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Christmases Past, No. 2: Of Mice and Twins

December 20th, 2010 (08:08 pm)

During Christmas break my freshman year of college, I rode a bus from our North Alabama town to Augusta, Georgia. Who knew a trip of 220 miles would entail eighty-eight hours, seventeen propositions from stoned high school boys, soldiers on leave, and old men with pint bottles in brown bags, and an unexpected sprint between Atlanta's Trailways and Greyhound terminals lugging my hot pink Samsonite that certain of my relatives would love to have today as "vintage?"

But I was on a mission, so no travel annoyances were too great. My sister was pregnant with twins who were due ANY MINUTE.



Anyway, that's what I told myself. The doctors weren't so sure, but what the hell did they know? They'd gone from saying two babies to four babies to one baby to two babies (you know, there was a time we didn't have ultrasounds to show us everything going on inside our bodies). Since I'd been forced to go to a piano lesson the afternoon nephew Daniel was being born, and nephew Josh was born in a foreign country called New Jersey, I was going to BE THERE when the twins were born.

Allegedly I was in Augusta to help my sister. I'm not sure what that was supposed to mean. I could divert Josh, wash dishes, and help with other household tasks, but mostly helping meant asking my sister if she was in labor yet. I'm sure that was the best part of HER Christmas. Or maybe it was when I talked her into letting me make chocolate pudding for the sole purpose of getting a photo op with Josh.



Then there was the night we were playing cards at the kitchen table and I began shrieking because I saw a mouse. My brother-in-law Wayne (the one who sacrificed himself on the altar of tuna salad sandwiches) actually had a history with the Cochrane women and mice and went in noble pursuit of the little rodent with the vacuum cleaner. Events went something like this:

Me: There he goes! Get him! Get him!

Debby: Wake up Josh and I'll get you.

Wayne: DAMMIT!

Me: He ran inside the cabinet! Get him!

[Wayne pokes inside the cabinet with the vacuum cleaner hose.]

Debby: Are you trying to clean him or kill him?

Wayne: SHIT!

Me: Are you in labor yet?

The mouse escaped unharmed. Debby didn't go into labor. A few days later, all of Josh's grandparents and my boyfriend arrived to celebrate Christmas with us. Somebody got this toilet seat, providing my mother a chance to pose:



Note the drum under the tree. Josh is now a brilliant blues drummer, but back then, he was also happy to get some wheels:



And I got no babies before I had to go back home and get ready for my return to Tuscaloosa. Those wretched twins weren't born until January 14--but their delayed arrival was the ONLY time they ever disappointed me.


Me with Sarah and Gina when they were the age I was when they were born.

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