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When a guest brings his/her own SALT to a restaurant.

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gryphonskeeper Nov 11, 2009 07:09 PM

Not kidding, I took my family to a very nice upscale bistro for a special get together. My neanderthal brother reaches into his pocket and pulls out a couple paper packs (Like what you get at McDonalds) of SALT, and a plastic baggie of Lawry's seasoned salt!

He was passing it around the table, and asking everyone loudly if they needed "a salt packet or some Lawrys"

I wanted to crawl under the table and slink away. This was not an Olive Garden, this was the highest rated restaurant in my city. :(

Just to note:

This was a very special night for me, my father is terminally ill and has stage 4 cancer, he wanted to go out and celebrate his life with his family... and my knuckle dragger brother (who wore his grime covered work jeans and picked his teeth at the table) embarrassed my dad, who wore a suit to this dinner, one of only 4 times he has donned one since birth. My father raised all of us with very little money, but was very big on manners. I could tell my dad was ashamed of his son's lack of social etiquette, and I did tell my brother softly that he should not have brought the salt, or just kept his mouth shut and sprinkled it on his food on the sly. His response? VERY LOUDLY "Well I don't eat anything without Lawrys and salt, so deal with it."

He kept complaining the entire meal about everything, I think out of spite.

I don't care if my brother wants to ruin a $50 meal that HE pays for, but he was not the buyer, nor was he the celebrant. I don't think I am out of line, but he thinks I should have kept my mouth shut.

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  1. alkapal RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 11, 2009 07:44 PM

    oh gryphonskeeper, i'm so sorry for your situation, particularly regarding your father. forget the antics of your brother, and keep your focus on loving your dad while he's with you here on this earth. God bless you and your father.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alkapal
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      gryphonskeeper RE: alkapal Nov 11, 2009 08:23 PM

      Thank you for that, I guess I am feeling really low right now.... I appreciate this more than you know.

    2. shaogo RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 11, 2009 07:48 PM

      Oh, boy. I can feel your pain.

      My mother has been carrying around a little vial of Stevia solution -- to sweeten her tea/coffee. She pulls it out in restaurants and attempts to show it off to anyone who'll look (waitstaff, bus-personnel, diners at neighboring tables).

      Now, it'd be one thing if this was a discreet little vial. It's not. It's a 3" tall dark amber bottle, equipped with a pretty serious-looking eye dropper. It has no label. It's downright creepy, as it looks just like what Hollywood prop men would come up with for the "mysterious vial full of poison." I'm certain that this bottle would scare the bejeezus out of anyone who's already paranoid that people would slip "something" into their drink/food.

      Mother doesn't wait until tea or coffee time to whip out the weird bottle. More often than not she'll ask for a glass of water and *extra* lemon. She then proceeds to make lemonade with that and sweeten it with a generous squirt of her Stevia liquid -- added drop-by-drop from "the bottle" with the eye-dropper. She will refuse to let us order regular lemonade for her. She pulls these stunts in order to get attention. Sadly, for my mother, negative attention is much better than no attention at all.

      I let my mom drive me crazy until I received some sage advice from a guy I knew only in passing -- a bartender at a restaurant I used to take mom to regularly. This guy said that all the time he sees people go crazy getting embarassed at the behavior of the folks they're dining with. There's no need to be embarassed so long as your own house is in order. To a normal, rational person, the gaffes of one person in a group do not reflect on the others in the group. A group's made up of *individuals.* And don't think that the other people in the restaurant care all that much, either.

      So what if your brother's wearing soiled jeans. I'm sure that the OP was dressed appropriately for the upscale meal they had. Others looking on will see the thoughtless boor in jeans; and another person at the table (the OP) who's dressed in a way that conveys self-respect. See, no reason to be embarassed. Just let others be responsible for their own choices/behavior. Don't assume any guilt or responsibility for them and you'll have a wonderful time.

      I'm certain that the diners surrounding the OP's table thought to themselves how patient the rest of the OP's table was being while her brother did his little salt routine -- and affirmed it loudly when confronted with his behavior.

      Since getting that little advice about how to deal with an embarassing dinner guest, it's been easier to put up with mom's attention-getting antics. When I go out and see a person at another table being troublesome to the rest of their party, I realize that I in no way think any less of anyone in the group -- except for the person being troublesome.

