A jackpot of joy (part 1)

We believe every family should have a Traveain, a consistent beacon of well-dressed optimism.

Our Traveain turned 25 on Sunday and celebrated by hosting a growing gathering of friends and relatives that began in a quiet corner of his favorite restaurant, Cracker Barrel, and, to the consternation of a harried waitress, slowly grew larger until it spilled out over two crammed tables.

In his electric wheelchair, Traveian held court at the head of each table, chatting with guests at one and then swiveling to address the guests at the other table behind him.

Traveain likes to roll old school; he’s a Luther Van Dross fan with high standards for behavior. A vocal teetotaler, he is unfailingly polite, thanking Facebook friends for every like.

He refers to Venus Williams as his sister in-law because, for some time now, his heart has belonged to Serena Williams. To Traveian, though, everyone is a relative.  Traveain officially joined our family this summer, when my sister Kathy married his father, but he’s been calling us Auntie Laura and Cousin Molly for years.

This year, among his stash of birthday presents, Traveain unwrapped a large stack of Super Cash Lottery Forms, by far his favorite gift. He plays each day and intends to win.

“I have a plan,” he said. “But I really don’t want to put that out there like that. I really don’t want the people to know.”

We think Traveain’s favorite present reflects his sunny optimism and, because of that, we think we, his family, have already hit the jackpot.

Traveain danced with his father Keith and my sister Kathy at their lovely wedding this summer.
Traveain and his dad.
Here is Traveain with my mom, Grandma Peggy, at Christmas last year.
An R&B fan, Traveain occasionally helps DJ at Milwaukee’s Jammin’ 98.3. He prefers old school albums featuring groups like the Spinners and Earth, Wind and Fire.
Here’s the birthday boy at Cracker Barrel before all of his friends and family started pouring in.

8 thoughts on “A jackpot of joy (part 1)

  1. He is still talking about how his little birthday gathering of 3 people somehow grew to 17 without his knowledge! Thanks for writing this – I think you captured his spirit well!

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