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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Smell (the sense of smell) (07/29/10)

TITLE: Over The River And Through The Woods
By Marlene Bonney


I love being a grandmother, but sometimes you just can’t win for losing.

There is one Christmas visit that has its rightful place in the family’s Hall of Fame’s “Biggest Disaster” category.

The day started out happy enough. When the little ones awakened, I sat them down on a floor mat to make stick men, animals, cars, airplanes and houses out of mini marshmallows and toothpicks. To my chagrin, the children were not as interested in creating imaginative objects as they were in gobbling them up! By the time their parents joined us, it looked like King Kong had wrecked havoc on the entire little city, now consisting of limbless, decapitated stick figures. Poor Tommy’s blanket sleeper-ed feet refused to budge from the community swimming pool we had crafted--he was screaming something about quicksand—after unzipping his pajamas we realized some of the marshmallows had actually escaped his mouth. Clare, the youngest munchkin, had formed a princess crown and proceeded to wind her curly locks into a taffy-like coiffure. Older sister Madison was unsuccessfully trying to detangle the substance out of Clare’s hair with a comb. Now we had cotton candy on a stick. Several baths and two hours later, the adults sat down to a cold breakfast while the aroma of fried bacon with ham and eggs danced in their heads. The sugar-hyper children weren’t hungry.

And that was that.

Other memorable moments were funnier. Like when 10-yr.-old Kelsie and Grammie played “Beauty School” together, which mainly meant manicures and pedicures. We had vibrant violet, glittery green, and yummy yellow nail polish at our disposal. I artfully gave Kelsie her amazing nail make-over and all the family dutifully admired her dainty little colorful toes clad in rhinestone-studded thongs. (Her brother suggested they looked like dinosaur scales). I was looking forward to my beauty treatment—a little pampering goes a long way at my age—but I was ultimately deprived of the pedicure. Kelsie took one look at my hammer-toed, calloused and thick toenails and handed me the emery board.

“That’s alright, Grams. You can do your own. I think I have to go to the bathroom,” the unmistakable scent of nail-polish remover promising to overpower us in the near future.

And that was that.

Then, there’s 5-yr.-old Brandon. He wanted to play hopscotch, so we drew the chalked numbered squares on the basement cement floor. My knee replacements had been a successful improvement over my arthritic bone-on-bone originals, but I hadn’t “hopped” in years. I took my turn, handing the throw rock off to Brandon.

“You don’t do that too good, do you, Grammie?”

“No, you're right, I don’t,” preparing to explain compromised knees, “do you know why?”

“Because you’re old?” he innocently inquired, the chalk-dust powder tickling my sinuses into a sneezing-laughing fit.

And that was that.

Then, there was the Sunday School revelation. Our 3-yr.-old “Chatty” Cathy lisped, upon hearing the story of the leprous man dipping in the Jordan River seven times,

“Know why Mamas and Papas take show’rs ta-get-ter?”

Poor Miss Linda tentatively gave the expected, “Why?”

“ ‘Cause ders only one bar o’ soap.”

And that was that.

The “coup de grace” of the weekend was making cookies for the grandchildren to decorate, baking some ready-made dough circles adorned with reindeers. The children began food-coloring bowls of white frosting when, ten minutes later, the smoke alarm above their heads blared . . . and blared . . . and blared. Tommy, mildly autistic, does NOT like loud noises and panicked, which set the others off. Meanwhile, smoke billowed from the kitchen oven. I grabbed a hot pad to retrieve the sheet of cookies while our son-in-law (a Superman in crisis situations) whopped the battery out of the detector. That’s when the pen I had inadvertently picked up with the hot pad flew onto the back of the heated oven wall and stuck, melting. Our daughter, allergic to smoke, quickly bundled up her children and took them to the Mall while Steven frantically tried to reach the plastic lava, burning his hand in the process. Now we had two poignant odors competing with each other: burnt reindeer versus plastic ink lava. The smell was overwhelming. It took three hours, two fans, 10 open windows and a shut-off furnace (in 30 degree weather) to get things back to normal. While cleaning up crumbs and mayhem from the failed Christmas Cookie Caper, my vacuum cleaner died. I gave up.

And that was that.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Michelle Wiley 08/05/10
What a fun collection of stories! I liked the repeating "and that was that."
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/06/10
I had so much fun reliving these entertaining moments with your grandchildren. And that was that:)
Charla Diehl 08/09/10
This was a fun and entertaining compilation of memories with the grandkids. The marshmallow story was my favorite.