      Why don't we just laugh at these clueless, rude, troubled people? Let brother sprinkle Lawry's seasoned salt all over his ice cream, for all we care. Let my mom make lemonade. Nobody's going to think less of us. In fact, they'll probably think best of us that we can endure these folks and smile while doing it.

      I love the quote that's been equally attributed to Grace Kelly and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: "Never complain. Never explain."

      4 Replies
      1. re: shaogo
        alkapal RE: shaogo Nov 11, 2009 08:06 PM

        you know, i think it actually is worse when the "regular person" gets visibly upset with the behavior of the "different person."

        if i have an inkling to get "embarassed" by something my mom is doing (usually staring or making comments), i stop myself, and think of her advanced age, and think of how ridiculous it is for me to let such things bother me to the extent that i might want to scold.

        1. re: shaogo
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          gryphonskeeper RE: shaogo Nov 11, 2009 08:24 PM

          Grace and Jackie were the epitome of patience and grace. Maybe they are right, but what he did was so wrong.

          1. re: shaogo
            PeterL RE: shaogo Dec 27, 2009 09:21 AM

            Unless the restaurant supplies Stevia, I don't see anything wrong with this. I regularly bring Splenda with me as not all restaurants provide it.

            1. re: PeterL
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              jujuthomas RE: PeterL Dec 28, 2010 09:16 AM

              +1. I have a little plastic container of splenda tablets.

          2. s
            small h RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 11, 2009 08:09 PM

            I don't think you're out of line, either, and I'm sorry your evening didn't turn out as well as you'd hoped. But know this:

            the restaurant has surely seen worse
            your dad will forget about the salt and remember being surrounded by his family
            comedy = tragedy + time. one day, this might just make you roll your eyes and smile

            2 Replies
            1. re: small h
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              gryphonskeeper RE: small h Nov 11, 2009 08:22 PM

              I hope so, because what I saw in my dads eyes was pure shame. :(

              1. re: gryphonskeeper
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                small h RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 11, 2009 08:50 PM

                I feel confident in saying that today, this sucks. Tomorrow, it will suck a little less. And if in three months you can't take a deep breath and say to yourself, alright, that was one sucky-ass meal, but it's starting to seem like an anecdote, then I will personally come over and punch your brother in the head. Note that I am small, and light, so I don't pack much of a wallop, but I will try, gryphonskeeper, I will try.

            2. c oliver RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 11, 2009 08:29 PM

              Sorry, but what is your question? I reread this and still don't see a question so hard to respond to.

              7 Replies
              1. re: c oliver
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                gryphonskeeper RE: c oliver Nov 11, 2009 08:38 PM

                the crux of the situation is: Was I wrong to quietly chastise my brother for bringing Lawrys salt in a baggie, and paper packets of salt to a very nice dinner in a high and restro and too loudly ask others if they wanted some. Or was he wrong to do it.

                1. re: gryphonskeeper
                  c oliver RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 11, 2009 08:40 PM

                  IMO, yes and yes. You didn't accomplish anything, did you?

                  1. re: c oliver
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                    gryphonskeeper RE: c oliver Nov 11, 2009 08:43 PM

                    sadly no.

                    1. re: gryphonskeeper
                      c oliver RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 11, 2009 08:49 PM

                      I guess my point is that what could one accomplish? Especially at the time. Just makes it more awkward. As I age (62 and counting) I try more and more to turn these things loose.

                    2. re: c oliver
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                      hsk RE: c oliver Nov 11, 2009 08:49 PM

                      I agree. Two wrongs don't make a right, as they say. If your brother were a child that might learn from a quiet rebuke it might be productive, but an older person that knows better - what's the point? It just makes an unpleasant situation more so.

                      1. re: c oliver
                        Karl S RE: c oliver Nov 13, 2009 11:12 AM

                        I agree.

                        I would add that death and dying - like divorce, but much more so - often prompt (1) regressive behavior, (2) abupt changes in behavior, and (3) intensify odd behaviors. Especially in the family unit where a parent is dying. Unfortunately, too many people have read too many books and seen too many movies or TV shows where death brings out the best in people; often, it doesn't. Often, it just exposes the cracks and pain and missing pieces. Can one learn and grow from this exposure? Sometimes - perhaps often - but I hesitate to put that Hallmark card sentiment of Always on that one. Sometimes, things just are the way they are, and the most you can learn is that they are survivable.

