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Tuesday
Nov102009

I Got a Rock

I now have more nephews than arms, and that's okay:

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As you can see, Sam The Newborn Nephew is kind of smushed and lumpy, but as his brothers started out the same way, I'm pretty sure he'll unfurl at some point.

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Here you can see part of his bib collection, and also his chic Tiny Flannel Mittens look.  It is fierce.

One of Julie The NephewMama's neighbors captured this on the security cam:

halloween 09 - Copy (2)When I was asked to help with Halloween, I initially thought this was a sop to a pathetically incompetent aunt, one who still cannot discern Annie from Clarabel on sight.  But Jim and Will were hitting the neighborhood with their cousin Max, and as soon as they reached the end of the sidewalk, they immediately dispersed in three different directions.  Jim tried to cross the street, Max trundled down the hill, and Will, still not clear on this whole trick or treating concept, headed for his own garage.  Clearly, a man to man defense was required.  I took Thomas the Tank Engine in hand.

The first house was the one next door, the very one Julie and Country The Brother-In-Law used to inhabit when they were first married.  (This is how we do things, on the West Side.)  Jim and Max performed admirably and came away with M&M's.  Will made it halfway down the driveway and stopped dead.

I encouraged him forward a step. "Come on, Will!"

Another step.  He stopped dead.

I moved forward another inch so that he could understand that all of a sudden it was all right to leave the house after dark and go to a strange person's house in search of food he's normally told he isn't allowed to have.  "See what James is doing!  Come on!   It's okay!"

I got maybe another millimeter out of him, and then the neighbor took pity on both of us and  hurled the candy in his general direction.  "Oh, Will, wow!  Look at that!" I said in tones normally reserved for a lunar landing.  "What do you say?"

Will stooped down, collected the M&M's and ran in the opposite direction.  Perhaps he knew that I was about to have my first sighting of a Snuggie in the wild.

Country The Brother-In-Law, meanwhile, was collecting beer.  (This, also, is how we do things on the West Side.)  He started out with Miller Lite, then graduated when another family down the street saw the Miller Lite, scoffed, and insisted that he take a can of Yuengling.  I was vastly disappointed in this.  First of all, aunts weren't offered beer.  Second of all, in my day, the Greek Orthodox family who lived at the top of the cul de sac used to distribute shots.  (This escaped my notice until I was told about it after I reached my thirties.  I suppose I was too busy somehow managing not to burst into flames in my plastic Cowgirl Barbie mask and matching vinyl smock.)

The stunning differences between an in MY day Halloween and what currently passes for Work for Candy didn't stop there.  It was obvious that a Sam's Club was part of the local landscape; several homes offered full size candy bars, formerly only rare, a set-aside treat for cul-de-sac kids.  Do you know how many Bit-O-Honeys, Mary Janes, and generic Pez I had to sift through to get to the occasional mini-York's Peppermint Patties?  DO YOU?!

One house offered an array of Hershey's delights and Butterfingers; when Will was encouraged to choose, he announced, "I want the yellow one."  Thus Mommy had a full bar of one of her favorites before bedtime went down.  James, meanwhile, fully conscious of his peanut allergy, chose Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Paydays, and Reese's Pieces.

If you've never been to Cincinnati, allow me to clue you in that in addition to featuring alcohol-based neighborhoods, it's also really, really hilly.  Will enjoyed going down a hill well enough; in the picture you see above, he was just starting to run, prompting the group behind us to observe that I had a runaway train to manage.  Going up the hill?  Not so much.  On the Thomas the Tank Engine DVD's, the engines are forever breaking things, smashing cars, hurting feelings, and in general creating an OSHA nightmare, but on this night, Thomas went on strike.

"I don't like the hill," Will announced.

When we returned home, he burst in the house with the news that "I did it!"  What he did not mention was that Aunt Beth carried him the rest of the way, and that Daddy had used Jim's plastic pumpkin as a beer courier so as to share the yeast wealth with Poppy Ron.

The division of candy involved removing everything peanut-based, but as Jim was left with a bounty of Ring Pops, he was pleased with life.  Will carried a piece of candy to his grandmother, along with the happy news that he now had chocolate in his posession.

100_4086It was a Milky Way, and it did not please him.  He abandoned half of it on the kitchen table, and went hunting for Skittles.  Blasphemer.

been tipped worse at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com

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Reader Comments (12)

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Jim is getting towering tall! Your brother-in-law should start calling some NBA scouts :)

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

Well, Country is over 6-5, so we'd be surprised if he weren't. This likely also explains why Sam had to be measured with a yardstick.

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMB

My best trick-or-treat story involves the year we were broke, so my dad took an old cardboard box, some red, yellow, green construction paper, and fashioned a stop light costume for my brother. It was just dandy until we went to my aunt's neighborhood in pursuit of those full-size candy bars and a neighbor scared the living daylights out of us by playing dead-scarecrow on his front lawn.

My brother tried to run away, tripped over a crack in the drive way, and ended up a very scared, screaming stoplight turtle. We - being the compassionate folks we were - spent several minutes laughing at his terrified plight before hauling him to his feet. Somewhere I have a picture of us from that Halloween...

Oh, and I know about the tall kids. My 2 1/2 year old comes up to the top of my hip and I'm 5'6"! Bring on the lucrative NBA deal...

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpraybrethren

'Runaway train,' haha. I'm impressed you handled 3 boys...my brother only has 2 and I still lost one of them in the store once.

November 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMama_S

Cute pics of the kids. I chuckled at the 'runaway train' comment.

We had 98 kids at the door this year - that's the most in the 12 years we've lived here. My favorite quote came from a boy leaving a neighbor's house, yelling across the cul-de-sac 'I got a popcorn ball for Dad'. Yep, Dad gets the popcorn, not the candy.

November 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCJ from St. Louis

Missed seeing new posts! Glad you're back!

Looks like trick or treating was a fun experience!!
Back in MY day, if you got a pack of Skittles, you were overjoyed. SweetTarts (hate 'em) and Now N Laters were de rigeur. BLEH.

We had NO trick or treaters. Last year, we had 4. Things were more exciting when we lived in the townhouse. Oh well! Glad the boys cleaned up!

November 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKris

What, no Smarties?

November 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnne from Iowa

MB - I always laugh out loud at your posts - and this is definitely of of your best if how often I laughed is any indication.

November 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHollee Chadwick

Thanks so much-- I needed to hear that today :)

November 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMB

MB - I just nominated Blonde Champagne for the 2009 Weblog Awards in the best humor blog category.

November 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHollee Chadwick

Hey, kudos on the obscure Peanuts reference too! Didja happen to see any sign of the "GP" while you were out?

November 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlabamaguy

Wohoo! Thanks so much :)

November 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMB
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