A little over eight years ago, I wrote a story about my sister, Caryl Reed and how my sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Alena Stevens, Allyn Hadlock, and I used to attack her and give her the “tickle torture” on a fairly regular basis. Little did I know then, the impact that story would have on my readers. In the eight years the story has been up, it has received 1016 comments, which is far more than any other story I have written. I have had countless numbers of people tell me their own stories about being tortured or being the torturer. Several have suggested that I need to write another story on tickle torturing tales, and with that, Tickle Tales was conceived in my head. I thought I might highlight some of the funniness that has been born of the Tickle Torture craze.
One friend, Suzy approached me with some ideas to get her siblings, and after enlisting the help of her particularly devious brother-in-law, the tickle “chair” was born. The tickle chair really isn’t a chair at all, but is a portable set of “stocks” to lock the victim’s feet in place while the torturers tickle away. Now I’ve never had this done to me, but I can tell you that anytime you can’t kick or get away from your tickle attacker…the situation becomes a true form of “friendly” torture. While some people might think this harsh, their family loved it, and even made bets on things, like football games to decide who the next victim was. As far as I know this is now a new tradition in their family.
A couple I’m friends with, Mike and Ashley asked me for some ideas to get started on their own betting scheme. After a number of times at being Mike’s victim, Ashley and her girlfriends finally exacted her revenge. Mike had made a habit of taking a nap on the couch…an “unfortunate” mistake for him, and so the girls managed to place ropes under the couch and tied his hands and feet to the legs of the couch. Helpless to fight them off, the girls gave him the tickle torture of a lifetime. Mike is a good sport, and even being given a pedicure by his captors didn’t upset him. It did, however, make him decide that revenge was the only logical response to this. He got his revenge using feathers on Ashley’s feet, while her toes were tied together. Their current bet involves the loser on this years’ football games, and a Super Bowl Revenge that will be carried out over the course of the Super Bowl game…the whole game…when they score, or commercial breaks, half time show, and of course, the game ending finale!! Yikes!! I pity the loser in this competition!!
Tickle Torture is a great way to keep life interesting, and as long as everybody is a good sport about it, can bring a lot of laughs. The thing I find funny is that even while being tickled, very few people get upset, because tickling isn’t, after all, painful. And it does make you laugh!! I don’t think that Tickle Torture will ever be a thing of the past. It’s just too much fun!! Have you tickled someone today?
When most people think of a meteor or meteorite hitting the earth, they think of the complete destruction of our planet, because that is the image portrayed by the movies, but the reality is that the earth gets hit quite a bit, and the effects are far from disastrous. What is far more unusual, and in reality, almost non existent, is the probability of a person getting hit by a meteorite, in fact, there may only be one known case of that at all.
The Sylacauga meteorite fell on November 30, 1954, at 12:46 local time in Oak Grove, Alabama, near Sylacauga. It is commonly called the Hodges meteorite because a fragment of it struck Ann Elizabeth Fowler Hodges (1920–1972). It is thought that Hodges is the only person ever hit by a meteorite, and the meteorite, while officially named the Sylacauga meteorite, was nicknamed the Hodges meteorite. As the meteorite made its way to Earth, the 8 1/2 pound grapefruit-sized chunk of space rock crashed through the roof of Hodges’ home, hit large wooden console radio, and ricocheted into her side and hand, while she napped on a couch. It left a nasty bruise, which looks eerily like a meteorite itself. It was the first documented extraterrestrial object to have injured a human being. The 34-year-old woman was badly bruised on one side of her body, but was able to walk. The event received worldwide publicity.
The meteor made a fireball visible from three states as it streaked through the atmosphere, even though it fell early in the afternoon. There were also indications of an air blast, as witnesses described hearing “explosions or loud booms”. The meteorite was confiscated by the Sylacauga police chief who then turned it over to the United States Air Force. Both Hodges and her landlord, Bertie Guy, claimed the rock, Guy’s claim being that it had fallen on her property. There were offers of up to $5,000 for the meteorite. Hodges and Bertie Guy settled, with Hodges paying $500 for the rock. However, by the time it was returned to Hodges, over a year later, public attention had diminished, and they were unable to then find a buyer. Ann Hodges was uncomfortable with the public attention and the stress of the dispute over ownership of the meteorite, so she donated it to the Alabama Museum of Natural History in 1956. The day after the fall, local farmer Julius McKinney came upon the second-largest fragment from the same meteorite. An Indianapolis-based lawyer purchased it for the Smithsonian Institution. The McKinney family was able to use the money to purchase a car and a house.