                        All I can suggest to the OP is that: it's not about you or about your brother.

                        And I am happy that your father was able to attempt and pull off such an evening. That is what I would take away from the evening.

                        1. re: Karl S
                          im_nomad RE: Karl S Nov 13, 2009 02:01 PM

                          This is so true. People deal with difficult situations like this in very strange ways at times.

                  2. KaimukiMan RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 11, 2009 09:58 PM

                    first of all, i am very sorry that this happened. your brother should have had the sense to at least be somewhat discrete. but there is nothing you can or could have done about it.

                    as one of the priest's i know likes to say "it's never about what it's about."

                    your brother was determined to get his share of attention that night. you were determined to be aghast at his behavior. yes, he was being a boor. yes, you were justifiably upset. yes, saying something just escalated the situation.

                    wasn't it really supposed to be about your dad. couldn't you have just turned it into an amusing situation... 'dad, you certainly raised some characters, can't say we all came out of the same mold."

                    Easy to say after the fact, and it comes from a couple of experiences i have had (piling up dishes on the table, blowing a nose into a napkin, eating off someone elses plate from across the table and dripping food the whole reach back.)

                    If you really needed to say something, the time to do it would have been after the meal was over. just the two of you. you backed him into a corner in a public place, seems like normal sibling behavior for him to push back.

                    you both knew better, thats why you are still upset. it doesn't make you a horrible person, nor does an apparent lack of manners make your brother a horrible person. learn and move on.

                    1. shaogo RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 12, 2009 06:22 AM

                      I didn't make myself clear, I think.

                      In answer to the OP, gryphonskeeper, indeed her brother was waaaay out of line wielding anything but some Mrs. Dash, indicated for hypertension, for example -- in a tasteful container used discreetly. This is, however kind of story one could potentially laugh heartily at many years down the road, particularly if the OP's brother redeems himself and gets some manners.

                      Regarding being hurt by the situation, gryphonskeeper makes it clear in no uncertain terms that she was hurt -- so she was hurt! No question.

                      Gryphonskeeper, brace yourself for more acting out from your brother. Don't "do the dance" with him -- get off the dance floor. I lost dad to cancer three years ago and witnessed some pretty astounding behavior on the part of bereaved friends/relatives.

                      God bless you and yours.

                      1. f
                        fern RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 12, 2009 06:53 AM

                        Hey gryphonskeeper, I'm really sorry about your Dad.
                        I have several siblings and when our parents were ill it brought out different behaviors, some pretty unexpected. It's such a shame your brother behaved as he did. Then again, he is hurting and that may be showing in these ways (dressing up might have meant acknowledging something he's not ready for, and his sadness and fear bring out aggression... )
                        As much as I hate to say it to you, it would have been best to ignore his rudeness. He is being abrasive and foolish, but probably needs a little understanding. Somebody has to be the glue, it clearly won't be him.

                        Actually, I wondered if what you saw in your father's eyes was not shame as much as sadness as he recognizes that your brother is not dealing well and will have a hard time. This is a terrible time for you all and it's difficult to muddle through. Under these circumstances, I'd apologize and get things back to OK asap. I recognize that in some ways mine is not the smartest answer, but this is an extraordinary family time. The issue isn't salt and you will feel better if you don't allow salt to become one.
                        I know from your recent post about helping a fellow diner that you are a very kind-hearted person. You're suffering now so the waters get muddied but if you can get yourself to think of your brother as just some doofy guy, it might make it easier to extend your kindness to him. (Even if he was TOTALLY wrong and should be the one apologizing...;) )

                        Swallow your pride, apologize to your brother (I know, for calling out *his* rudeness! but still...) and let your dear father feel peaceful about his kids. You'll be so, so glad you did.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: fern
                          Ima Wurdibitsch RE: fern Nov 12, 2009 09:34 AM

                          That was a beautiful post, fern. You're very wise.

                          1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
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                            Missmoo RE: Ima Wurdibitsch Nov 12, 2009 03:55 PM

                            Exactly what I wanted to post. Thanks Fern. And gryphonskeeper, I really feel for you I lost my mom too and it is a very difficult time.

                            1. re: Missmoo
                              grayelf RE: Missmoo Dec 28, 2010 07:48 AM

                              I stumbled across this thread and wanted to say how much I appreciated Fern's thoughts also, more than a year later. Wise advice that I will try to take to heart. I also hope very much that gryphonskeeper is coping with her sorrow and that the holidays have been kind to her.

