So, here’s a bit of truth about me – I hate surprises. Not all surprises, just the kind I know are coming. I certainly don’t mind the ones that comes out of the blue. “You’ve done such a great job; here’s a ginormous raise to show our appreciation.” (Phil, Gary are you reading this!?!) I’m quite all right with those unexpected events.
But surprises like Christmas presents under a tree? It drives me absolutely batty. I am not a patient person and all those wonderfully wrapped presents beckon to me and torment me. As a child Christmas time was torture for me.
Yes, every year I would try to find new and clever ways to find out what my presents were. I would scope out all the hiding places in search of unwrapped gifts. Once they were wrapped it became a little more challenging, but I persevered. I soon became quite adept at unwrapping presents and then rewrapping them so no one would know that I had peeked. To this day you can find me shaking gifts as soon as they appear under the tree.
Several years ago my brother had my name in the family gift exchange. My gift came with a warning to open upside down. It was heavy – I had asked for books – and it rattled; an intriguing combination for sure. When I opened the package macaroni spilled out explaining the rattle and marking the start of The Great Macaroni War. My brother may have won that battle, but the war was far from over.
I retaliated the next year with a sweet little box loaded with macaroni. To keep it from rattling I folded a piece of cardboard and stuffed it on top of the pasta. I taped the lid down, tied a blue bow around it and sent it off to my unsuspecting brother. Silly boy had become complacent and had no idea what was about to happen. Cue evil laughter…
Later my brother’s son took up the fight and packed one of my presents with macaroni. You gotta love a kid like that! But, he was no match for me. I fired back on his next birthday with a gift card encased in a CD jewel case, filled with birthday candle confetti, and super glued closed. He vowed his revenge and began plotting.
That Christmas I received a present on which my nephew had very sweetly written, “To my favorite aunt.” I beamed with pride as I pulled the paper off to find a package wrapped in duct tape. Under the duct tape were several layers of plastic grocery bags, more duct tape, and more grocery bags. I laughed as I unwrapped and unwrapped and unwrapped…
I definitely have a formidable opponent, but I am crafty. I am wily. I will not be outdone. Every year around this time darling neph and I begin trading jabs about macaroni. No one knows when the next scrimmage will happen, but the anticipation hangs in the air.
The Great Macaroni War seemingly has become a family tradition. Family traditions are not only fun, they tie us together and strengthen our bonds. Because of our traditions and strong bonds our family has supported each other in tough times. It is comforting to know I can always rely on them. And I don’t even mind not knowing what will happen next in the Great War!
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. - Ecclesiastes 4:12