Upon the entry into the atmosphere, the Sylacauga meteorite fragmented into at least 3 pieces…the Hodges fragment 8.5 pounds that struck Ann Elizabeth Hodges. The McKinney fragment 3.7 pounds was found the next day December 1, 1954 by Julius Kempis McKinney, an African-American farmer who sold the meteorite fragment he found to purchase a car and a house. A third fragment is believed to have impacted somewhere near Childersburg northwest of Oak Grove. The meteoroid came in on the sunward side of the Earth, so when it hit, it had passed the perihelion and was traveling outward from the Sun. Considering the orbit estimations, the best candidate as parent body is 1685 Toro. The Sylacauga meteorite is classified as an ordinary chondrite of H4 group. I don’t suppose Ann Elizabeth Hodges cared what kind it was, just that it almost killed her.
An only child, or a child who doesn’t have a sibling yet, simply cannot understand just how much fun a sibling can be. It isn’t their fault, and it isn’t that they don’t want to play with other kids, it’s just that they don’t have a lot of other kids around on a regular basis. Those kids simply learn to be around adults, or they learn to entertain themselves. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with this in any way, just that when there is a sibling in the family, things change.
For two years, my sister, Cheryl Masterson was an only child, but then I came along, and those days were over. I know that she was very excited about having a little sister, even though she did have a cousin, Pam Wendling, who lived just on the other side of the back fence, but I was her first sibling. We used to have lots of fun together, like most siblings do. It’s just something new, and even later on, you always have a friend. Sisters as you know are forever friends.
Once, Cheryl had a little sister, life as she knew it changed. As kids, we did a lot of things together. I recall movies, in which Cheryl tried to keep up with me in a crawling race, and apparently, I was too fast for her, because she ended up standing up to try to beat me across the room. That isn’t so odd, when you consider that most of us quit crawling when we learn to walk. That would tend to make us a little bit slower when it came to crawling in a race. Anyway, in crawling races, I won and she lost. I’m sure that when it came to walking races, she had it over me, because after all, I had to crawl, since I hadn’t learned to walk yet.
The biggest problem that Cheryl had, as far as our time together was concerned, was when I was napping and she was awake. Once a child has a sibling, they don’t like waiting for their sibling to wake up when they want to play. That naptime thing can seem endless. They begin to wonder if that kid is ever going to wake up. There is fun to be had, games to play, and well, just stuff to do, and all that kid wants to do is sleep.
That was where Cheryl found herself on one particular occassion. I was sleeping and apparently she had taken her nap and was now waiting for me to wake up. I guess I was taking too long, because, she started to ask Mom why they couldn’t just wake me up. Well, I don’t know if I was grouchy if they woke me up early, or what, but I guess Mom wasn’t too keen on the idea. Cheryl, on the other hand looks very annoyed that I was sleeping, and Mom would do nothing about it. Sorry Cheryl, if I had only known, I would have woke up just for you, but I simply had no idea, because, I was asleep.
People joke about being tired after they retire, or at least that is what the hats all say, but I don’t really think that is the case most of the time. After all, let’s face it, when you are retired, you can sleep in as long as you choose, and if that still isn’t enough, well, just take a nap in the afternoon. I think that most retired people get up early, because of that afternoon nap. Seriously, there are only so many hours that a person can sleep. I don’t know if my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook is one of those early risers, who nap in the afternoon, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
Many retired people head south for the winter, or travel all over the country during the rest of the year, but for Lynn, and my sister-in-law, Debbie, the big draw that retirement held, was camping in the Big Horn Mountains. Their idea of a relaxing time is being in the quiet of the mountains, preferably with just the birds and other wildlife as neighbors, unless their kids come up to join them, that is. During the summer months, they will stay in the mountains for weeks at a time, unless some specific thing requires them to come back to town, and back to reality. I think lots of people would call that a little slice of Heaven on Earth. I would have to agree that being in the mountains is most likely right where I would want to be too, but Bob and I would most likely not want to camp out, however. We like to hike, and then we want the comfort of a motel room…at this point anyway.
