Archive for February, 2009

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Rice Krispies & Razor Blades

February 26, 2009

Our family generally kept Halloween low key, as in, Mom would put me in the bathtub early on October 31st and then ask while she scrubbed, “Sarah Chelle, do you want to be a ballerina, a nurse, or a dog this year?” Those were the costumes we had, and therefore those are the only choices I remember having. By the time the hand-me-downs reached Ben, there were slim pickings.

Creepy McCreeperson

Creepy McCreepers

Mom and Dad were always a little wary of celebrating this holiday at all, what with the Druids and goblins and Halloween mythologies that required much overlooking. One particular year really cinched it, though. We ended up trick-or-treating a house that I am sure would have given the creeps to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

To make the situation more ironic, Shannon and I were both dressed as pilgrims. No one ever said that we kids fit in during those years… Adam went trick-or-treating with us that year too; he was a clown, complete with wig, white and red face paint, suspenders, and lots of jokes to tell. I’m having trouble remembering Ben’s costume… Was he a ninja?

We visited Gram’s house, of course, and she was ready with lots of candy. Since she lived on a quiet little dead end street, we figured there would be no harm in just making a circle around it and calling it a night. At the end of the street lived some serious die-hard (get it?) Halloween supporters. In order to catalog all that they had going for them, I will need a bulleted list:

  • Intricate costumes – these people didn’t just slap on wigs and carry brooms. Their witch costumes included fake warts, green face pain, grossly long fingernails, and black, billowing witch dresses.
  • Ghosts – there were ghosts sticking up out of the ground as well as ghosts hanging in the trees. Ghosts of all shapes and sizes.
  • Music – eerie music played from a tape recorder that they had extended from the house and placed in the middle of the yard.
  • Photography – Yes, they took photos of us. They told us we were adorable – how did they know we were so susceptible to flattery? I’m not sure they knew Shannon and I were pilgrims, and judging from the enormous, black, traditional pilgrim gowns we were wearing, I’m not sure I blame them. Then they asked to take photos with us, and we naively stood there while they put their hands on our shoulders and posed. Weirder than weird.

The one benefit to come from this visit, or so Adam thought, was that instead of cheapo candies for their guests, the Halloween junkies had gone all out and made us genuine rice krispies treats. After the photo-taking, Mom whisked us away as fast as she could and piled us into the van to go home.

And tonight we have a decadent rice krispies treat, garnished with a razor blade. Enjoy.

And tonight we have a decadent rice krispies treat, garnished with razor blades. Enjoy.

As the reality of the experience sank in, she issued an order – no eating the rice krispies treats. At that point, Adam had the treat in his hand and was poised to chomp down, so of course he objected and asked why. Mom’s response could not have been more effective at meeting her objective. She told us that the treats could very well have razor blades in them. (!!)

Mission: Keep the kids from ingesting possibly poisonous, dangerous treats.

Status: Accomplished.

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Ben’s suggestions

February 24, 2009

In response to my plea for suggestions, Ben came through with the following list, posted on my Facebook wall:

memories suggestions:
– i would say fishing, but maybe i should just call it “counterproductive pole entangling”
– GI joes/barbies
– did we try to talk with forks in our mouths at dinner sometime? also the food fight.
– that one stupid cat we had. oh wait, not a memory yet. yet.
– Legos
– the last time we went trick or treating
– shannon stalking shane the priest
– playing tennis or “war-ball” with adam p.
– our family’s educational vacation to gettysburg (the suck)
– also getting gifts on any family trip
– movies we watched, like scamper, scruffy, humania, disney movies (hahaha he’s got a knot in his tail), wilderness family
– imitating ice skaters in the living room, complete with roller skates, and of course the classic family line uttered by yourself
– any crush that any of us kids had. haha what fools we were.
– going to wesley and singing “when we all get to heaven” or “i don’t know what you came to do”

that’s all i got for now but i’ll let you know if i think of anything else.

These are excellent suggestions, every single one. I have therefore decided to work down through the list, excluding only those stories that might embarrass my sister unnecessarily. Thanks, bruh-THER!

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Being Saved in the 90’s

February 22, 2009

Dad loves to preach. That statement is not just a leftover from some tumultuous teenage years (I really did not have any of those, except when I was first learning to drive… that was tumultuous for all involved.) Seriously, my dad really loves to speak from the pulpit, because at his heart, he is a teacher. His sermons are the results of hours of research, study, prayer, and thought. We all enjoyed listening to Dad’s sermons, mostly because of one in particular that we had the blessing of getting to hear multiple times.

That sermon was entitled, you guessed it, “Being Saved in the 90’s”. First of all, it bears the most fun title of any other sermon I have ever heard of (unless you count Josh Harris’ messages as sermons, I guess). Second of all, since the sermon ventured into things-that-are-wrong-with-our-generation territory, Dad had to tread a fine line between being specific about cultural problems and using words that were not allowed in our house.

While making the point that there are elements of our culture that you don’t participate in if you are truly saved in the nineties, Dad gave the example of a popular movie which had just hit theaters. In order to keep his sermon G rated, he referred to this popular movie as “Beavis and… his friend”.

