“It was August and it was my wife’s family reunion up in New Hampshire. We were gonna get married that September, so the wedding was right around the corner. At the time they were really into taking photos of the family together. So we all set up to take a photo, when all of a sudden my wife’s grandmother stopped everyone and said, ‘Okay, so we need to take on with Lenny and then one without.’ So that’s exactly what we did. One month before getting married! After coming up there for years, being the only boy she ever brought around to her family. One with and one without.

So we still will joke about that. Whenever anyone new, like a significant other or whatever, comes to the family, we’ll jokingly say, ‘Okay now one with and one without.'”


Obviously this is just a funny moment that would get passed around in a lot of different families. There is something funny about the old members of the family being able to be so blunt and particular. And so when they repeat the phrase to someone else or tell the story, they are laughing at that moment and how blunt she was.

In a more folklore vein though, it definitely represents a liminal moment for this family. Here they are, at this reunion and this outsider is about to join them in the next month. By the next year he will be officially taking pictures with them. How people manage that liminal moment is different for everyone. Clearly her grandmother cared about the informant, as she took the picture with him in the first place, but she also cared about her family and did not want any hurtful pictures around in case things went sour. It may seem to be a little over-the-top, but to me it feels like she is trying to handle this moment before he officially enters the family.