Here are a few snaps from the Hogan Family Christmas. We aren't very good photographers are we? Nevermind. On with the show:
Opening presents, Daddy in his "Poppy" hat. He isn't smiling because of the hat, Uncle B. He's smiling because Hen and I gave him every episode of "The Rockford Files". I'm still kinda bummed that I only had time to watch the first 6 episodes, just to make sure it was all good.
We made chicken n' dumplins for Sunday lunch. Veritas is usually my go to dumplin' gal, but she was on her way from college town, so the dumplin' baton was passed on to my oldest daughter, Valentine, and my sister Henny. They did a great job. Yes, we roll out the biscuits. It would be insane not to do so. Trust me on this.
No, my sister's real name isn't Henny. I've told this before on the blog, but I'm too lazy to look it up and link it. Henny is a childhood nickname. I call her Henny. She calls me Fuzzy. My cell phone speed dial says "Henny Home" and "Henny Cell". I get birthday cards addressed "Dear Fuz". I guess it runs in the family that both Hen and Fuz will pose for a picture with anything, even a biscuit can. Mom gets in on the dumplin' action:
I'm not sure what Mom's holding there. The last piece of Poppy's Perfect Peanut Brittle perhaps?
Here's a shot of Mom, Hen, and me. (Yes, mother, this is the best picture I had. One had your eyes closed, the other had Hen's eyes closed. This is the proverbial IT, even though I appear to be preparing to attend a Marilyn Manson concert by underlining my eyes with black splotch.) :
This picture reminds me of a trip to the dentist when Mom said I would get my teeth cleaned and because I was young, I actually believed that "getting your teeth cleaned" meant my teeth would morph into movie star wide and bright like Mom and Hen here. I smiled in the bathroom mirror after the cleaning, expecting Mom's teeth to wink back at me, only to find I still had Dad's teeth, only cleaner. It was a bitter blow.
And no family event would be complete without the Joker! game:
Bug, Spence, and Uncle B. Note how Bug and Uncle B immediately hide their cards while Spence, so innocent, keeps his fanned out. Sad, that. Another Joker! shot:
(l-r) Veronica, Viagra, Bug, Spence, Uncle B, Uncle B's rabbit ears on Willard 'cause that's just how we roll, Willard. Again, Veronica covers her cards while Willard just hangs 'em out there for the world to see. I bet he didn't win a game, bless his heart.
Now we do get ridiculous about the Joker! game. Rules are hotly debated, arguments break out, and family members act as if the very Constitution of the United States might have been spat upon during any questionable move. Also, we're alot Irish. On the one hand I find that troubling, but on the other, I've played Skip-Bo with mom's mom, MaMa. I've seen MaMa slap a hand over a card, glare, and grit out, "A CARD LAYED IS A CARD PLAYED."
At the time, she was playing with my 6 year-old daughter and 5 year-old son. I guess she'd mellowed. There was a time when she was really serious about her card games. (Kidding!! She wasn't playing with the kiddies when she did that. The rest: True Story.)
Can we ever overcome our genes plus our history? In our family, not if we play cards. At least we aren't like Dad's side of the family, who actually came to blows over a 42 game. Having played 42 with them, it's completely understandable. They are terrible table talkers and not the least bit subtle. They might as well take out an ad in the New York Times entitled, "I'm going in 6's. Do you have the double, partner? And also, the 6:5? After that, I got it!"
And speaking of the Dark Side, our domino brawler cousin Mas dropped by to visit during Christmas. Fun Times! Here's a shot of me, Mas, and Hen:
We look completely sane, what with being domino throwdown Hogans, dontcha think?
Cousins Kim and Howard also showed up Sunday afternoon. Kim, Howard, Hen and I spent many a summer at Granny Hogan's house tearin' up anvils, locking each other in the cellar, swimmin' in the cow's watering trough, ridin' pigs and motorcycles, and swingin' on cables from the top of the barn rafters into the cotton trailer. I'll never forget the time I sailed past the cotton trailer, let go with seriously bad timing at the far end of the barn, landed all the way down on the dirt floor of the barn, flat on my back, breath completely knocked out of me, and turned my head upon the dirty straw to look deeply into the eyes of a skunk. Incapacitiated, I could only stare at the skunk and hyperventilate further. Lucky for me, the skunk had met Rusty the farm dog earlier in the day and was dead as a doornail. It took me long minutes I will never forget to wrap my brain around the fact that the skunk was actually dead, although still seriously rank. I may have kissed Rusty later, but that's between me and Rusty.
Sadly, our camera died at that point and I don't have a picture of the four of us. We had some serious fun on that farm, but it's probably for the best that there is no photographic evidence as Kim just could NOT keep her mouth shut. We were sitting in Hen's living room with my teenagers and Kim just blurts out, "Remember when you used to drive us around all over the county and we weren't supposed to go past the railroad tracks? And we just snuck on into town and got caught on main street? You were a wild child, Lana!"
People who do not have teenagers! Do not tell these stories in front of other people's children. Now all the kiddies want to drive the car, though they don't have a license or even a permit, just like Mommy. Granted, Granny let me drive around the back roads at 13 and 14 with my cousins and sister, which was insane, but that doesn't mean I'm going to agree to it with my children. Duh! You just know they'll go past the railroad tracks and roar right into town. Hello? They're my kids. What WAS Granny thinking?
And what was I thinking? She lived in a town of what, 1500-2000 people, perhaps only a third of the population directly related to us? Knew me by name? Recognized the car? What person with a brain in their head could have predicted someone might notice? The party line was burning up with the fact that we'd crossed the railroad tracks before we even hit main, dontcha know.
Remember when you thought your parents and grandparents were mind reading geniuses? Then, after you had children, you realized that the real problem in your nefarious deeds being found out was that you were dumb as a box of rocks.
No matter my glare, Kim would not be silenced. She then had to engage my sister and tell about how, "Lana would hang her feet out the car window and let us sit in the floorboard and do the gas?"
I was always there for them, bringing the fun, but just as I was about to insist for the benefit of my youngsters that it never happened, Hen rats me out, "Good Times!!"
And now for the kiddies. This wasn't taken exactly at Christmas, but it CRACKS ME UP! Hen's baby boy, Hogan, is Spiderman. Aside from a few missing legs, he's a dead ringer:
Hen's baby, Ella Jo! It's hard to say whether she looks like her Momma or her Aunt Lana. This picture, however, trends toward Hen. It doesn't matter, really, as her personality is all Aunt Lana. I'll take it:
(l-r) Hen's oldest daughter's (Weewee) baby, Kyleigh, Vision, Hogan with claw hand, Ellie Bellie, and the pumpkin.
Vision, Kyleigh, and Ella Jo.
WeeWee and Kyleigh. Kyleigh was getting pretty tired at this point, but she's still trying to bring the smiles. What a sweetheart.
Daddy and Ella Jo.
Ella Jo and the pumpkin diving on Spence before bedtime. The pumpkin appears to have Ella Jo in a headlock, note the tight grip around Ella Jo's neck. But it's love, people. A love lock about the neck and shoulders.
Hogie Bear and the pumpkin. "We made candy necklaces. Thanks Val! Also we're tired of smiling for all these pictures."
All the kiddies: Ella, Veronica, Pumpkin, Veritas, Hogie, Spence, Kyleigh.
Veritas and the pumpkin. Just cause I like this one. It's late, I know, but life happens on the way to Merry Christmas. Even so, we had a very, merry Christmas.