Friday, July 22, 2011

Dragging the Monster From Under the Bed

I have never believed in guardian angels. The idea of a divine bodyguard, with the sole assignment of following me around and protecting me from bad things happening, is a superstition belonging to middle-aged women with fluffy hair and a collection of Precious Moments figurines. It's unrelated to Biblical descriptions of angels, and it doesn't play out convincingly, since lots of people (including me, sometimes) have horrible things happen to them. So if guardian angels exist, they are either bad at their jobs or only assigned to a few lucky jerks.

And the flip side of this is, I've always been skeptical about fallen angels, too.

Barracuda: A Family Tradition

One of the major milestones of my childhood was being old enough to participate in the Barracuda game. I used to go to bed sulking when we visited Granee and Granddad, knowing that the grownups were sitting around the table in the breakfast room and playing late into the night.

Barracuda is a version of rummy that nobody else has ever heard of. We don't know where it came from and why it's called what it's called (although we speculate that it's because typical gameplay involves a lot of watching and waiting and then a sudden fit of activity). Since the great-grandparents are no longer living, we can't ask them. But we still play it, just three generations of us now, always pausing at the beginning to say "Who's keeping score? I don't remember how to keep score. Barney, do you remember how to keep score? No? Look, here's last year's score pad. That doesn't look right. I think we did it wrong last year. Does anybody know how to keep score?"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Letter to My Brother, or, Don't Fear the Wesleyans

Hey, kid. Remember all those years that we hated each other's guts? All the fights we had over toys and chores and schoolwork? Remember how we'd stand in the living room and scream back and forth, and then you'd throw something at me, and then I'd slap you, and we'd huff and puff with rage for about five seconds before hearing The Mother's key in the lock and realizing that, if either of us told on the other, there would be a Reckoning? By the time she had her briefcase through the door, we had apologized and were busy doing each other's chores and pretending that we had been getting along nicely all day.

Anyway. I'll forgive you for being lazy and annoying if you'll forgive me for being bossy and intrusive. It wasn't easy being the big sibling in a single-parent working household, and you had to deal with me as both sister and custodian most of the time. I didn't have the patience, good humor, or ability to judge priorities that you needed in a full-time babysitter. And you-- well, you weren't the easiest kid to be home alone with every day. I'm not going to forget the Grape Jelly Incident.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Abridged Version

Can't wait two days for the official movie release? Didn't read the book and having trouble keeping up with the films? Waiting in line at the movie theater already and killing time on your smart phone? (You dork.) Then spoil everything with the following abridged version of Harry Potter 7.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Four Ways that Roman Catholics Are Awesome

I have to give credit where it’s due: Catholics are pretty good at what they do. Here are some ways in which Catholics leave Evangelicals in the dust:

Friday, July 8, 2011


Eleven started off with a bang. Three days into eleven, I dug a tube of what looked like pale pink lip gloss out of my Christmas stocking and ran eagerly to a mirror to apply it. To my horror, the gloss was colorless, and I ran just as quickly back to the room where my mother was sitting, happily watching the children playing with their loot.

"It's clear!" I shouted, and flung the offending cosmetic at my startled mother.

At eleven, I had all of the neediness and lack of self-control that I'd had at ten, but also had the firm conviction that I was now a grown-up and should be respected. At eleven, I was furious at Miss Joy for talking baby-talk to us at Vacation Bible School, and for expecting us to call her something as babyish as Miss Joy. At eleven, I grew five inches and found that my hips suddenly banged into doorknobs. At eleven, I woke up one morning to find that the shoes that had fit the previous day were now a full size too small.

My mother checked a book out from the Bryan College library. It was a book on puberty, published in the 1970s. The opening chapter introduced a classroom of well-behaved children who asked their biology teacher conveniently leading questions. One day, the children arrived at school to find that their hamster, which had given birth the previous day, was now alone in her cage. The teacher explained that sometimes first-time parents, too young to emotionally handle giving birth, will devour their offspring.

I didn't finish the book.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Listen to What I Mean, Not What I Say

My husband has some directional issues that get worse when he's upset. When he's under no pressure and feeling confident, he knows his right from his left, off the cuff, about 50% of the time. He usually gets it right when he pauses to double-check. But when he's driving and lost, he reaches a point at which he is so flustered that he confuses right and left 100% of the time. So my job is to sit there with the map in my lap and judge at which exact moment it is time to start mirroring the directions and tell him "turn right" when we need to turn left.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Mountaineer's Courtship

Here's a video of a song we learned up in the mountains at Bible camp. It's an old country song and the lyrics vary. Two people sing back and forth to each other, as in the song "There's a Hole in the Bucket." Also as in that song, the female gets more confused and/or exasperated as the song goes on.