Holidays with my cousins were a lot more like cage boxing than Hallmark Christmases. I had more than forty first cousins, mostly wild animals. By the time my aunts and uncles herded them to the scene of the crime, they just opened the car doors and all Hell broke loose. Exhausted from defending themselves and the babies on the ride over, it was every man for himself. God help anybody in the way.
They’d rip through the house under the guise of needing the bathroom and a drink of water, destruction in their wake, before being cast out into the yard or to the barn if it was raining, like demons into swine. While they passed through, they destroyed anything in their wake. We always hid our loot, but the evil little devils usually managed to mark something for destruction, even if it was no more precious than a dish or Christmas ornament. Actually, they were cast out onto the other cousins. We’d get a baseball or football team going, all the big kids on one team, so the little ones never got a chance to bat, or got mowed down in football. They’d go squalling in to their nosy daddies who’d come out long enough to straighten us out a vague semblance of fairness, often lingering to play a while.
Once the games started, it was chaos. It was survival of the meanest, shoving kids down, stomping eggs little ones dropped, squalling, and even a few bloody noses. Crazy Larry kept trying to pee on us while we were distracted. One aunt in particular didn’t think her big kids ought to have to share at the end of the day. It was perfectly fine it her kids here gaged all the nuts, best of the Christmas feast, or desserts. She heaped their plates with goodies, saying she’d eat what they didn’t. Her boy Kenwin would demand, More chicken(turkey, ham)Mama, more shicken!” She loaded his plate till he staggered, unconcerned that there was a tribe to feed besides him.
Ah, family. Better get busy. I have company coming. But not Crazy Larry. He’s in the witness protection program.