(This transcript is a phone conversation with my sister who lives nearby while Wifey sat next to me reading a book ... beginning after about half an hour discussing Schuster family issues, illnesses, and gossip. Names have been changed for no good reason.)

ME: “... so OK, your eye problem is better now, right? And my biopsy from Dr. Anderson came back negative, so what else? Did I tell you I gave that album Roxie left us about The Slade Hotel in Adrian to Charlie? He seems interested in it. And all that bric-a-brac from The Schuster Brewery in Rochester I gave to Tom. You’ve gotta start unloading stuff at our age, you know.

SISTER: I guess. But what about those Audubon prints Mom and Dad left us? I’m not ready to part with those yet? Are you?

ME: Maybe we should discuss those at lunch next week. We’ve been gabbing here too long. Wifey’s sitting right here, and you know she’s right. Everything in this family is about the Schusters. Schusters, Schusters, Schusters. Think what it must be like to marry into this family. We counted once, remember? There are 13 Schuster sons, wives, children, and grandchildren right here in the Twin Cities.

SISTER: I know. And 11 more if you count the Rochester clan, right? And 5 more in Alaska. Poor Wifey indeed! It IS all about Schusters if you blunder into this nest.

ME: “Blunder,” is a little stiff, maybe. Wifey has a niece in New York City and a brother and sister-in-law in Chicago, but that’s about it for family. Lots of colleagues at the U, though. Dear, would say you “blundered” into the Schuster family?

WIFEY: Why don’t you tell your sister about my niece?

ME: Oh, yeah! Wifey’s having cortisone shots in both knees tomorrow.


ME: Oh, right. Rebecca got a big promotion in New York City. Pay raise and everything. What’s that? Yup, both knees ... cortisone.

WIFEY: Sure, “blunder” seems about right.