I have an aunt, named Launa.


She makes the best funeral potatoes.

She is perfectly normal, happy and levelheaded. But she wasn’t always this Republican. You see, deep in the distant past, she was a teenager.


Normally this didn’t cause any serious trouble, beyond the usual “nobody likes me, everyone hates me, and I am filled with angst.” But sometimes…it did.
My parents had been recently married, and were over at my maternal grandparents’ house for dinner. Launa at the time was feeling anti-social, and decided to go to a friend’s house instead.
She climbed into her car in the garage, and started to pull out of the driveway. There was only a small problem: her battery had died, and so my grandpa had hooked up the battery to a car charger and had placed it under the hood. It was still attached, though it wasn’t going be for long.


It ripped out of the wall, and when Launa reached the street it tumbled from the barely open hood onto the pavement…where Launa promptly ran over it.


She heard only a heavy CLUNK, and kept driving. Grandpa heard it too, and came out onto the lawn as she pulled away.


When Launa came back, it was not pretty.


Grandpa eventually calmed down, but every fifteen minutes or so he would explode again.


It was a side of Grandpa that Dad had never seen before. Grandpa is normally pretty laid back, but this was an impressive display.


That Christmas, Launa woke up and ran eagerly to see what Santa Claus had brought her…and it was a car charger. Seriously.

Dad loves to tell and retell it at every family gathering, generally with Grandpa slinking embarrassedly into another room.

Launa, for her part, never speaks of it, and feigns amnesia whenever Dad tells the story. I keep waiting for her to spike the funeral potatoes Dad eats so she never has to hear the story again.