When the Knies side of my family gets together, there is always a guarantee of lots of chatter. My family is quite a force-we can be a wee bit thunderous when we talk to one another, occasionally aggressive, from time to time stubborn, and quite often impatient to have our word.
When I first met Sacha, in fact, I asked him one evening why he was so quiet. I got some silence as an answer, followed by a thoughtful, deliberate response. I also recall distinctly when we were just married and on vacation in Baja, California and we had to drive from on tip of the coast to the other and our rented car had no radio or CD player. We chatted and gabbed some more. Or perhaps I should say I did most of the talking. After every end-of-subject, I would turn to him and cheerfully say, “And NOW what are we going to talk about”? I think that this is when Sacha reluctantly realized what a big talker I was and that he was in fact, IN for it.
Sacha’s family is perhaps the polar opposite of mine-subtle, quiet, and extremely polite. No one cuts each other off during conversations and the dinner table volume always stays on low. Nobody is filtered out of the entire chat like most of the male population in my family and everyone waits patiently for the speaker to finish. Everything is calm and respectful. Perhaps this is why Sacha is often a bit bewildered during a typical Knies family banter session.
My sister has lived in Belgium for many years and every time we get together, she likes to point out how ear-splittingly loud we are as a family. She announces at almost every raucous chatting session that she doesn’t know any other families who bicker (lovingly) with each other and interrupt one another as much as we do. She also likes to tell us that her husband Christophe’s family is not nearly as booming or as rowdy as we are. This is, in fact, a bit of a feat because the Belgians are quite often a zany, occasionally crazy bunch, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong-I love Belgium and the people of Belgium. I am also forever grateful to them for their gorgeous chocolate. However, I have known more than a few Belgians who could drink me under the table and who usually end up ON the table at the end of an evening out.
So, I believe that my sister should embrace this loveable foible of the Knies side of her family. And, in the end, she can hold her own in a lively babble event just like the rest of us. In fact she can be quite a conversational powerhouse. She just doesn’t like to admit it. I keep telling her that she is one of us, but she doesn’t seem to want to cross over to our side.
My poor Dad unfortunately bears the brunt of this Knies family peculiarity. Donald Knies has always been outnumbered by the women in his family and even if he tries to put up a fight and have his word, he most often is drowned out by the banter of the ladies. As much as my Dad is an amazing storyteller, he still is no match when it comes down to a verbal dual with my Mum, sister, and myself. I see my dear husband unfortunately riding down this same path as my Dad because Sacha has three daughters and a wife and sadly for him, we all like to talk.
Sacha is also very patient with me when I insist on having the last word. It’s true, I kind of sort of sometimes occasionally, well, always like to add my two cents at the end of a conversation. I admit it-I have a hard time admitting that I am wrong. But I am admitting it, right? So I can’t be that bad, right?
In the end, a chat amongst the Knies clan can be a bit of an adventure. We can be pushy and opinionated in our conversational quests. However, as much as we are unruly and eccentric in our chit chat, we still love each other and we truly enjoy spending time together. And even if we are impatient and stubborn, we are loyal to each other and our family. We support one another and accept each other’s quirks. We don’t hold grudges against each other. We just eventually talk out all disagreements. And even if our high volume chatter could use a little adjustment and toning down, we have great stories to tell.