Woodgrain. That’s what the air smelled like.
You ever noticed that when you walk into a home you’ve never been to, there’s a distinct smell that encapsulates your experience? My house always nails me with a cleanly, fresh scent. My grandmother’s struck me with a cozy, warm aroma that comforted my nostrils with a swift entrance. This place hit me with a ski-lodge feel, and I gravitated to it.
See, this was a special Sunday for me. My brother just arrived back home on Saturday to spend one of his two weeks off for the entire year with his family (the perils of a doctoral student’s schedule). It had been a while since I had seen him, and with how close we’ve been throughout my life, long absences from each other is something we don’t like much. The Greever Boys were back together again.
That night, my mom received a text from the aforementioned family friends. Rick and his partner Joe wanted to take us all out to a seafood lunch, since the two boys are back home together. But Rick called us something I’ve never heard him call us before: his family. Him and Joe wanted to take their family out.
We arrived to Riptide’s, a local favorite of ours for seafood. Rick and Joe are regulars, so much so that the staff knows exactly what cocktails and food they order. And when you go out with Rick and Joe, let me assure you there will be three guaranteed results: cocktails, laughs, and decadent cuisine.
So we all sat down and caught up. Joe automatically asks me about the ESPN dream, and I jokingly told him they were hiring me tomorrow. He goes to Cory, and per usual with my brother, Cory takes the reins of doctoral tales filled with scientific terminology that I’ll never understand. We’re deep into conversation, and a waitress comes over to us.
Her name is Mallory, she graduated a year before I did from Matoaca High School. I ask her how things are going, and she proceeds to recount the horrible load she has from taking a packed four week anatomy and physiology course. She tells me that she already knows everything I’m up to, because my mom has told her before, Cory too for that matter. The entire county of Chesterfield knows my brother and I’s education, interests, and hobbies. My mom gets word around. Mallory told me, “She’s very proud of her boys.”
We gave our good lucks, and she went back to work. I had just finished an entire sampler of beautiful seafood. I still had the smallest bite of saltwater pinching my taste buds from succulent oysters and clams. The East Coast baby. It doesn’t get better.
We departed the restaurant and went back to Rick and Joe’s house. They always love to get Cory and I going to talking about our respective passions. We go on and on about what we love about journalism (me) and exercise science (him), what drives us to pursue these compelling, yet intellectually different fields. Cory explains to Joe how to treat different issues pertaining to his arthritis. I explain to Joe how there’s a live delay when correspondents are coming in from different locations. The boys were back at it.
Then, Rick revealed to us that him and Joe will be officially married sometime in October in Maryland. It’s not legal in Virginia, so they have to go up there to do it. I told Rick how disappointed I am that I won’t be able to make it back for it (or the lavish party I’m sure will follow) due to school. And as they discussed the wedding, I fell deep into thought about their upcoming marriage.
I look at the love these two men share. I look at the home they’ve created for themselves. I look at the overwhelming affection they have always treated our family with. And I looked at that text message in my mind again: family. Two members of our extended family can’t simply confirm their commitment to their love in the state of Virginia. I can’t understand the reasoning behind why they can’t be wed. It’s pure, admirable love. It’s the kind of love you dream about attaining, the stuff that ends corny movies, the old couple who will never let go of each other.
But I was snapped back to attention by Rick commending me on my attention to detail. When we had walked into the house, I was immediately drawn to a gorgeous chandelier hanging above our heads as we entered. Normally, I don’t pay them any mind, since they always seem to be the same. This one was different though.
The diamonds were encased into a ball-like structure. I want to say it looked like a disco ball, but that’s a little tacky for my taste. It was like a disco orb that commanded your attention. Rick told me it reminded him of my dad, and how he always observe things. I’ve been paid some compliments, but whenever I’m compared to my father, nothing makes me happier.
That triggered more family talk, as we looked back at how Cory used to come in my crib and play with me, or when I’d come up to my crib when he got up to leave for school. All of this really brought me to a moment on this beautiful day: I’m lucky.
I’m lucky to be a Greever. I’m lucky to have a caring, loving mother who has done anything and everything to help me achieve anything. I’m lucky to have a hard-working, hilarious father who set the right example for me. I’m lucky to have not only a brother, but a best friend like Cory. And I’m lucky to have two uncles who will finally get to confirm their love, even if it has to be done in another state.
This is my family on the last day of June. We eat, drink, laugh, and talk about our dreams. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. To channel my inner Maximus (Gladiator, favorite movie of mine) here:
I’m the son of Steven Jackson Greever and Lisa Anne Greever, the grandson of Ruby (bless her soul) and Howard Greever, as well as Nicholas and Hilda Maiuro (bless their souls). I’m the younger brother of Cory Jackson Greever. And no matter what I ever accomplish to honor all of these loving people, there’s nothing I will be more damn proud of than to bear the name of my family.
I smelled that grain on the way out the door again. It’s stowed in my library of senses on a special shelf: home.