By Dennis L. Morgan
Holidays are all about family, spending time with family, dining with family, retelling the stories which make up your family’s history both good and bad.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter are the big three ‘family’ events. Toss in a wedding or two during the summer and, as a rule, those are sure to be the dates on the calendar when families get together.
From my perspective, families don’t get together nearly as much as they used to when I was a child. Back then, when there was no Facebook, no Internet, just three or four channels on the TV and long distance calls were something you did sparingly, Sunday was family day. After church, we would go out for Sunday dinner, then on to see one or both of my sisters. One lived in Lincoln and the other in Seward. Hours would be spent visiting, or helping out with jobs which could be done in a day. There would always be plenty of food. In the summertime, there would be watermelon or homemade pie and ice cream served before the end of the day.
Those were the days. Forgive me for being nostalgic, but those days are long gone for my side of the family, but they still exist for Lynell’s family.
So, early on Easter morning, we headed up to see Lynell’s mom, her brother and one of her sisters and their families. Some of the nieces were there with their families so, as you can imagine, the house was full of children, very young children. Just how young? There was the child who would walk by and soon you’d hear someone say, “Check out the Pampers, I think this one is done!”
Oliver, nearing age five now, was the talk of first hour. He had the misfortune(?) of being the first child in the family to put a Wi control handset into his dad’s 60-inch plasma TV, rendering it finished after two months of operation. His father said the insurance company would replace the TV and his insurance rate wouldn’t rise? I thought, maybe not rise now but down the road, look out.
Now, it’s customary when I visit my in-law’s house, there’s a spot on the couch which is mine. It’s been mine since 1985 and there’s no reason to think it won’t be mine until such time when it’s replaced.
So, I’m minding my own business, like every son in-law does prior to dinner time, when the first of two barely clad children fly by. Running Bare and Running Barer, having come all the way from Sturgis, had begun their own version of NASCAR, circling the room on an ever-frequent basis. Their names popped into my head, an homage to balladeer Sonny James, and seemed altogether fitting for the moment.
Which brings to mind a question — Why do some parents allow their children to run around nearly naked around family? Maybe, if it’s the middle of summer and the temperature is in triple-digits? But, when the temperature is 50 degrees outside and its Easter on the calendar, surely there must be some Romper Room law against such behavior?
Each time the children passed the couch, the counter in my mind kept going up. I was starting to get dizzy, thinking they would have to take a ‘pit stop’ soon. After all this was the only race of its kind in my sights on this day.
I’m not a parent so I don’t have insights into children’s behavior. Heck, the actions of adults still surprise me from time to time. But shouldn’t parents be responsible for keeping clothes on their kids? I’ve seen moms and dads with five or six children, sometimes more, have better control than others have with two or three?
That ‘pit stop’ finally came when dinner was served. Turkey, pork roast and all the fix-ins, salads galore and homemade crescent rolls, all fit for a king. But, you guessed it, Running Bare and Running Barer weren’t hungry and were back on the lead lap in short time. Toddlers act up, but maybe these two wouldn’t have had their mom and dad been there to watch them. But they’re separated. So grandma appears to be in charge and she had her hands full in another area of the house. As a result, Running Bare and Running Barer were left to their own devices.
By late afternoon we were back home. Both of us were physically and mentally worn out. We just don’t have the necessary patience or stamina to deal with a household full of children firing on all cylinders.
We’ve had many great times as a family. Still, the years have taken its toll. Not everyone we started out with is with us anymore. The house is eerily not the same anymore as the patriarch of the family no longer sits at the head of the table.
As families evolve from one generation to the next, it’s the children who allow them to continue. After all, where would we be without children? Thank God for kids!
Speaking of children, what’s going on with names? Long gone are the days when parents named their children Tom or Jane or Fred. Years ago, simple names made it easier for publishers to get them right.
That’s no longer the case. There’s seldom a week that goes by that a new way of spelling a name appears. Or, penmanship makes the name hard to read.
Perfect example was last week’s senior questionnaire which appeared in the paper. We print the full name with the student’s responses to different questions. In one instance, specifically the name of Zachary was misspelled. His grandmother, Jacqueline Baker, pointed it out to us last week. She’s very proud of her grandson.
I’ve seen Zachary spelled Zachory before and how it was printed when he submitted it to us made it hard to read.
Sorry about the misspelling Zachary!
It’s Royal Wedding Week. Our coverage of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Katherine Middleton begins at 3 a.m. Friday, April 29. That is, we’ll be heading over ‘the pond’ when Buckingham Palace sends our press credentials. NOT!