                          2. re: fern
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                            gryphonskeeper RE: fern Nov 12, 2009 03:52 PM

                            you are probably right about his not accepting it. But he really went out of his way to be an ass that night :( I went to see my dad today, and I asked if he wanted to go out to lunch just the two of us, and he said "Don't make me get all dressed up again, I would rather eat in my pajamas" I have to agree, eating in pajamas is way better!

                            1. re: gryphonskeeper
                              KaimukiMan RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 12, 2009 05:21 PM

                              If you want to have a "farewell dinner" that you and he enjoy more, then maybe you could hire a private chef, and all of you can wear your pajamas, even your brother with enough warning. you now know enough about what you can and can't control, and your brother probably does know that he was somewhat over the line - even if he wont admit it. But in your own home, in your pajamas, it really wont matter. But I don't think I'd call it a farewell dinner.

                              I hope that it is not too late for you to get together again, and that your remaining time with your father is as good as you can make it.

                              1. re: KaimukiMan
                                c oliver RE: KaimukiMan Nov 12, 2009 05:22 PM

                                And I'd make Lawry's a maor part of the table decoration.

                            2. re: fern
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                              moh RE: fern Nov 13, 2009 12:46 AM

                              Goodness fern, thank you for sharing that post. I hope it will help me to deal in a kinder way with others when I am in a similar situation. You are so right, not everyone knows how to deal with death in a good way, and sometimes bad behavior is denial, anger and frustration about a difficult situation. A little understanding can go a long way to making things better, not worse. Not just for the boorish person, but for the others in the family. It is just not worth getting heated up about bad behavior, it is better to ignore and focus on the important good things.

                              gryphonskeeper, my thoughts are with you and your family. Keep your head up, enjoy the good times, forget the bad ones. Your father sounds like he is quite lucky to have such a wonderful child. And if he has a wonderful child, it is because he probably deserves it too. May you find the strength to get through this difficult time, and know that there are many out here who care and send you best wishes.

                              1. re: fern
                                LindaWhit RE: fern Nov 17, 2009 11:19 AM

                                Fern, very, VERY well put. I was thinking as you said - gryphonskeeper's brother is probably not wanting to acknowledge that his father won't be around, and this is just how it is manifesting itself for now.

                                My thoughts are with you, gryphonskeeper. A special dinner - you and your father - might be the way to go. I think a pajama dinner party at home is a great idea. :-)

                              2. Axalady RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 12, 2009 07:22 AM

                                I am so sorry to hear about your father gryphonskeeper. We lost our father years ago and it was a true lesson about how life events like this can either bring out the best or worst in us.

                                What struck me was this comment in your original post "This was a very special night for me," The night really should have been about your father. Obviously your father is all too well aware of what you consider your brothers short comings and whether he is happy about them or not hopefully he has been able to make peace with them.

                                I can't fault you for commenting about the salt to your brother, but I will say from your description of him it sounds to me exactly the type of response you should have expected.

                                Let this episode go and concentrate on your relationship with your father. Focus your energy on what you have to do to help yourself and your father through this painful time.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Axalady
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                                  gryphonskeeper RE: Axalady Nov 12, 2009 03:53 PM

                                  I am going to do just that. every day is a gift.... even if contains a fruitcake laden with salt,

                                2. Caroline1 RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 12, 2009 12:05 PM

                                  Bless your heart! There's an old hackneyed saying that, alas, seems to fit us all at one time or another: "You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family." For what it's worth, I completely concur. You brother did act like an oaf, but... At this point in time there is nothing you can do to change it, so if he did do any part of it to irritate you, let it go so his pay-off doesn't keep growing. Fix yourself a nice cup of tea and relax. Or better yet, if it's possible, go have the nice cup of tea with your dad and talk about the good things in both of your lives, present and past. And enjoy each other! It's a chance to build treasures that will last you the rest of your life.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Caroline1
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                                    gryphonskeeper RE: Caroline1 Nov 12, 2009 03:55 PM

                                    we had take out chinese today. Dad only ate about 3 noodles and a crab rangoon, but he was happy and ate in his pajamas. :)

                                  2. jfood RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 12, 2009 12:20 PM

                                    Jfood adds his thoughts and prayers to your situation and maybe a different take on the actions of your brother. Whether jfood is correct is not important, but just some food for thought since he has no historical perspective on this.

