Back in the day, Youngest Daughter was given the assignment by a grade school teacher to chronicle certain family ‘things’ in a notebook. Said notebooks were to be on display with other items for a school night of sorts, where parents come to see what their offspring have accomplished through the preceding weeks.
Being the proud parents and relatives (as I recall, Dearest Sister was there) we covered the three rooms of all three girls in fine fashion, stopping to observe and admire and praise the efforts. Upon reaching the room of Youngest we found her display, and perused the goods, and DSis flipped through her “My Family” book.
Then she called me over to read what Youngest had written regarding ‘Our Holiday Traditions”.
This is what was written there:
“Our holiday tradition is to go to the basement and sit around the Ping-Pong table. When Grandma goes upstairs, we all go to the bedroom and hide.”
Which begs an explanation...
With the X being in the 'relig biz', travels on holidays were limited. Fortunately, my family and our friends felt free to travel the few hours to come to our house to celebrate with gatherings and dinners. And these tended to be large-ish. Too large-ish for our meager dining room table. Oops. We actually didn’t have one.
But we did have a Ping-Pong table in the basement! And everyone fit readily around that. So chairs, table ware, and food were all toted down the stairs from the kitchen, where we could all gather round the Ping-Pong ‘dinner table’ for a meal.
Invariably, something was forgotten. The first time we did this, my mother offered to run upstairs and grab the missing-whatever-it-was. And when she was gone…
Someone said (maybe it was me…), ‘We should hide!’
An old dear friend says, ‘No way! Not from your mother!’ (Dear Old Friend...ever the proper one...)
Wisest Sister says, ‘Well, then, you will be the only one left at the table!’
Whereupon we all rose and ran to the basement bedroom, even Dear Old Friend (who quickly realized being the only remaining at the table was going to be an untenable position, however improper hiding from someone's mother might be), piling through the door, and once there, stood around, smiling at each other like ninnies, trying to be quiet and not laugh, with the little girls looking up at us for direction.
Such good role models we were.
My mother, in the meantime, comes down the stairs with the butter, or salt and pepper, or whatever, and says, ‘My goodness, I am going to enjoy eating all this food myself!’
Whereupon we all tumbled out of the bedroom laughing and it was a good time for all. And every meal from then on, or as long as we lived in that parsonage, at holiday gatherings, whenever someone left the table to get whatever was forgotten, because something always was, the rest scooted off to the bedroom.
It was indeed our holiday tradition.
But Teacher didn’t get the memo. Teacher was eyeing the family from the corner of the classroom…wondering…who were these people and just what were they doing in that basement…