Sunday Afternoons and the Dreaded Bowl of Doom

Sunday afternoons are supposed to be a time of rest and relaxations. It says so in the bible. I looked it up! After getting up early to go to church at 9 and then Sunday School afterward, we would all come home and enjoy a delicious homemade meal. A perfect set up for an afternoon nap. Then dad would stand up, walk over to the refrigerator, and grab the small bowl off the top. Every Sunday us kids would moan and groan, begging for mercy, but Dad would push on. “Who wants to go first?” he would ask. His question was always followed by a choir of “Dad, do we have too?” “Can we just skip this week?” “Can we have today off?” “I’m too tired.” “Please?” But dad was nothing if not consistent. “We can sit here all day if you want but we’re going to do this whether you like it or not.” “I’ll go first” I bravely proclaimed. My dad held out the dreaded bowl of doom. Then the other three siblings would follow my lead, and the last marble was dads. “Alright you four, those dishes aren’t going to wash themselves.” Slowly, I released the small fist I made around my marble, one finger at a time to reveal… the red marble. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I yelled. The red marble meant I would have to wash the dishes. The most coveted job of them all! Matt had the black marble which meant he would dry, and Andy was blessed with the blue marble, put away. “Bek and Dad always get the green marbles” I complained. “Do you want me to empty the cupboards so you can wash all the dishes we own” dad would offer. “No” I would respond as I made my way over to the sink. “Alright then, you three better get to work.” Mom would always offer to help every Sunday and every Sunday Dad would force her to go upstairs and take a rest. She deserved a break from washing dishes the entire week.

“Get to it then, if I hear any fighting I WILL empty those cupboards” Dad would threaten. Mom and Bek would make their way up the stairs to relax and Dad would reside at his post in the living room, in the form of a recliner to keep a watchful eye on his little soldiers.

Sadly, I looked down at my freshly manicured fingernails and knew my labor from Saturday for beauty would be ruined after this excursion. I did my best to give dad the puppy dog eye but to no avail. My fate had been decided with no one backing down. “Come on Joanna hurry up! I want to watch the game” Andy would press.

Hanging my head in defeat I made my way over to the sink and counter full of dirty dishes; I filled the sink with water and began to wash as fast as I could and then passed them to Matt for inspection. Plop! A clean dish was thrown back into my sink of hot water. “It’s not clean” Matt said. Gritting me teeth I would rewash the dish and hand it back to him. Plop! He threw it back in my sink. With the look of a thousand demons on my face I glared at my older brother, “it’s still not clean” “Well then why don’t you wash it” I would whisper as sternly as I could as to not wake dad who had just begun his slumber in the next room. “I didn’t draw that marble, so I can’t.”

And so the bickering would start. And then get louder and well, let’s just say that sometimes, the cupboards were emptied on Sunday afternoons.

Matt and I washing the dishes. There really should be some child labor law in place, right? 🙂

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The Day Before

It was the day before my wedding. Everything was looking bright and sunny. However, there was rain in the forecast which was casting a shadow on my outdoor garden wedding but I tried not to let that bother me. We had a girl’s day planned the day before and it was going to be a glorious day! We were headed to Marshall to get our nails done and have lunch together. We left the boys home to finish setting up the tents and chairs. My mom left them a list of things that needed to get done while we were getting pampered.

I’m not entirely sure how the whole idea morphed into what it became. Our first mistake was leaving the men alone. My sisters in laws were both in my wedding so that left the boys to play without supervision. I assume the idea started with an individual finding a long piece of landscaping plastic that was left over from the preparations of my wedding at my parent’s house. After that, it all went downhill… literally….

The ladies and I had a wonderful day. We got manicures and pedicures and went out for a delicious lunch. We were excited to come home to see all the work the guys had done but we were greeted with something else entirely. As we drove down the driveway I could see my oldest brother (I say oldest because I have 2) standing at the top of a large mound of dirt that was left from digging the pit where my parents burn their garbage. I remember “what the…” coming out of my mouth. He was facing away from us wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. He slowly turned and looked at us sitting in the vehicle. Straight faced, he slowly turned back around… and then FLUNG himself off the mound of dirt hands first!

After that, all the women started talking at the same time, “What was that?” “What have they been doing?” “They better have finished their list!” Upon further inspection and a walk down to where I saw my brother throw himself off the mound of dirt, I saw what they were doing. All the men, including my future beloved, were soaking wet. They had a garden hose hooked up to the barn and were spraying the landscaping plastic with ice cold water. They had made a slip n slide the day before my wedding.

My mom had organized everything down perfectly so there was a little bit of time to kill before the rehearsal started. Time to kill + Family from across the US gathering + 1 Texan+ God given creativity = DANGEROUS! My husband’s friend from Texas that flew up for the wedding suggested that we move the slip n slide to the sledding hill and proceeded to go into town to buy 100 foot landscaping tarp. And so they did… and yes, this is how I spent the day before my wedding. I did not go down the slip n slide for fear of injury but many did and I think it is now a family activity that will be passed on to the generations!

This last summer my nephew who is 4 years old continued the tradition.