                                    Everyone deals with impending death differently. Jfood lived through several years of end of life with some very close family members and the reactions of siblings are quite different and the variance of the reactions expands as the end approaches. Bringing the salt and wearing the outfit may be your brother's attempt at denial. If he can avert his focus and maybe the fcus of the meal, then maybe the situation will go away.

                                    You can cotrol only what you do. Jfood would not advise having any conversation like this in front of your dad. If your father notices, let him decide how to interpret. What you did will be remembered as two brothers fighting at the event, not who was right or wrong. Hopefully you will have many more dinners as a family and let bygones be bygones at the family setting. Afterwards call the brother and have a conversation off-line with him. This may turn into a major blow-up but try to keep the focus on it's for your dad, and nothing personal.

                                    May you have many more meals with your dad and the boar, deep breath and focus on the positives at the table versus the negatives.

                                    Peace.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jfood
                                      im_nomad RE: jfood Nov 13, 2009 02:08 PM

                                      Very well said jfood.

                                    2. pikawicca RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 12, 2009 04:03 PM

                                      I don't think you're asking the right question. You need to spend more time with your dad, away from your brother. Take him some edible goodies and spend some time with him reminiscing about great meals shared. (And let the ugly scene with your brother go, never to be spoken of again.)

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: pikawicca
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                                        gryphonskeeper RE: pikawicca Nov 12, 2009 04:09 PM

                                        actually pika, I quit my job to care for my father to keep him out of a nursing home. I spend all day with him so he won't lose his home and everything my parents have worked for their whole lives. What bothered me was this was a farewell dinner... my father never goes out to formal restaurants, he grew up poor, and could not afford it. I wanted this to be very special for him. But I realize now a couple days later that what is special to my dad, is eating in his pajamas... with someone one who loves him. I have grown 10 years wiser in the last few weeks... I only hope I can share that wisdom, and not lose it.

                                        1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                          pikawicca RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 12, 2009 04:21 PM

                                          My heart breaks for you, but what a lucky father you have, and what a good job he must have done as a parent to inspire such loyalty. When my mother was dying, we passed the time talking about our great (and not-so-great) cooking experiences. Oddly, it was a very positive experience. Be strong, and good fortune.

                                          1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                            whs RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 12, 2009 04:23 PM

                                            hey gryph, reading this helps me understand what I perceived as hostility in some of your other posts--I sense you are grieving for the imminent loss of your father and it's got to come out somehow. Not many of us could care for a family member the way you are without totally losing it. You've got something very special with your dad--I'm 3000 miles away from my ailing mother and a quick visit is not an option. You are blessed to have this time with him--your brother may be a jerk, but he's not the focus. My thoughts are with you. BTW, since I know you live in New Hampshire, what was the restaurant? Love ya!

                                            1. re: whs
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                                              gryphonskeeper RE: whs Nov 12, 2009 04:53 PM

                                              It was Richards Bistro...... In manchester

                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                whs RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 13, 2009 02:17 PM

                                                Good choice. I'm afraid to ask what your bro thought of the bagna cauda dipping sauce that comes with the bread...

                                            2. re: gryphonskeeper
                                              Caroline1 RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 13, 2009 06:30 AM

                                              You are one incredible guy, GK! You are building treasures no one else can imagine. Wonderful treasures! And I'm confident your dad recognizes and appreciates every thing you're doing for him. It's so warming to the rest of us to know that such love still exists in this world and is thriving in your house!

                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                c oliver RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 13, 2009 07:06 PM

                                                I'm glad that you see that you were wrong and that the issue is your father's happiness and not someone else's idea of his happiness. That will carry you a long way in life.

                                            3. Chemicalkinetics RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 12, 2009 04:12 PM

                                              You sound like a great person. I think it is very kind and considerate of you to take your father to a nice restaurant. I am sure you and your dad as well as the restaurant were embarrassed by your brother's actions. That being said. In the large picture, there is no permanent damage done. The restaurant sure has seen it worse, and your father knows his son well enough that I am sure he forgot the whole thing by now.

                                              Just think of the bigger picture, at the end, you really just want to spend quality time with your dad, right? Your dad won't care if he was eating lobster with you or just a toast with butter. He just want to be with you. Spend some lone with time your dad. Talk to him about past times and ask him to tell you stories about your young self -- when you were too young to remember yourself.

