I went to a Christmas family gathering with the boy for the first time the other day. I've met everyone a few times and felt comfortable going. No problems there.
As soon as everyone was done unwrapping gifts, all the men started running around gathering all the wrapping paper, empty boxes and other trash. I took my gifts and went to put them in the truck and smoke a cigarette. All the guys came out right behind me and headed straight for an old 50-gallon barrel and set all the trash on fire.
I was standing pretty far away and thought, hmm, I bet it's pretty warm by that fire. I was trying to decide if I should go over or not when the boy looked my way and started walking toward me, so I decided it would be ok. I mean, it was pretty cold. I stood just outside their circle and didn't join in the conversation.
When I was about to throw my cigarette in the fire, the boy's dad looked at me and in mock surpirse said, "Oh, there's a woman out here! Women aren't supposed to be here!"
"Well, I'm leaving," I said, threw my cigarette out and walked away.
"He was just kidding," the boy called after me.
"Yeah, I know. I just wanted to smoke my cigarette by the fire."
"Yeah, I was only joking."
"No really. I just wanted to be by the fire for a minute. I'm done."
And I went inside.
When everyone came back inside, I could feel the tension. No one would look at me. I felt like I had done something really, really bad. I sat by myself for a few minutes. After a while, the boy's dad came and sat next to me. A few moments later, the boy sat on my other side. No one said anything.
I asked his dad, "You didn't really think I was mad at you, did you?"
"Well yeah, the way you stormed off."
"I didn't mean to storm off," I told him laughing a little.
He explained what happened to his sister-in-law, Aunt H. Oh my god here we go.
Aunt H: "Oh yeah that's been a tradition for what, 30 years? When did me and D get married? Thirty-one years at least. Women NEVER go out there. Ah ha ha ha."
Seriously. I took a gulp of my drink.
On the way home, I asked the boy if there were any other traditions I needed to be warned about. Please let me know. We had a pretty good laugh about their "stupid" tradition (his words) and thought about ways to get his dad back for calling me out.
Other than that, I actually enjoyed myself and got some pretty good gifts out of it. I managed to keep a power drill during "Dirty Santa" and the boy got an iced tea maker. Oh, and these pictures:
I love taking pictures of old things. Merry Christmas!