In today’s entry, I cover the middle years of the strip as Georgia sees them.
It was the night of wedding rehearsal that something came along to relieve the tension that had built up because Phil dragged his feet during their engagement. That something was Geo's mother sitting her down and telling her “Georgia, you're my daughter and I love you but I think you're doing something very foolish letting your common-law’s hillbilly of a sister get this involved with your wedding.” Georgia had to laugh at that a bit. After all, feeding into Elly's petty fantasies of revenge was the only way to make the woman act part-way civilized. It amazed her how people could look at her slobbering with glee at the sick fantasy of Phil beaten down under life’s demands and not realize how horrible she was. No chuffing wonder Phil was so skittish; not only was Elly a horrible example, she made it look as if her horrible way were the only one. If only she could put some distance between the siblings. That way, he wouldn't feel compelled to visit and come home feeling as he'd seen his inevitable doom. It made house-shopping a horrible chore.
Of course, before trying to talk a reluctant Phil into what he still part-way saw as exposing himself to disgracing everyone and buying a home of their own, one of the things Georgia wanted to do was just maybe start a family. It seemed to her that Phil might just have made a fairly good parent despite his odd tendency to not notice how badly off his nephew and niece were under the domination of his older sister. Sadly for both of them, it was not to be. After several false starts, her obstetrician Dr Gilmore flat out told her that it wasn’t worth her health to try to compensate for his low sperm count. It didn’t help matters much that her attempt to put a brave face on their mutual heartache collided with a blind spot Phil had. As she explained to Michael about twenty-five years after the fact, she felt as if were standing outside her own body watching herself say something she should have known better than to say: “In a sad way, it’s almost a relief. After all, I could have been as horrible a mother as your sister is……
This is because she remembered too late that like his parents, Phil made a concerted mental effort not to see what a selfish, vicious, destructive, demanding and entitled petty tyrant Elly Patterson was. As by way of example, Elly didn’t “really” point him at the poor, desperate Poirier woman so that she could have a bludgeon to smash him over the head with any more than she “really” spent most of her time nursing grudges from kindergarten. She also “didn’t” actually believe that Mike’s decision to dress up as what a goofy, out-of-touch nine year old from the ‘burbs thought a punk rocker looked like meant that he wanted to be arrested for defying society; she was just upset that he was growing up too fast. Granted, this innocence and optimistic belief in the good nature of all of those around him was what first attracted her to him in the first place so it seemed to somewhat cruel to try to shake his faith in people. Too bad that she had to because Elly was hell-bent on shaking his faith in himself. Oh, she talked a good game about supporting Mike but what she really wanted to do is make trumpet practice so difficult for both student and teacher that both would quit in despair so that Elly could crow about how Phil should always listen to her because she was born first and so on and so forth.
It was, as a matter of fact, this impulse of Elly’s to make things worse just so she could feel better that complicated things when they were moving. The same person who was a reliable mule back when she was helping with planning their wedding threw a spanner in the works by alluding as to how expensive the whole process was in the hopes that his fear of going broke and becoming a disgrace would cause him to do something stupid that she could use to bleat about how shabbily he treated his poooooor wife and so on and so forth. Sadly, Phil’s inability to realize what a vindictive creep Elly was meant that Georgia had to sit in the back of a clapped-out half-ton so that her clever, resourceful money could save the day. Sadly, the argument went off into a tangent about how she wouldn’t have minded so much if all of the souvenirs he’d picked up from his childhood ended up decorating a landfill.
It was thus almost a God-send that a distraction soon made its presence felt. That’s because the old fellow two houses down had a dog he kept chained outside all night long to go crazy and bark moronically at everything that invaded its ‘territory.’ Since said ‘territory’ had a three-block radius and since the poor creature had been trained to see everything larger than an oxygen molecule as a threat to its owner, the vague hints Mother dropped about starting fresh back home just in case were starting to look more appealing with each passing day.
That being said, she never really did expect the call from her dad about how Mother had ended up in traction after shattering her hip. She also never expected to have to have to help parent her father either. Strange. He’d always looked so in control growing up. Seeing how lost he was helped make up her mind about heading back to the old neighbourhood. Stranger yet, Phil seemed to want to put some distance between himself and Elly now that she was complaining about how her life was ruined forever again just because she had had a third child. About the only amusing thing about having to pull up stakes is finding out what Man-Mummy Bullard was trying to protect his house from. She initially thought he was trying to save his pad from the mythic hordes of armed black people that haunt news programmes only to find out that he really wanted to protect himself from the Province telling him his house was a danger. In hindsight, it should have been obvious that an old fossil somewhere between seventy and dead couldn’t keep his place up to code.