                                              1. i
                                                irishnyc RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 12, 2009 05:30 PM

                                                I know your shame, as my father in law is the same way, and I do tend to open my big mouth, when I truly do know that he's the only one that looks like the fool.

                                                I hope your dad sees beyond it as well, and has only happy memories of your otherwise lovely dinner.

                                                Just this past weekend DH and I hosted a dinner at a local restaurant for our family and friends in celebration of our baby's christening. FIL walked in.... with his own food from another restaurant! Why? "Because I'm in the mood for calamari, and they don't serve it here." W.T.F? I told him to put it away and not to dare let me see it again. Had I just been a guest and not the host I would have simply made a comment to the effect of "wow, that's pretty rude!" but being the host, there was no way in hell I was letting him eat food from another establishment at my dinner table.

                                                1. n
                                                  Normandie RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 13, 2009 08:46 AM

                                                  I admire your father for his commitment to teaching the truth that manners have not one thing to do with money.

                                                  I'm sorry you had to see, on such a special evening, the look of discomfort in your father's eyes over your brother's faux pas.

                                                  I understand your dismay, but I imagine, when you really think stop to think about it, once you feel a little better, that you realize you're powerless to change your brother's way of being out in public at this point in his life.

                                                  What's more important and more lasting, gryphonskeeper--albeit impossible to see sensorily--is the love and appreciation and pride that I'm sure was in your father's heart, for your having made sure that he got to have this night. That's the only thing that matters, gryphons--your kindness--and I promise you, that is what will keep. The rest of it will fade away.

                                                  Thinking of you and keeping you and your father in my prayers. xo

                                                  1. mr jig RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 13, 2009 02:24 PM

                                                    I don't think I am out of line, but he thinks I should have kept my mouth shut.

                                                    He was correct.
                                                    You have the problem.
                                                    dick

                                                    1. im_nomad RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 13, 2009 02:49 PM

                                                      gryphonskeeper , your post hit home for me, and though I don't know you, I so feel for your situation right now. My father has a form of lung cancer, and I can relate that things that may have previously rolled off my back with siblings, can be very irritating, as much as I dearly love them. I do not know what your relationship was like with your brother prior to this, or what your family roles were, but I do hope you ride this out, as a family.

                                                      You want things to be as normal as possible, but when my Dad wants something to be special, or wants to do this or that, complaints about what someone else wanted just really don't go over as well. You want to shout "this isn't about YOU !!!!" .... but then again, i've had my moments as well. As a few people have said, you never know how something like this is going to affect you, until you're there. Things affect people very differently. I'm the baby in my family, and this is hitting me hard, and if I thought salt and a crappy outfit would make this go away, who knows what i'd do. I've had to snap myself out of avoidance a couple of times, I will say.

                                                      I suspect that you are the peacekeeper and the "take charge-r" in the family, and it's no doubt extremely hard to see your brother doing this, you're human, and you are trying so hard to have things perfect for your Dad and caring for him. Again, I don't know your family, but parents are often infinitely forgiving when it comes to their children, no matter how badly we mess up or what asses we make of ourselves. So hopefully, if your Dad felt embarassed, this was eclipsed by how he feels about you all.

                                                      I think the world of my father, I see that you do too. Really, there's nothing that anyone can say that lightens a load like this, but I do hope you find peace.

                                                      11 Replies
                                                      1. re: im_nomad
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                                                        gryphonskeeper RE: im_nomad Nov 13, 2009 05:57 PM

                                                        You have my family pegged exactly nomad. :) I am the caregiving/peacemaker who often get irritated with the "slackers" of the family who seem to forget all our dad sacrificed for us. *sigh*

                                                        1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                          c oliver RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 13, 2009 07:08 PM

                                                          I think it's important to not confuse caregiver with peacemaker. No reason for them to relate to each other at all.

                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                            pikawicca RE: c oliver Nov 13, 2009 07:13 PM

                                                            Except that the same tender emotions that lead one to be a caregiver might also lead one to be a peacemaker. Both difficult rolls, but peacemakers get a lot more grief.

                                                            1. re: pikawicca
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                                                              fern RE: pikawicca Nov 14, 2009 03:17 AM

                                                              I agree, pika, and would bet caregiving and peacemaking are often a 2 for 1 deal. Especially when caring for a parent. GK is a devoted daughter who is trying hard to make things loving and special for her dad. Caretaker and peacemaker roles can't help but overlap sometimes.

