my grandma's house, in front of the woods on their land.

When I was a kid, about ten, we went to visit. We said our hello's to grandma and grandpa, and then went out back to see Leslie. She was sitting down, smoking a cigarette, with a big bandage on her leg.

"What happened?" I asked.

"Got my leg hurt," she said. "Stupid shit."

"Okeedokee," I said.

It wasn't until later, when we were having lunch with my grandma that I learned the whole story.

Here's what had happened:

It was night. Two police cars pulled over to deal with another car. All of them had gotten out of their vehicle to talk to this other person. I have no idea what the dude did to warrant two cars worth of cops (I think there was like three or four officers?) to get out and talk to him, but thank God they had, because a minute after the officers had gotten clear of their own cars, in comes Leslie like a speeding, drunken bullet. She didn't even try to stop, that's how schnockered she was. She smashed straight into that first cop car and totaled it-- completely accordioned. It smashed into the other one and fucked that up, too.

The cops were fine, so was the dude they had pulled over. Leslie was fine except for her leg, which had a fist-sized hole in the calf.

They didn't arrest her immediately. In the words of my mother, if they had arrested her at the scene, her medical bills would've bankrupted the entire town of Cottonwood. Instead, they arrested her after she got out of the hospital, and even then they didn't send her to jail. Presumably they looked at her shitty little trailer, looked at her fucked up leg, and figured house arrest would suffice.

Later during that visit, all of us except Leslie-- my mom, Wendy, Paul, Grandma, Grandpa, me, my little brother and sister, cousin Tonnie, Cousin Katie, and Cousin Lindsey-- all went to the local fair. There wasn't much going on at the fair-- it wasn't a rides and games kind of fair, but a vegetables-of-unusual-size and farm animals kind. However, in the center of the fair, up and front right when you came in, was a rope fence surrounding a crumpled up police car.

The signs next to the car said roughly, "this was caused by a driver under the influence. Don't drink and drive."

The whole family stopped to look at it and essentially shake their heads and tell us kids to never be like Aunty Leslie. My uncle made a comment about how stupid it was, and some teenager sweeping up nearby told him,

"I did that."

The adults laughed, and my uncle said, "No you didn't, my sister did that!"

The kid, who in retrospect was probably stoned, said, "duuuude, no way! Awesome. She live?"

"Yeah, she's still around."

Which about sums it up. Yeah, she's still around.

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