Holidays at my parents' house are always interesting, because when mine and my sister's children get together, normally well-behaved children turn into shrieking hellions.
This starts when we step through the door - my sister Foo-Dog always beats us there, because she lives across the street from my parents, and we live two towns away. As soon as we walk through the door, Fatty Lumpkins and the Heathenish start shrieking my children's names at top volume and stampede toward us. You'd think these kids only saw each other once every five or six years, instead of a couple times a week.
Heathenish and the Little Professor are closest in age - only three years apart - and when they aren't playing video games, they're trying to claw each other's eyes out. It's amazing, really, because the Little Professor is generally the most laid back of children, but when it's him and the Heathenish, the fists fly.
Fatty Lumpkins and the Sassy Saint are eight years apart, but they're inseparable, mostly because Sassy carries him around like a baby doll. Just wait until he either gets too heavy to carry or decides it's beneath his dignity. It'll crush Sassy. I keep telling her to put him down, but it falls on deaf ears.
Holiday meals with these kids are an exercise in both my negotiation skills and patience. Sassy will eat what's put in front of her or at least find something she'll eat. The boys are another matter altogether - they'd eat nothing but biscuits if they could. (Granted, Grandmama's biscuits are something else, but we'd rather they eat at least one thing with nutritional value.)
The boys are all about getting to the dessert, and eating as little as possible of real food. Every two minutes, they're bringing their plates over and asking if they ate enough to get dessert. It takes several back-and-forth trips, and by the time they've eaten enough, I've spent so much time haggling, my own food has gone cold.
We spent Easter with the family, and my mother made a ham for the Long Suffering Husband. Pre-LSH, we always had turkey for holiday dinners. However, the LSH doesn't like turkey, so my mother makes two completely separate main dishes to cater to his picky palate. She never did that for me, but he has that effect on people.
Despite the cold and drizzle, Grampy Grumpy hid eggs for the kids. He does things like stick them in the branches of trees too high for the kids to reach and under rocks too heavy for them to lift.
Then, he released the children into the yard, sat back and rubbed his hands together and cackled. It was all very Dr. Claw; all he needed was a big, fluffy gray cat.
The Heathenish started following the older kids around and, when they found an egg, darting in and scooping it up.
While Sassy accepted this with her usual serenity, the Little Professor - who has a bit of a nasty competitive streak - was infuriated.
"He's stealing my eggs!" the Professor howled.
"No, I'm not, you stopped looking and I saw it," Heathenish countered.
It's what memories are made of, right?
(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)