Here’s the song reference.
When each member of the tribe was a wee baby, being fed with bottles, Manie used to take charge of the dark-hour feedings. His solicitude had two motives, he explained; first, he got to spend a little extra time with our children while they were really tiny, and second, I would then not feel a need to stay up around the clock trying to keep said babies from awakening their father.
During these late night feeding sessions, he would frequently fire up the Xbox and mow down a few zombies. As the tiny people have grown, he’s had to pare down his Bruce Campbell time quite a bit. For a time, we had a running joke that at least our daughters would know that should there ever be a zombie apocalypse, they would at least know to either shoot for the head or grab a chainsaw, but when Beanie started having nightmares about zombies chasing her, we had to end the practice of letting the girls hang around while Daddy saved the world on a video game console.
Yesterday evening found us over at Deedaw’s for dinner and to meet with the basement waterproofing contractor, to see what needs to be done to render the basement suitable for a playroom for the tribe and work spaces for Manie and me. Bugaboo, Beanie and Mr. Man were absolute troopers about playing outside while we talked to the gentleman, and even Baby Guy hung tough, only wandering inside with wailing pleas for cookies four or five times in an hour. Since dinner was running slightly behind schedule, he got them.
Once we had concluded our business with the contractor, we all sat down to a rather late dinner at around 8:30. Since Mr. Man and Baby Guy’s usual bedtime is 8:00, and Beanie and Bugaboo’s is 8:30, we were relatively unsurprised when all the tiny people were a little giddy at the table. We decided to go with smaller dinner portions and, perhaps, to allow a bit of overindulgence at dessert. This worked well; Baby Guy’s cookie capers had left him with a smaller appetite than usual, but even he managed to eat an acceptable amount of healthy food.
In the end, we were left with Bugaboo and her desperate attempt to find somewhere to hide her potatoes; to her Irish-ancestored mother’s despair, she will only eat the tasty tubers willingly if they are mashed, or sliced into sticks and fried. Given the lateness of the hour, we coaxed and cajoled, encouraged her to eat smaller pieces or pair them with mushrooms, anything we could devise that would make the potatoes more palatable.
Bugaboo slowly consumed the offending starch, chattering in between bites about the wild adventures she and her siblings had created in the back yard, from bat hunting to creating obstacle courses. Of course, we also received a full report on the transgressions of her siblings, including Mr. Man’s continued obsession with turning the knobs on the gas grill (which is an improvement, believe it or not, over climbing the counters in pursuit of quality time with the very sharp knives).
Finally, she was down to a couple of small morsels of potato. Still happy to have an interested audience, she continued her enthusiastic prattle about all things outdoors. “And, Deedaw, do you know, I found a little toy golf ball outside?”
“Did you, now?” replied Deedaw. “And what did you do with it?”
“I put it in the little clubhouse under the slide, because a golf ball is an outside toy.”
Since Deedaw was trying very hard to suppress a chuckle, I assured our oldest daughter, “That was definitely the right thing to do.”
“Uh-huh.” Her voice became softer and more serious, assuming the reassuring, shoulder-patting, confidential tone she’s heard a little too often at funerals and wakes over the past year as she looked back at Deedaw. “And I’m sure that Nonno is playing golf with all the other zombies at the cemetery tonight.
It is a singular mercy that not one of us was taking a drink at that moment.
Can’t laugh, not funny . . .
Not this time. Deedaw and I made the mistake of making eye contact with each other, just as Manie was trying to stifle an irrepressible snort of laughter. I think the expression on my face must have reflected Deedaw’s, which was one of stunned surprise, and we exploded with big, hearty laughs, the kind that shake your body all the way to your toes.
Bugaboo surveyed all this with some confusion, although not unhappy that she’d gotten everyone to laugh. “What? Nonno liked to golf. What else would they do all night?”
I managed to gasp, “That’s not exactly how it works, honey.”
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for the grace of pointing out our need to teach Your blessings the difference between video games and the Resurrection with great good humor, and for the wisdom to recognize the lesson immediately. We are raising them in a culture that frequently denies and derides You, and Your guidance, given with laughter, is indispensable. Please help us instruct them gently in the beauty of Your promise of the resurrection of the body, while nurturing their childish understanding of Heaven, which is now composed of golf, unlimited supplies of Snickers bars, and more bubbles than they can fathom. Thank you for days filled with joyful noise and hope, the days that remind us You will always provide us with the strength we need during times where are trials are more obvious and painful. Please keep us mindful that Your blessings will sometimes make connections that are slightly askew, and grant us always the grace to correct them with love, hugs, and good humor.
And Lord, please help us choose our entertainments wisely!