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Rednecks fear that hidden gene

That’s in somebody’s blood

That interferes with lean and mean

And Mississippi mud —

Or puts the lean and mean in chicks

And has men suck each other’s dicks.

* * *

Gene is my father-in-all. He’s from Oklahoma. His name is actually Homer Eugene and he’s a homo­phobe. And he talks like the rhyme. Gene and his daughter, my wife, and I went to visit old friends of his and my mother-in-law who passed away 5 years ago.

Gene’s friends were a couple who had been together for 45 years. He was Puerto Rican and she was Mexican. Gene might be a homophobe but he’s not a racist. The couple, Beatriz and Noah, had two boys and a girl. The girl, my wife’s age, is a lesbian.

Beatriz, mother and grandmother, invited her whole family over to see Gene and my wife after it had been over 30 years. Her daughter is in Berkeley and didn’t come but the boys were there with their kids. Katheryn remembered them as so big and tall when she was little. They were short, now, but good looking. One brother was a physical trainer, divorced with one son about sixteen who came that afternoon. His older brother was married to a white girl and she came that afternoon and did the dishes cleaning up after all the cooking her mother-in-law did. Their two boys came too.

But before Noah and Beatriz’s family came, my wife Katheryn and Beatriz were in the kitchen talking. Noah had finished the carne asada and Gene and I were with him in the living room drinking beers.

After a lot of small talk, Gene asked Noah how his daughter was doing. Noah said, well, you know, she’s a lesbian. Gene says, well it happens. Noah said it might have been something he did. No, I said, they say it’s the genes, you’re born that way. That didn’t make him feel better but he said he’s come to accept it.

Meanwhile, Beatriz was telling Katheryn the same story in the kitchen. Katheryn, who is their daughter’s age, said, Oh, I’m not surprised, we used to make out all the time when we were little.

I heard about that conversation after we all got back home and Gene had gone to bed.

There were eleven of us all together for dinner. My wife and I, Gene, Noah and his wife and their oldest son sat at the table in the dining room, everyone else was watching the big screen TV in the living room.

After dinner I left the table to go watch the video the boys and the uncle had put on — King Kong. Gene and Noah who was his old drinking buddy stayed at the table with Katheryn and Beatriz and talked old times. Times were good for a while until Gene divorce Katheryn’s mom when she was 10. Gene was trying to forget some of the memories while Katheryn was quizzing Beatriz for all the dirt she could get. Noah and Beatriz had been Katheryn’s mom’s best friends after Gene brought her over from Spain the year before Katheryn was born. He was sta­tioned at a submarine port near Cadiz where he met her.

Katheryn thinks there’s a problem. She’s a year older than Noah’s daughter. So, now, is it going to be genes, like I told Noah, or is Beatriz now blaming Katheryn for making her daughter a lesbian?

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