With Thanksgiving come and gone, it is now officially Christmas season! The brisk weather ushers in a time where we may blast carols without being chided, wear obnoxiously bright green and red everything, and throw glitter around like no one’s business. The hustle and bustle of this time of year may be the source of a little stress for some, but deep down we love preparing for and spending this special day celebrating our Lord’s birth with our family and friends. For the month of December, I will be sharing stories close to our family’s heart, stories told to us by our Beppe. These have been the cause of much laughter at our family gatherings but also a source of wisdom, lessons to be learned, and fond memories. Please, grab a cup of coffee, some delicious, flaky banket, and come into our home! You may feel a little cozy squeezed between Aunt Elaine’s laughter, Uncle Gerald’s soft spoken stories, and who knows how many grand kids at your feet. We welcome you!
Growing up, we would often spend time with our Pake and Beppe while dad was working and mom ran errands. There have been tales of the grand children being stuck there because a “Nor’easter” blew in and stranded us there for the night. Eventually someone would plow a tractor down the road to pick us up, but we were always more than happy to stay with them until then! Here is a story told by Beppe of one winter when she and Pake took seven grandchildren for a whole week. The Richard in this story is my younger brother, whom has always been a little rascal… still is sometimes!
“I often had them sit around the table, playing with play dough. One time, little Richard (this would be Richard Jr., my younger brother) who was four years old, got tired of it and started to throw play dough balls. Pake felt he had to put a stop to that immediately. He said “Quit that, you little smeerlap.” Richard responded promptly, “you’re a little smeerlap yourself.” Smeerlap, translated freely, means “dirty rascal”. It was so funny and Pake loved it, but I told him “Don’t tell Rich and Ann tonight!” When they got tired of the play dough I would send them down to the basement to play. One time, when they went down I heard excited screaming. The basement was flooded! They had already taken their socks off and were ready to wade in the water! So, upstairs again we go!”
I can’t imagine trying to entertain all of us, but I do remember playing with play dough quite often! I specifically remember making birds, complete with a nest and little eggs! We also made snakes, but I don’t like those as well 😉