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In a few short weeks, my wife and I will be heading to the Adirondack mountains of New York for a little "camping". We have been going there for thirty years, most often taking a canoe and dipping it into remote waters and enjoying the wilderness.

But, in the last three years, I have had three very near death experiences. My heart now has what my doctor kindly refers to as "a Latin beat". I think that's just comforting way of saying, "you're fucked up, pal". The result is, the strenuous back water trips may be a thing of the past. I am hoping I will continue to get better but reality has a way of kicking me in the head. Like the nights I lay down to sleep and my chest feels just like a popcorn popper.

So this year, our "camping" will actually be in a waterside lodge. On some past trips, we have invited the extended family. And that was really fun, loading up canoes with adults and many, many very young kids and supplies and headed into the quiet wilderness for a week. We enjoyed wild blueberries, fresh caught mussels (sauteed in garlic butter over an open fire!0, and fish that were so eager to be caught that we found no need to even bait our hooks.

This year, they are all joining us at the waters edge. I am really looking forward to their company. But, I have misgivings as well. At one family event, a Thanksgiving, my mother in law, during the family prayer, said she was thankful for Sarah Palin! I shit you not. She said it and I responded without really thinking. I said, "you know NOTHING about her"! This is, after all, my mother in law. I probably should have just kept quiet, but I couldn't. Needless to say, we don't see eye to eye politically though, I must say, she treats me with respect and I do my best to reciprocate.

But, even the prayer circles have become more bothersome to me. They always end in "we ask this in our saviors name, Jesus Christ". I'm never asked for my opinion. That's what bothers me most. . .that it is just ASSUMED that I feel the same as they do. And, should I object to joining in on the tribute to the magical sky God, then certainly it will be me that is the "family buzz kill".

Incidentally, the children of my evangelical sister in law now feel just as I do, extremely skeptical of the sky God. But, like me, they will quietly keep their mouth shut. It will be a struggle for all of us.

So, I hope I can keep it together for a week. I hope no one brings up stupid GOP talking points and that I can quietly slip off to the bathroom just prior to the prayer circles without someone asking everyone to wait until I come back.

I love these people. I care for them a lot. But, I think it's going to be a very long week.

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