An all black anticlimax

Hayden Meikle, the Otago Daily Times’ rugby correspondent, will have to eat some serious humble pie: just three days ago he was scathing about the french rugby team and their chances to play the demi-god like revered All Blacks. In an opinion piece dripping with confidence he shared his belief that the quarter final joust against France was just another walk-over. I don’t know whether Kiwiana’s finest shared that belief, but everyone certainly must now be back on the bleary grounds of reality. After the 20:18 loss against a fiercely defending french team the dreams of this nation have been squandered and it just again proves that the All Blacks play excellent rugby outside the world cup, but when the chips were down and the intensity of the tournament atmosphere combined with the hopes of four million rugby nuts are on their shoulders, this bunch of actually rather pleasant men fumbled.

The consequences for this tiny nation somewhere in the South Pacific will be stark: tomorrow everybody will wake up with a significant hangover, the government will ask itsself how much bad luck they will be able to take 12 months before the elections, the All Black sponsors will get out the red marker pen and write off their losses and fifteen men will have to face the shame of being the first team kicked out of the Rugby World Cup 2007 in the quarter finals.

On the other hand, employers will get their staff back refreshed after a good night sleep due to an acute reduction of overnight rugby watching, the front pages of the nation’s newspapers will be free again for international news and coffee break chats can finally focus again on lambing.

There’s always the soccer world cup in 2010: maybe the Kiwis can qualify for that for a change.

And if it all goes wrong, we always have softball, rowing and netball. Sports we can all identify with.

My father has been to see his sister.

That doesn't sound like very exciting news, does it? Except that it was the first time in ten years that they'd seen each other. For ten years, due to some silly misunderstanding (or perhaps the machinations of my great-aunt, who will say?) they refused to call each other.

You see, one time my parents had a conversation with my great-aunt, the widow of my father's uncle. The conversation was about her will and who should execute it. And my parents said, you know, we don't mind who does it. But perhaps Loes (my aunt) would not be the best choice, since she already has such a busy life. And apparently, my aunt got to hear about this and thought it meant that my parents didn't want her to do it. And she was rather upset about that. But in stead of speaking to them about it and clearing things up, she decided the best thing to do was to not see them for a while. So she stopped making appointments and stopped calling and never mentioned why. And this made my parents rather upset. So when finally, through exchange of letters, the reason for all this came out and turned out to be a misunderstanding of sorts, everybody was upset and wanted the other person to take the first step to make it all alright again. And they waited for ten years for that to happen.

I still think they were being pretty childish for 50-year-olds.

But now my aunt had finally sent out a real invitation instead of a "if you call that would be really nice" and my parents had accepted the invitation and now it seems everything is okay. Except for my uncle who is still angry with my mother for calling him a lazy bum. And except for my cousin who is still angry with me for being nasty to him when I was 17. Or 18.

What? Hang on.

Apparently I have said at one of his birthday parties that I think his friends are not worth going out with. Fifteen years ago. Or so my father said, who heard it from my aunt, who probably heard it from my cousin. I have no recollection at all of ever saying (or even thinking) something like that. I do know that I never quite got along with his friends, so going out with them would not be my first choice to spend an evening. And actually I'm not all that much into going out anyway and never was. So I can imagine I might have mentioned something along those lines. But "not worth going out with"? Nah....

The most stunning thing about all this is that apparently my cousin has been angry with me about this for fifteen years now. Angry enough that he doesn't want to see me. And I never knew or even suspected because he never said a thing! If he had, we might have come to the conclusion that he'd misunderstood my remark, or perhaps that I really was that insulting and I could have apologized, or he could have yelled at me some and at least I would have known something was amiss. But nothing. This does explain why I never got a reply to my "hey how are you after all these years" email though... It seems that holding a grudge in silence is a family specialty there.

Don't you just love relatives?

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