Family Pranking: Fun New Resolution for 2018?

Meet Ali the Gator:

“Could someone lick me clean, please?

Oh, why’s he covered in whipped cream and jam? Therein lies a tale. Allow me.

Ali joined our family a couple of years ago when the Mate was out doing yardwork. Spotting a lizard near the compost bin, he decided to catch it, in honor of Wing Son One, who does such things. So he stalked it, for several minutes, before realizing…

a) it was plastic

b) it was an alligator, not a common lizard,

c) it was missing two of its feet (likely a lawn-mower accident)

So he brought it inside. Of course I decided to place it under Son One’s pillow the next time he visited. (Gratifying yell of surprise.) Ali then showed up successively in…

a) the soap dish in the shower

b) my tin of Earl Grey

c) the Mate’s tin of coffee beans

d) my hiking boot

The hiking boot prank was especially good, because I was putting on that boot at the visitor center of Haleakala on Maui, last winter. So I sent Son One this photo of “Ali in Paradise”:

Later, he took a hula class and attended a luau.

From Maui we continued our Epic Journey to New Zealand, so there I took another photo of “Ali with Kiwi Mate”:

“Hey, it’s OK–I can’t fly either, mate.”

This past summer, both sons + Mate gathered in Vermont for a construction blitz on our cousins’ “new” old house. Ali flew there in a care package of cookies, to make a legendary appearance inside an ear of corn the Mate was shucking. (Sadly, no picture of that.)

Don’t know how Ali made it back to the Wet Coast, but he reappeared this past month, folded inside the ferry commuter ticket in our glove box. I decided Ali must have a special Christmas. So I stuffed him inside the yule log cake (Buche de Noel) I was creating.

In you go, lil’ guy!

Don’t eat too much whipped cream in there!

Of course I made sure that one of our sons got the “special” piece of cake. (Son One got the honor.)

Alligator? What alligator? Have a slice of Yule Log! Merry Christmas!

We actually borrowed this idea of family pranking from our Vermont cousins. They did the same thing with an evil-looking doll they called “Malice.” The idea of finding a creepy doll inside, say, one’s freezer, veers too close to heart-attack-land for my taste.

But a cute little alligator? All he does is make us laugh, and think of how much we enoy each other. 

Anyone else out there have an ongoing family prank to share? Anyone want to start 2018 with a new tradition? Be sure to take pictures!

Celebrating 60 Years of Marriage: You Go, Mom and Dad

What do sixty years mean?
Threescore. Memories of 1955.  A whole bunch of tree rings.
And in the case of my parents, a milestone on a long and winding road of marriage.

As my sisters and our spouses (or, as The Mate calls them, “spice”) and children gathered last week in San Antonio to celebrate our parents’ 60th anniversary, I mostly relaxed and gave myself over to family re-connection, food, and trying to stay cool. (Did I mention we were in San Antonio? In June? I used to be a Southerner, but after 25 years I’ve lost what little heat tolerance I ever had. Went for a run and thought I might die.)
But now that I’m home (aaaahhhh, nice dry 60s air!) I find myself reflecting on the significance of a 60-year marriage.
My own Mate and I have been hitched for 28, and that seems pretty impressive to us. More than twice that? That seems…at this point, frankly, unfathomable.

I hope we get to fathom it. I hope we get to be grandparents together, if our children so choose. I hope we get to sit around sharing memories of a wedding day so far back the mental pictures themselves have turned sepia.

"Photo by Satsuki "Sunshine" Scoville"

“Photo by Satsuki “Sunshine” Scoville”

I’m not worried about the hard work of marriage. After 28 years, who wouldn’t know about that? But 32 more…that’s a long time for two people to stay healthy.
So I’ll leave my reflections with a prayer of sorts from the second verse one of my songs, “Rocks of Ages.” Mom & Dad, this is dedicated to you…and to me and my Mate…and to any of you out there hoping to celebrate the same anniversary someday:

Albums in piles, stretching for miles,
Children and homes and careers.
Stacking our cares and blessings in layers,
Years upon years upon years.
Yeah, life’s mighty stratified, but I’m nothing but satisfied;
Let’s go ahead and grow old.
Call us sedimentary, we must’ve been meant to be
‘Cause the age that we’re heading for is looking like gold.

Rocks of ages, counting the stages
We entered into with these golden bands.
After all of our changes, the only thing strange is
How the earth still moves when you take my hand.

Wow, you guys. Thanks for the example.

Wow, you guys. Thanks for the example.

Got a partnership of your own to celebrate? Please do!