Amidst the melee of sleep deprivation and getting to New Orleans, it almost completely evaded me that my aunt from Detroit, my aunt from California, and my cousin from Detroit are visiting as well- All to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday with the added event of Father’s Day. My cousin implored- eh, that’s not the right word- my cousin directed me to host my aunts as they arrived the same day as I. I somewhat understood what he was telling me, but I don’t believe I’d ever done this “hosting” thing before with family. Usually my mother put on Thanksgiving, my Uncle Chuck set up our schedule when we got to California, or my father navigated us through Detroit when we arrived. This- I had little understanding of exactly what I was supposed to do.
Two voicemails and several texts buzzed the moment I landed. A piece of my brain awoke, “Sweet Jesuits, Toussaint. Get the rest of your ass into gear. You’re the one who suggested the father’s side of your family be out here. Act accordingly, my man!” And so, I acquiesced accordingly.
The messages were to meet with my Aunt BB at baggage claim. This was what my cousin was referring to. Host, direct, entertain, something.
Rushing from the terminal to a baggage claim stretching a football field in length, I called Aunt BB. “I’m here” she said. I wanted to shout “WHERE?”, but as one does not simply enter Mordor, one does not simply knee-jerk question Aunt BB’s statement. “Ok” I replied. Power walking the length of baggage claim thrice, I couldn’t find her. Nice, my first duty of hosting and I’m producing an fng F minus.
Finally, entering a hall unbeknownst to my initial entry, I fly thru it to find Aunt BB on the phone. The moments where I have the good fortune of encountering my Aunt BB are all-together too infrequent. Every family has a rock- a pillar- a monolith to bridge the gap of communication, potential emotional collapse, and little reassurance families move without. Aunt BB is nothing short of that. Like my grandmother, you can learn a thing or two about a thing or two simply by observing Aunt BB in discussion. Her social pacing is timed to that of a veteran social worker- she sees the matrix.
Greeting her soon as her conversation wrapped, we hug and get straight to it- how are we getting Aunt BB to her hotel?
Shit, I just landed here, and not only am I aloof on what I’m doing in regards of entertaining family, I’m seemingly of no help.
I sweat it for a second and then jump to asking the information desk the easiest way to get to the hotel. A clerk directs us to a strip of concrete where the hotel bus will pick us up for free and take us to the hotel. Easy.
Exiting the baggage claim, the New Orleans humidity muffs me so surprisingly hard in the face, that I think I winced or murmured some guttural “Ehhhhh” under my breath. Sweet mother of mercy, I haven’t felt high temps like this in a damn long time. Aunt BB cuts through it like the heat shouldn’t have stepped to her in the first place. Not wanting to look like I couldn’t keep up with her, I muster forward to the concrete strip. Alas, we are picked up and dropped off to the hotel. We bid adieu until dinner later that night, and I exit the hotel to New Orleans… by myself. And here the adventure begins, in the suburban swelter of Kenner, LA… just me, my bags, and bus fare for the ride to the Crescent City.