Since Lynn used to drive truck for a living, and was always on the road, long term travel doesn’t really appeal to him much, but the short drive to the Big Horns is something he really likes. He is getting a little better about other travel on occasion now too, but as far as I know a long trip means driving from Powell, Wyoming to Casper, Wyoming…not exactly what most of us would consider a long trip, but it’s a pretty big step for him.
Since his retirement, Lynn has become more and more of a mountain man than ever before. I think there was always a bit of Jeremiah Johnson in him, but since he would live on the mountain in a tent these days, he seems more and more so. Even then, I can’t exactly blame him. I would love to have a cozy cabin in the mountains where I could hole up sometimes…especially when the responsibilities of life get a little too overwhelming. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Michelle Stevens has, in her mother’s words, always been a character. If she wasn’t up to one thing, she was up to another. Michelle is in college working toward a teaching degree. She plans to be an art teacher. I think that might have been why she dreamed so many things up in her lifetime…even as a small child, she imagined things quite different than a non-artist might.
When Michelle was about 2 1/2, my sister, Alena Stevens, who is Michelle’s mom, put her down for a rare nap. Michelle was one of those kids who didn’t like to sleep at night, if she had a nap during the day. Nevertheless, since Alena was pregnant with Michelle’s brother, Garrett, and pretty close to full term, with an very active 2 1/2 year daughter, she was exhausted and in need of a nap. The plan was to put Michelle down for a nap, and take one herself, and it was working out quite well too. Then, Michelle woke up and came out of her room. As usual, she yelled out, “Mom!” Alena didn’t answer right away, because she just assumed that Michelle would come into the bedroom. But, Michelle didn’t come into the bedroom, and then Alena heard her trying to comfort herself by saying, “She be right back” in a pretty shaky, almost crying voice…”She be right back.” Alena immediately called out, “Michelle, I’m in the bedroom.” Michelle ran into the bedroom and jumped up on the bed. Alena cuddled with her and told her that I would never leave her alone…thinking sadly to herself that this must be how abandoned children feel.
Of course, most Michelle stories aren’t a mix of sad and funny. There was a funny incident in Sunday School, when they made a clock as a project. The clock face said “Jesus has time for…” The child was supposed to write their name in the space. For some strange reason, Michelle wrote her name as EMOP. Alena and her husband, Mike Stevens thought it was so funny that the clock hung on their refrigerator for a year. That name stuck, and they still call her EMOP sometimes, even though she is 27 years old. I have to wonder what she was thinking when she wrote EMOP, because she knew how to write her name by then.
Kids say the funniest things, and they don’t think about what they are saying, they just say what’s on their mind. Alena was video taping Michelle one time as she was singing the alphabet. Michelle was only about 2, and like all little ones, she got stuck on one of the letters. Since she was taping this and she wanted it to be perfect, Alena whispered the letter to Michelle, so as not to ruin the video. Well, Michelle understood about whispering, but not necessarily the whispering was supposed to be speaking really quietly. So she whispered back really loudly, “What Mom? What’d ya say?” Of course, all this was being recorded, and it looked so funny on the video. Needless to say, this…like the other stories here are all time favorites of Alena’s. They are the treasures of a child’s life. Today is Michelle’s birthday. Thanks, Michelle, for giving us something to smile about today. Happy birthday Michelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I have often wondered why people didn’t smile in pictures taken many years ago. It didn’t really make sense to me, because it seems that most people were happy with their lives. So why not show that they were happy in the pictures that were taken to remember them. Weren’t these pictures were intended to show their descendants who they were and tell a little bit about their lives? I always thought that it was a bit sad that there were so few smiles. And I have wondered why people didn’t tell their kids to smile, but upon further thought, and a look at the picture of my in-laws with all the grandchildren they had at that time, I think maybe I now have a little bit better understanding of it. Maybe it wasn’t totally intended at all, or maybe it was. I suppose we will never know.