And we will never, ever allow him to forget.

Beavis and His Friend

Beavis and His Friend

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The Little Gentleman

February 18, 2009

Anyone who has met my husband John knows that he is nothing but kind and courteous to everyone. What you might not all know is that his mannerly tendencies stem from his earliest childhood. To illustrate, I will share with you one of the favorite John stories from his growing up years. My wonderful father-in-law, Tony, provided the details for this memory.

When John was two years old, Grandpa Kip invited the entire family to the now extinct Atrium at Hasenour’s restaurant in Louisville, KY to introduce to them his beloved fiance, Vesta Trawick. The importance of the occasion and elegance of the atmosphere was not lost on baby John, who was dressed in a little suit just like everyone else. It was indeed a momentous time.

Sitting in his little chair at the table, John engaged everyone in the family in conversation, used proper etiquette as he ate, and in short impressed everyone with manners that most young adults fail to grasp, not to mention most toddlers. Before long, the waiters who would stop by to fill water glasses and remove dinnerware would pause at John’s chair and ask, “And how is the little gentleman?” They even took bets with one another as to John’s age.

For along time after that day, John’s household nickname was “the little gentleman”. Can everyone say “proud parents”? Yes, I believe so.

Indeed.

Note: John no longer responds to either “the little gentleman” or “the big gentleman”, and all readers are advised not even to try.

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Etymology of a bus

February 12, 2009

My mom was half homeschool mom, half errand runner during our formative years. We spent quite a lot of time in the car, so much so that we became absolute fiends at some of those great riding-in-the-car games. One of our favorites was counting woodies (that is, those cars with the faux wood strip across the side, most popular in old station wagons). Woody counting got to be a pretty competitive endeavor.

But I am losing my way here. Before we were old and mature enough to keep ourselves occupied with travel games, we entertained one another by waiting for someone to say something, then jumping at the opportunity to make a correction to that person’s statement. Ben was often a prime target for such corrections, since he was just learning how to talk in the first place. On this particular occasion, both Shannon and I got to censor him. Double whammy.

Gazing out the window of our burgundy van, Ben noticed a big, yellow, you-guessed-it-already bus. Thrilled, he exclaimed in his little kid voice, “Look, a bup!”

I was on it. With my adorable lisp, I corrected him, “Ben, it’s not a buuuup, it’s a buth!”

Fortunately, Shannon was old enough to know how to pronounce words and to have outgrown any lisps she may have had. She turned around in her seat, gave us a smart, knowing look, and said, “No, it’s a BUS.”

Now that the story is in writing, it doesn’t seem too exciting. Nonetheless, I still get a kick out of it every single time.

Thanks to Shanny for this suggestion!

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Sackloth and Ashes

February 9, 2009

Anyone who has been home schooled has a number of stories to tell about their mother’s creativity for conveying concepts. Personally, I believe that my mom could win an award for her ingenuity. Could and should.

Our study of King David’s reign is difficult to forget. We started out by reading about his life and times, probably listening to lessons on tape or watching a video about him. I specifically remember learning about the most tragic parts of David’s life and the way he responded by weeping in sackloth and ashes. The three of us kids felt we had a decent grasp of the wise king’s reign, but apparently, Mom thought we needed to have a more personal experience of it.

Therefore, she whipped out some burlap sacks with holes for our heads and arms. It was a real “Aha” moment – now we really understood what it meant to weep in sackloth. Unfortunately, the Scripture we were studying specifically said that David wept outdoors, in the street, or perhaps in front of the temple. That part is a little hazy. Regardless, Mom marched us right into the bright outdoors and had us sit down at the side of the street of Jerusalem, aka our driveway.

Since our back yard was clearly out of sight of any potential passers by, we were content to sit there wearing our potato sacks and pretending to weep and mourn like David did. That is, until Mom added the final piece. We unsuspecting kids crouched in the yard while Mom walked off toward the house, then returned holding a huge gardening shovel and the ash bucket from the fireplace. She proceeded to dig out a heap of ashes and dump them directly onto Shannon’s head. Choosing Shannon first was strategic – if Shannon had seen what was coming, she never would have stuck around to experience it. Ben and I, on the other hand, were pretty mesmerized, and we sat there in surprise while Mom dumped ashes on our heads too. We even have photos that she took while we assumed our most agonized poses, perhaps even the same ones David did.

Shannon did not join us in our sackloth and ashes photo shoot, by the way. We lost her as soon as she was covered in soot. I can honestly still remember the tenor of her voice when she screamed out, “Mom?! I’m out of my conditioner!” Mom patiently reminded her that David went through this same thing, to which Shannon responded as she flew into the house, “Well, I’ll bet he had conditioner.”

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Yes, yes, I know…

February 5, 2009

As you can see, it has been awhile since I last posted. It is not that keeping this catalog of memories running is unimportant to me – quite the contrary! However, I have concluded that posting here is going to be a matter of high points and low points. I’m currently ruminating over several topics to post.

This half-hearted apology is also a call out to The Fam to submit memory suggestions. You know who you are.

Here’s to ramping up for another round of posting!