I've heard my father described as having 'the gift of gab'. Well alright, there's no denying the man can talk. And so can my mom, and my sister, and myself too. Actually, I don't think anyone would be surprised to know that dinners with my family involve more talking and stories than actual eating- although not more than actual food, which we'll have to save for another day.
So, we're a family of people who love a good story, not just the ones we're telling ourselves either. I grew up in a house LOUSY with books (mind you, not lousy books), and was fortunate to have parents who not only encouraged me to read anything and everything I could get my hands on, but also themselves read for personal pleasure, and to my younger sister and me. My father would sit in the family recliner with us in his lap and read Dr. Seuss, A.A. Milne, or various and sundry other stories to us, every night before bed. My parents always had books close at hand- my father particularly seemed to enjoy classic literature and science fiction while my mother's taste was much more broadly defined. She had popular fiction like King, Koontz, and Crichton along side a vast collection of romance novels, and Star Trek serials.
Books, movie, friends, and to a lesser extent, television were all great sources of entertainment and stimulation in my house. We were unashamed to be a family of nerds who enjoyed Star Trek and Star Wars equally with Murder She Wrote and The X Files. We saw the re-releases of the 'original' Star Wars movies in theaters together, we saw the Star Trek movies together, we even saw Star Wars: Episode One together. When I was in high school, the four of us sat around the table discussing the casting and news regarding one of my father's all-time favorite stories- The Lord of the Rings. On Christmas day 2001, we saw the Fellowship of the Ring together, and proceeded to see the subsequent two films together as a Christmas Tradition. In years since then, my sister and I have both moved to our own homes and established our own lives, but the movie tradition remains. We have occasional movie nights at my parents house, enjoying and analyzing movies like The Dark Knight or Ironman and reveling in the warmth of our collective nerdiness.
Tonight the newest Star Trek movie, a prequel of sorts by JJ Abrams, is released in theaters, and I was not surprised to see my parents prepurchased movie tickets stuck prominently to their fridge in anticipation. My own tickets are purchased as well, and my sisiter had plans to buy hers online when last I knew. Different schedules and different lives have taken their toll- we're not going to be seeing the movie together. Instead my parents, freed from the responsibilities of raising us, are going to an prerelease party with other people their age, and then seeing the movie in a big group. My sister and her boyfriend are catching an early show so they can get some sleep. And I will be seeing it with the same loving friends I've seen most major releases with in the last year. Even though we won't be together, this shared experience makes me so happy, and so grateful for my geeky family. I know I'll be thinking about my mom, dad, and sister when the credits roll, and that we will have some great stories to share at dinner next week.