                                                              GK, I really admire you for the way you're taking care of your dad. It says alot about you, and about the parent he is. Love the pajama dinner parties you're having at home! He is a lucky guy and it sounds like you are a fortunate daughter.
                                                              Lots of us can relate to your situation and wish for peace for you and yours. Will be thinking of you.

                                                              1. re: pikawicca
                                                                c oliver RE: pikawicca Nov 14, 2009 06:12 AM

                                                                I think my point was that one can back away/turn loose of the peacemaker role as it seems to cause more trouble than it actually results in peace.

                                                                1. re: c oliver
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                                                                  gryphonskeeper RE: c oliver Nov 15, 2009 04:29 PM

                                                                  I will someday.... but I can't in good conscience let my dad have any distress in his final weeks. To me I would rather my brother scowl at me, then embarrass my dad.

                                                                  1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                                    c oliver RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 15, 2009 04:38 PM

                                                                    Except your attempt at "peace-keeping" seemed to actually cause an increase in his bad behavior - not an unheard of reaction between siblings - and probably an increase in your dad's embarassment. I'm not a religious person but love the expression "Let go and let God."

                                                                    1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                                      pikawicca RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 15, 2009 04:58 PM

                                                                      Your father has spent countless meals breaking bread with you and your brother; he is an expert on the family dynamic, which is never so well-revealed as at family meals. I doubt he's expecting a miraculous change of personality on the part of his children.

                                                                      Take care of your relationship with your dad, and let your brother do the same. don't set yourself up to do the impossible.

                                                                      (Personally, I think that if you'd produce a bottle of Lawrey's at every meal you share with your father, and ask him if he'd care for some, he'd crack up every time. Humor is good.)

                                                                      1. re: pikawicca
                                                                        c oliver RE: pikawicca Nov 15, 2009 05:01 PM

                                                                        I like the Lawrey's idea ALOT! Laughter's that great medicine.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                                          Karl S RE: c oliver Nov 16, 2009 04:51 AM

                                                                          Yes, that's my family's best way to deal with fractiousness. Hit the nail over and over and over again.

                                                                          When I was growing up, we had weekday dinner at 6pm. My father, who had been up since before dawn, inhaled his dinner. By 6:10, he would tend to grow pissy, and arguments frequently started at this time. One day, my next-older brother and I pre-empted the show: we said, it's ten past six, it's family argument time, what shall we argue about, and of course had an argument about what to argue about. My father's pissiness never got the same traction from that point onward. He's much mellower now (this was the mid-1970s: how my father did not actually go postal based on what going on around him is a source of amazement to us now that we are well into middle age and beyond).

                                                                          PS: It really helps if one's family appreciated silliness. I distinguish silliness from funniness: silliness is anarchic. Think Marx Bros.

                                                                      2. re: gryphonskeeper
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                                                                        latindancer RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 15, 2009 06:29 PM

                                                                        What a kind human being you are, gryphonskeeper...
                                                                        I lost my dear, talented and wonderful father over 30 years ago to lung cancer.
                                                                        One thing I found, after the very special, memorable and lasting conversations we had in his last few weeks before he died was the total lack of focus on the little, unimportant things we, the healthy ones, tend to focus on. We talked about the blue sky, the wonderful smell in the air, our relationship and all the important things in life that so many of us take for granted. Your brother's antics, most likely, are the furthest thing from your father's mind right now. He's thinking about the simple things, the valued things...like having meals with you, in his home, in his pajamas. Maybe somehow or another your brother could figure out a way to join (with your guidance) and give a little of himself and his time to his father....before he runs out of chances to do so.
                                                                        It's a very difficult time for you and I hope you find some peace and comfort.

                                                            2. p
                                                              pemma RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 16, 2009 07:22 AM

                                                              While bringing his own salt and seasoning was odd, I think the real offense here is that he work dirty jeans and picked his teeth.

                                                              1. Paulustrious RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 16, 2009 07:55 AM

                                                                This may sound a little cruel - but get over it. You cannot impose your standards on someone else, nor vice versa. He was equally upset with you. I guess relationships were previously strained as ' knuckle dragger' did not seem to be used as a term of affection.

