Story #1, The Mystery of the Hand Warmer:
This past Sunday Handsome and I took Klaus to Oklahoma City for the Open Streets festival. Despite the dark and chilly afternoon, we had so much fun! My parents and local sibs and beautiful nieces were all there too, and I loved every minute. Easy family time. We just enjoyed walking up and down the venue, meeting the vendors and jumping rope badly (me) or great (Angela), letting Klaus sniff each of the seven thousand dogs. (He was extremely well behaved. We were proud dog parents.)
And we showed up in a photographer’s public gallery, so we’re famous now, right??
At one point in the exploration, I was walking with Chloe, my sister Angela’s second born. She is a girl with sharp wits. A biting wit, you could say. Her mom bounced up to us and we traded updates about our meanderings. Then she remembered a free giveaway token in her pocket and showed Chloe. “Look, I got you a surprise, you’re gonna love it!”
Some background: Angela is very good at selecting personal gifts, big and small. She has a talent for showing you that she gets you. I love that!!
Anyway. The surprise was a single use handwarmer, the foil-wrapped kind, provided by one of the festival vendors. Chloe had been cold and it was so sweet and funny.
Then it got really funny.
Chloe asked aloud, “How do they work?” and everyone started offering their ideas.
As if none of us adults had ever successfully used a chemical hand warmer before.
Like ever in our very mature lives.
The possibilities of how they might work seemed endless. Who knew the secrets of these tiny packages of sorcery?! Perfect little modern miracles!! Angela and I got more excited and cracked up by the second. We knew it was ridiculous but couldn’t stop. (We also just didn’t know.)
“I think you break it like a glow stick!”
“No, I think you just squeeze it, I’ve been squeezing it a lot in my pocket already.” (Like a picnic condiment, probably.)
“Do you cut it open?”
“Are you sure it’s not electric?”
And so forth.
Imagine a calm but simmering middle school girl fluttering her beautiful eyelashes and collapsing her posture just a little more than it already was. Imagine her sighing so loudly we could hear it even above our cacophony of brilliant ideas.
“Or… you could read the directions???” Freckles sparkling on her cold cheeks.
We busted out laughing so hard and looked. Yep, sure enough, the foil wrapper was printed on one side with clear instructions which were, I am sad to say, not remotely close to any of our theories.
This reminds me of another Chloe story. I am pretty sure this took place last March when our whole group was in town for Grandpa’s funeral.
That photo above is me with my four siblings, March 2017. From the left, not in birth order, is Gen, then me, then Joe (Joey ok PLEASE), then Ang, and Phil (John to his coworkers and to my confoundment). My joke for this moment is that it looks like we had just cut a Beastie Boys cover album. The truth is, we had.
Story #2, Coffee Filters:
Ok. Three generations were crowded happily in Mom and Dad’s living room, talking about lots of irreverent things, things that were especially irreverent considering the somber reason for our gathering. One of the conversations was centered around suitable emergency substitutions for coffee filters.
I don’t remember exactly how this started, but it took off like widlfire. Considering ourselves a clever and resourceful bunch, the list grew by the minute. People suggested clean socks or tee shirts, paper towels, tissue wrapping paper, flour sack cotton, and much more. No one claimed (or admitted) to have ever tried any of these things, mind you; but we were in an unspoken contest to one-up the previous suggestion. You have siblings. You know the drill.
This whole time, Chloe had been playing a video game with her slender back to the room. She had so far contributed zero to this lively exchange. Out of the blue, she said, “Or we could just go buy some more coffee filters!” Dripping with both sweetness and acidity.
We all lost our minds from laughing.
And that is the end of my story today.
A straight line is the shortest distance
between two points.