One thing I really love about our house in the Big Woods is that everywhere you turn we have relations. The extended Ingalls family is scattered all over these woods and we come together on very special occasions and to help each other with the work. At one time apparently everyone lived together in Grandma and Grandpa's big cabin but then they all got the bright idea to strike out on their own and build their own cabins here and there. Bright idea my butt! Why scatter when you could all live together in a giant cabin and be pampered by Grandma and Grandpa? Not to mention all the special syrup you'd get to sample! Grownup's, I have found, can be so utterly stupid at times!
So anyway, at Christmas time this year we had a great treat when Uncle Peter and Aunt Eliza came to spend the holidays with us, bringing along my cousins Peter, Alice and Ella. There is nothing I like more when my cousins come to visit! Oh the fun we have! Even boring old goody goody Mary lets her perfect blond curls down and seems to enjoy herself. When we get together with the cousins the madness ensues! We do things like jump off stumps face first into the snow to make snow angels! Yeah that's great fun, as long as there is not a rock underneath the snow that you aren't aware of! Then we have to deal with all the blood and gore and mess and that does tend to put a damper on things. When the cousins come at Springtime and Summer there is great fun to be had too! Why I remember that one great summer when cousin Charley came to visit. Silly fat little Charley, ha ha! Playing around with Pa and Uncle Henry while they were busy trying to harvest the crops. He kept screaming and making out like he was being hurt just to get a rise out of them. He got a rise alright. He jumped on top of a yellow jacket nest and rose up to the sky screaming bloody murder. Ma and Aunt Polly slathered him with mud and bandaged him head to foot and put him to bed while the rest of us stood around the bed and poked him with sticks. Ha ha, gotta love those cousins!
To prepare for the relatives coming for Christmas Ma was busy at work baking and cooking all kinds of stuff. The little house that normally smelled like old butt smelled fantastic! And Mary and I even got to help make Christmas Candy! While Ma boiled up some hot maple syrup she sent Mary and I outside with little pans to collect some snow. Mary, trying to be her usual nicey nicey disgusting self, said, "Laura, why don't you get my snow and I'll get your snow?" Good grief, like it makes a difference who's snow you get! I was on to Miss Lets Score Some Brownie Points though. I knew the minute we got back inside she'd inform Ma how she'd gotten my snow for me, making out like I had done nothing! And then Ma would say, "That's my helpful girl!" Gag! But then my devious little brain kicked into high gear and I smiled sweetly at my sister.
"Alright Mary, that's a wonderful idea"! So I took Mary's pan and she took mine and while she gathered some clean white snow for me I headed over to where my dog Jack liked to do his business. Giggling maniacally under my breath I scooped some nice yellow snow into the pan and covered it with the clean white stuff so no one would see. Then I graciously presented Mary with her pan of snow.
Of course I forgot that the candy, once made, would be all mixed up anyway! Darnnit! It sucks being a tad bit stupid!
When the cousins finally got there we had the most wonderful Christmas filled with the delicious food that Ma had prepared, the Christmas Candy (which I pretended to eat but didn't!) and the very very best part of all: A new doll for me!!! Yes a REAL doll to replace my skanky old corn cob! I named my doll Charlotte and Ma made me let everyone else hold her but I soon had her back in my arms and I haven't let her go since.
All too soon the cousins were loaded back into their sleigh with hot baked potatoes in their pockets scalding their hands while they cried in pain and then with a jingle of the sleigh bells they were gone.
So Christmas was over but we had Spring and Summer to look forward to and more visits from cousins who would hopefully stomp on a bees nest so I could once again poke them with a stick.
Oh how I love my family!!