I was there when these newer pictures were taken, of course, so I know for sure what was going on. We had taken pictures of several families, and multiple other group shots. We had been through the fidgety kids, the bouts of tears, the laughing at the ones in tears, and we were past nap time for some of these kids. We did our very best to get them to smile for the camera, and most of the time they did pretty good. Nevertheless, by the time we got to this picture, we were pretty much over the picture taking, and no one was doing any smiling. Sometimes there is just simply nothing you can do about a bad picture, except to chalk it up to experience, and move on. You can hope that the next time pictures are taken, everyone will be in a better mood, but quite likely you will find that there will be at least one or two who will feel the same way next time as they did this time.
Looking back in those old pictures, I thought maybe it wasn’t a matter of collectively deciding not to smile. Maybe they had work to be done on the farm, and they didn’t really want to be there taking pictures. Or maybe they just hated being all dressed up in their Sunday best on a week day, or maybe the kids were fussy and needed a nap, and maybe they were just tired. I mean, after all, everything was a lot harder then. They didn’t have the modern conveniences we have today. Maybe they were just too tired to smile!
My nephew, Ryan takes after his dad, my brother-in-law, Chris in many ways. They are both very tall at about 6’4″. They also tend to use that towering height to their advantage when they are doing their favorite pass time…picking on those who are smaller than they are…which is pretty much everyone, so don’t think you are safe in this matter, because no one is safe!! Ryan has a great sense of humor, and loves to pretend that he didn’t do it, even though no one buys into that story! If Ryan is behind you or even in the general vicinity, you already know who did it…unless his dad is in the area too.
Ryan wasn’t always so big, of course. He had to start somewhere, and while he had little chance of being short, and he was a tall kids at every stage of his development, he still had to go through childhood like all kids did. He had some great humor role models during those years. His Grandpa Spencer was a teaser from way back, and Ryan, being the observant child that he was, quickly learned the lessons taught by his grandpas and dad. He couldn’t wait until he was big enough to fully participate in the tease-a-thons that were always standard procedure in our family. I’m quite sure he actually started his practice on his mom, my sister, Allyn and sisters, Jessi, Lindsay, and Kellie, who by the way can hold their own in any tease-a-thon, so I’m sure they all honed their skills on each other to perfect this skill.
Ryan was always a good boy…teasing aside, and has grown into a wonderful man, husband, dad, son, nephew and grandson to our entire family. These days he spends his time picking on his wife, Chelsea, and teaching his kids Ethan and Aurora the ropes, because if Ryan has anything to say about it, his kids will be as good at teasing as he is. It is a big job to pass on the time-honored traditions of a family, and like my dad, Ryan’s grandpa, it can be a very tiring job too, for adult and child, so of course, you need to make sure you get lots of sleep…which is something else Ryan is quite good at, but then again, he had a great teacher!! Today is Ryan’s 26th birthday, so if you happen to be around him at all, give a little bit back…teasing that is, because it takes a bunch of us to ever really get one over on Ryan!! Happy birthday Ryan!!
Kids play so hard. From the moment they get up until they fall asleep they are going. It’s almost like they are trying to cram a lifetime of play into each day. They don’t understand that there is always tomorrow. I love watching toddlers as they get to that point where they want to keep playing, but they just don’t have any more play in them. They start to get sleepy and they try to go faster and faster, until they simply fall asleep.
Sometimes that can be a parents dream…especially if the child is one who is hard to get to sleep, but it also seems like by the time the child falls asleep, it is late enough in the day that after their little nap…they will be up half the night. What is the parent supposed to do? Wake the child back up and deal with the grouchiness, or let them sleep and plan on a late night. It is a tough decision to make.
My grandson, Christopher was one of those play ’til you drop kids, but not the hard to get to sleep type, and he loved his sleep time, so we got to enjoy those all worn out moments. He was so funny. He would play so hard that he could fall asleep sitting up if, you weren’t watching. In fact, that seemed to happen rather often. Not everyone can sleep sitting up, you know. He just didn’t care. He would fall asleep in the middle of dinner or playtime. The need would hit him and he was out like a light.