                                                                There will be times that are worse than this, unless you are very lucky. Try taking someone out with gradually deteriorating dementia. Or with a badly handicapped child, or Tourette's or even an ADHD child. I've only dealt with two of these. You know you are going to have a problem. Don't let a single instance, no matter how important to you, hang over your head.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Paulustrious
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                                                                  gryphonskeeper RE: Paulustrious Nov 16, 2009 03:47 PM

                                                                  I have two handicapped children actually. One with autism, the other is deaf. neither one would ever act like my brother did in a restaurant. My brother has been, and probably always will be a selfish oaf. He was the baby, and the only boy. He got everything new where we got hand me downs. He literally would throw it in all of his sisters faces that he got BRAND NEW this and that.. He always would demand new and better of everything, and my parents who started to earn more and do much better gave it to him out of guilt for not be able to give it to the older siblings I think... So now.... 30 years later...

                                                                  He still is an oaf.. I have more than enough patience with the handicapped... trust me... But his only handicap is his selfishness.

                                                                  1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                                    c oliver RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 16, 2009 05:06 PM

                                                                    Ah, this post tells the story. It's never going to be alright between y'all. So even more reason to be hands-off. You can even say to your father that you're sure he understands the resentments that bounce back and forth and that you'll do your best. But that you can't control your brother's actions. This has ZERO to do with manners.

                                                                    1. re: gryphonskeeper
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                                                                      bibi rose RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 17, 2009 09:31 AM

                                                                      On the upside, you didn't like the guy to begin with, so you haven't lost much. There is nothing worse than the kinds of differences that can emerge amoung family members at a time like this. During my mom's illness and death I saw stuff I couldn't believe-- and, to be fair, may have done things other people couldn't believe. I tried to cut slack for people I otherwise cared about, but there are some people I just don't like very much any more.

                                                                      So sorry you are going through this.

                                                                  2. eviemichael RE: gryphonskeeper Nov 17, 2009 10:54 AM

                                                                    I don't have much to add, but I wanted to say that I'm very sorry you are going through this difficult time and I hope you find some moments of peace.
                                                                    My heart goes out to you.

                                                                    1. Luvfriedokra RE: gryphonskeeper Dec 27, 2009 08:57 AM

                                                                      GK,
                                                                      your posts always get me verklempt!! If memory serves, you posted awhile back about a waiter being mean to one of your kids, yes? Anyway, I can tell by your posts you are a kind, sensitive person, and others' happiness is important to you. I am also the caretaker for my granmother who is 83, doesn't drive and deals with dementia-I can tell you I have also seen the crazy behavior of relatives and I know that many times it is their defense mechanism. Like you, I was hurt/bothered/pissed at first but I have learned to ignore it and just focus on my grandparents and how lucky I am to still have them at 35. Just enjoy being with your Dad and don't stress about things you can't change.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Luvfriedokra
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                                                                        gryphonskeeper RE: Luvfriedokra Dec 27, 2009 06:23 PM

                                                                        Luv, thank you for this.... my daddy passed away on the 10th, and I have struggled with it since.. however I did buy my brother and my mother a joint gift card for a local restaurant for Christmas, so he can have a quiet dinner along with her,. There is one thing that I can change, that is my anger to my brother. I want nothing more than to bring him back into the close family I have.

                                                                        1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                                          helenahimm RE: gryphonskeeper Dec 27, 2009 06:58 PM

                                                                          I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

                                                                          1. re: gryphonskeeper
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                                                                            fern RE: gryphonskeeper Dec 27, 2009 07:21 PM

                                                                            gryphonskeeper, I'm awfully sorry about your dad. I hope knowing you gave him love and care when he needed it most comforts you now.

                                                                            1. re: gryphonskeeper
                                                                              Luvfriedokra RE: gryphonskeeper Dec 28, 2009 03:26 PM

                                                                              Wow, I'm really sorry to hear that. I hope you can find some peace and mend things with your brother. I'm know your daddy is somewhere beautiful smiling down on you :)

                                                                              Verklempt once again....

                                                                          2. howlin RE: gryphonskeeper Dec 27, 2009 08:59 PM

                                                                            i havent read to many of the other posts ,so i hope this isnt a repeat(mabye ido)your brother is a disrespectful loser and you should have said something.what you cant go for a few hours respecting someone elses feeling.hes is a selfish piece of crap.im in the same situation you are,none of my family would dare to act like this (they would answer to me .and that would be painfull to them )god bless

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