Be forewarned, this is a very long post. I considered splitting it in two and posting them separately, but then I thought, nah. If you want to read half today and half tomorrow, nothing’s stopping you.
The following is by no means a comprehensive list of the most frequently discussed remembrances in the Sweet family, but it’s a start.
That time my dad lost Corinne in a theme park. She was three, my brother was seven, and baby Annie needed a diaper change. Dad was given charge of the older two, but when my mom exited the restroom ten minutes later, he only had Jake with him. And he didn’t even realize something was wrong with that picture until my confused mom asked him where Corinne was. Turns out he’d retrieved one child at the end of a ride, and not the other. Long, awful, panic-stricken story short – Corinne had had the presence of mind, at three years old, to find the car in the parking lot and wait there. Basically, my sister is a genius.
That time my dad startled the dog so intensely, she immediately threw up. I can’t think back on this story without snickering. Sadie was standing at the entrance to the living room, facing all us kids, when my dad began to sneak up behind her. He made eye contact with us, held his finger to his lips, then grabbed poor Sadie with a loud holler. Her reaction was instantaneous.
How we shamed the aforementioned dog so mercilessly each time she farted that she eventually took to running out of the room of her own accord when she felt one slip. One time, I kid you not, Corinne blew a gigantic, obnoxious raspberry, and Sadie went sprinting away with her tail between her legs.
That time my mom called me Jerry.
That time I got into my diaper during a nap causing a mess so vast that the poor overwhelmed babysitter called her own mom in tears to come help clean me up. (I got repaid for this one TENFOLD when I myself was a fifteen-year-old babysitter, by the way. That little kid’s diaper was practically around his ankles, it was so full of poo. Gross story short, it was all over both of us by the time I finally wrangled him into the tub. I’m certain that his parents force-fed him an entire bottle of castor oil just before I showed up. There’s no other explanation.)
That time I named a stuffed animal “Polyester”. On a special outing, my mom let Annie and me pick out any stuffed animal we wanted. Annie picked a big giraffe and I was drawn to a small, speciesless white creature, who knows why. I presented the tag to my brother’s friend, J.J., and asked him if a name was printed on it. Reading the fabric materials, he replied that its name was Polyester (Him: “It means ‘White Blood’”)(Me: “Cooooooooool!”)
That time I bit the babysitter’s butt. I’ve briefly mentioned this before on my blog, so to quote myself: “As the often retold story goes, she was washing dishes after we were all supposed to be in bed when I came sneaking out of my room and bit her on the butt. Surprise!” My parents are still good friends with her and she came to dinner one night a couple of summers ago. It took exactly 9 minutes from the moment she walked in the door for my dad to bring up the butt-biting fiasco.
That time Annie pulled her pony over in the middle of a cross-country trial after a particularly violent fence refusal, leaned over, threw up, then continued on the course like nothing had happened.
That time Corinne kicked her friend Shanna Neely out of a fit of jealous rage. Shanna was playing with Annie and me when a blur came streaking across the room toward us. She took a running start and everything. Nailed Shanna square in the kneecap. She limped all the way home, bleeding. (The weirdest part about this story is that after moving from Kansas to Alaska, then Virginia, we somehow ended up in the same town as Shanna AGAIN. She showed us the scar.)
That time my mom’s boarding pass dubbed her “Icky Sweet”.
That time I used rocks to carve pictures into the hood of our brand new Volvo.
That time I used marshmallows stuck to my palms and feet to give added traction for climbing the doorframe. (Kids are so stupid!)
That time a guy at the Washington International Horse Show’s rake fell apart. I’m positive this isn’t funny to anyone but Corinne and me, but it has to be included because it comes up at least once each time the family gets together. In between some events, they entertained the crowd by setting up Jack Russell terrier races (if you’ve never seen one, you haven’t lived. Endless fun. The dogs chase a foxtail over tiny oxers and into a hay bale fortress…really, about the best idea ever conceived). Anyway, after the races are over there’s typically hay strewn all about the arena, requiring a clean-up crew before the next demonstration can take place. There were about twenty people involved, most of whom were raking up the hay. Eventually my gaze zeroed in on this one guy, and as I was watching him – HIM, of all the people in the arena – the rake flew off of his stick, mid-stroke. Came clean off, and HE DIDN’T. EVEN. NOTICE! Just kept right on going with a rakeless stick for a good three, four strokes, before blinking back into consciousness. And then, what does he do? He’s standing there in the middle of a crowded stadium – thousands and thousands of people on all sides – and he glances around sheepishly to see if anyone saw. I gasped and turned to Corinne, about to scream what I just saw in her face, but her expression revealed that she’d just seen the exact same thing I had. Of all the other things we could have been looking at. We laughed for an hour.
How I called gum “bum” before I could say it correctly, and the confusion this caused when I asked the sitter for bum over and over and over with increasing frustration.
How Corinne is incapable of dressing her salad without dumping half the bottle all over her plate. Also, how no meal is complete until Corinne knocks over a glass of milk.
That time a nurse at Madison Memorial Hospital very nearly killed me by way of an overdose. My stomach had to be pumped and everything. Poor tiny baby. Sidenote – my parents are terrified of Madison Memorial. Terrified. They’ve known several people who were misdiagnosed and/or just about murdered at the hands of that hospital’s crew. It got so bad that they actually made a pact with each other that if one of them was having a medical emergency, the other was to NOT call 911 (Rexburg being the nearest town, the ambulance would take them to Madison Memorial) and instead drive them to Idaho Falls, which is 40 minutes away. And my favorite part of it? THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED! My mom thought she was dying a few months ago, couldn’t get a hold of my dad, and therefore had her neighbor drive her to Idaho Falls. She passed a kidney stone on the way there.
That time 3-year-old Annie described a food as tasting like “raw dragon."
That time Corinne accidentally cut a hole in the side of my hamster while performing an ill-conceived haircut. We located a mat, I held him tight to prevent undue squirming, and she took the first (and, incidentally, last) snip. The shears nicked too close and his delicate little hamster skin instantly spread wide open. We didn’t realize it was just a (very large) flesh wound at the time – all we saw was a huge red hole where Bandit’s left side should have been – so we completely freaked out. When my dad walked in the front door five minutes later, he thought someone had been murdered. (The hamster lived, thanks to a combination of my mom’s superb rodent nursing skills and the fervent prayers of three traumatized little girls.)