He always made the funniest faces, and some of the funniest ones came when he was just waking up. That point of still being half asleep and half awake, made him look as if he had been given just a little bit too much to drink. Of course, that wasn’t the case, but he sure looked the part.
Yes, kids just don’t know when to quit. They don’t shop ’til they drop…the play ’til they drop. Sometimes, I think we are the ones missing out on things. We spend our lives slaving away at our jobs, and all too often forget to allow for a little play time or down time. Then the years fly by and we wonder where they have gone, and how we missed them. Maybe we should take a page out of their book and play until we are so worn out that we could sleep sitting up. Think of how contented we would feel!
Every year since they were born, we have taken Christmas pictures of my grandchildren together. Everyone loves to get those new pictures to compare with a year ago. Kids change so fast. Some years have been a trial, some years feel almost impossible. My grandchildren are all very different people, and they have very different personalities.
That was not totally the problem in the really early years. When you are dealing with infants, they are either asleep or crying. So you work with them and work with them until it is finally right, and after this photo session, you head home to put the baby down for a nap, and take one yourself, because…you have earned it.
As they get older, it’s the fighting that stalls the whole process. This one doesn’t want to sit next to that one, or this one wants to be in the back, not the front, or someone is touching someone else. Oh my gosh, the tragedy of it all. Heaven forbid, having to be somewhere in the picture that you didn’t want to, and if you let them choose, they all want the same place. And all you can think of is next year they will be one year older and it will work better.
Then next year comes around, and you have a whole new set of issues. Makeup is horrible, or is it the hair, they hate what they are wearing, or the inevitable as they become teenagers…they are too tired. So you try letting them pick a few of the poses to break the ice a bit. Sometimes even that doesn’t work well, but sometimes it does, and you end up with a very funny pose, or set of poses.
Ultimately, no matter what the age, with a little persuasion, such as the promise of candy afterward or…maybe bodily harm if they don’t behave, you get a few good poses, and the pictures turn out quite well. And of course, when the pictures are given out, and only the best ones are given out, by the way, everyone just loves them. They all think, “How did you pull that off? Getting them all to smile at the same time.” And of course, you just smile and let them think what they want. You know it was a lot of work, but…it was so worth it. Once again, it is time to start thinking about those pictures…no wonder I have a headache!!
Bob’s grandmother, like most grandmothers, loved babies. If there were babies in the house, it was a sure bet that Grandma would be there holding them. From her children, to her great great grandchildren, Grandma loved having the kids of all ages come for visits to her house. She would go all out, making good things to eat and reading books to the little ones. It was like a little bit of heaven for her to spend time with her precious little babies.
And the children loved coming to visit her too. She would go with them to explore the ranch. Out to the garden or the chicken coop to find eggs, she gave them a glimpse of how different life is on a farm or ranch, from that of a city or town. She let then help in the kitchen and read to them before their nap. Grandma had a bed out on the enclosed front porch where the kids could nap in the coolness of the porch on a hot summer day. It was always a favorite place to nap, in that they could still listen to the activity going on in the kitchen until they fell asleep.
Through the years, many a child, grandchild, great grandchild and great great grandchild has sat on Grandma’s lap and enjoyed the luxury of feeling like they were Grandma’s special little one for a while. It was a special treat, because there were so many grandkids that sometimes it was a fight for the right to sit with Grandma. I guess its a good thing that Grandma always had room enough for two little babies to sit with her. All the grandkids loved Grandma, and she loved them, and that made going to visit Grandma a wonderfully special trip, and one that will always be cherished by all her children and grandchildren.
Grandma has been in Heaven now for over 13 years, and many new grandchildren have come along, who have not had the great privilege of knowing this wonderful lady. That makes me very sad for those new little ones, because their Grandma was an amazing lady, and I always felt that my girls were better people for having known her. As for all these new little ones, their grandma will be waiting to greet them when we all get to Heaven, and I’m sure there will still be room on her lap to hold her little babies…even if they are all grown up.