George and Francis are--were--the two oldest sons of the Robison family. George died when he fell into the oven while Mom was cooking. Francis was naughty and the monsters under his bed ate him. George disobeyed Mom and Dad, went into the closet and was never seen again. Francis' demise came about when he heedlessly ran out into the street without looking both ways.
Francis and George, if you can read between the lines, are fictitious members of the Robison family. Dad would deny they are not real and Mom was laugh. Francis and George serve as examples of what will happen to us if we are naughty or disobey Mom and Dad. Now, obviously, this has hardly swayed us from our courses of action, but they are enjoyable stories nonetheless.
Most of the fun comes from talking about them in regular conversation. People, understandably, get confused over who Francis and George are and how we can talk about their deaths in such a nonchalance, goofy way. A classic example of this was today's Robison family Sunday afternoon guest, Mrs. Freeman.
Mrs. Freeman has been friends with my Mom since they were little girls on Alpine Terrace. She, Mrs. Bolan and Mom have been friends for 45+ years, which is why she should not have been so confused when George and Francis were mentioned. Or, from at least the background knowledge of knowing my Father, should have been more perceptive that he was pulling her leg.
It was rather hilarious to watch the family erupt into various fables of the George and Francis saga. "Then George..." and "Well, I guess you have to know Francis to know why he did it..." Even though I was not technically part of the conversation (we were all in the family room: they on the couches and chairs, kibitzing, and I at the kitchen table, typing), I calmly explained to a slightly-frenzied Mrs. Freeman who they were exactly. As Mom so aptly put, George and Francis are different ages and die different ways depending on pending situations. The only constant is that my Father swears up and down they were his first sons and to suggest otherwise would be to dishonor their memory.
Mrs. Freeman: "This whole family is like the da Vinci code!"
Mrs. Freeman, I should also add, only has one child. Her house is therefore composed of her, her husband, and their son, who is friends with John. It is a slightly quieter house. When I was a freshman in college, I told "Julie stories," which always seem to make sense within my own family's setting, but not in a collegiate one, where people have less to say and are more respectful of each other's conversations. Unless you've experienced the full throttle of my family, that mini-background makes this so much more funny:
Mrs. Freeman: "I don't know what's happening! There are five conversations going on at the same time!"
Dad: "This is our life: everyone talks at the same time and the person who has the best story wins."
Mrs. Freeman is gone now, as is the rest of the family. I am listening to Bob Dylan and working on Muffy's laptop, attempting to finish an article due at the end of the year to a journal. I have another piece I have to write for my high school's publication on Tradition. Dad and Muff went to the grocery store, Mom's doing errands with Katie, John and Meg, Mike's disappeared again, and Heidi is larding nearby. She was by my feet, but ultimately decided to curl up on a much cozier chair. We're going to Uncle Mark and Aunt Tracey's tonight for dinner. Still have the sniffles, but nothing more sleep won't solve. Cincy weather is cold, but manageable. Now thinking about finding the Muppet's Christmas Carol and continuing typing to one of my favorite Christmas movies. Or re-watching Charlie Brown. Or a Miracle of 34th Street or It's a Wonderful Life...
It's good to be home!