They Don’t Need That Mirror Anyway

Categorized as 07/14/08 Goshen News column

I know this to be true because the men of the family played out this very scenario before our eyes on the Fourth. Instead of 3 men and 7 boys, there were 10 boys the minute the first firecracker appeared. There was a great deal of manly chortling and back slapping with some high-fives thrown in for the bigger explosions. While we women sat around the campfire, reduced to lip reading through a meaningful conversation about relationships, the uncles and nephews were sharing their joy with all of us, the bullfrogs next door, and possibly even the Russians.

Some years ago when my husband was a teenager, he came across a stray bottle rocket. Seeing his chance, he snuck up to the kitchen window where his sister was washing dishes. Sticking it in the flower box, he lit the fuse and ducked. Needless to say, the resultant kaboom was immediately followed by an impressive series of aerial maneuvers and a certain amount of smoke and exhaust, accompanied by shouting in a foreign tongue. Last I heard, she was in talks with the organizers of the Freedom Fest.

Fast forward to Fourth of July 2008 and once again, it was Mr. Schrock who (inadvertently this time) provoked a spontaneous talent show from a family member. Cleaning up trash from their fireworks display, he tossed it into the fire, unaware that a stray firecracker was hidden in it.

Who knew that his mother was a clogger? When it discharged, showering her lap with sparks, she proceeded to demonstrate this ability with a great deal of speed and some intricate foot work. Obviously, this is a family of many hidden talents. They just need a nudge to get them going.

Following the holiday weekend, we had an episode of civil unrest when I was on the phone with my mother. For weeks now, Thing Two (in Dr. Seuss parlance) has been vibrating with excitement and counting the days until he leaves for summer camp. His preparations have included writing it on every calendar in the house and practicing his “coaster screams” atop the mower in the back forty with endless jabs at his younger brother about all the fun stuff (including Cedar Point) that he will get to do.

This, you see, is the kid who is the source of much of the uproar and shenanigans that occur here on a daily basis. He’s a tornado in blue jeans; a stand-up comedian and a racketeer by turns.

On this particular occasion, I followed the yelling and found them in the kitchen. He had backed his younger brother into a corner and was flogging him with a dish towel in an effort to make him cry ‘uncle.’

“He’s trying to make me say, ‘I’m insanely jealous and I’ll miss you terribly,’” his little brother shouted when he saw me.

I’ve not yet heard of a female Homo sapiens eating her own, but there’s a first time for everything. Lucky for Little Brother, he has five pain-free days coming up. Lucky for his big brother – he has five pain-free days coming up.

As if life weren’t interesting enough, I had my own harrowing experience in a local store this week. If I had forgotten why I don’t own a full-length mirror, I remember now. Oh, boy, do I remember.

I don’t know why we women are so intrigued with our reflections. For me, it’s a dark and morbid fascination. It’s like passing a terrible accident. You’re scared of what you’ll see, but some macabre curiosity makes you slow down when you drive by to take a look.

At first I thought the three-way mirror in the dressing room was a funhouse mirror. The chuckling and goofy posturing stopped when I realized it wasn’t.

“How was your shopping trip?” my husband asked when I got home.

“Don’t ask,” I snarled. “You’ll find out when you read the police news in tomorrow’s paper.”

“What have you done now?” he asked, looking slightly anxious.

“Nothing much. Just shot out a dressing room mirror. They didn’t need it anyway.”

“What on earth…” he began.

“Because now I know where all those mochas are going!”

Pardon me for a second while I rummage around for some leftover firecrackers. I’d like to see what kind of hidden talents Mr. Schrock may possess. I think an impromptu talent show would take my mind of my misery and lighten my mood.

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