L’Ultima Festa

The Last Party

When my parents bought my Mom’s parents’ house, my Dad didn’t want to negotiate on price. They had done some research to determine what they thought was a fair market price, and from that he decided on a range. He said that if my Pa Joe asked for a price in that range, they would just pay it. No negotiating. ‘Cause you can’t screw over the in-laws when you buy their house … that tends not to sit well with the rest of the family. And my mom is one of 7.

Christmas always used to be at Grandma Kay & Pa Joe’s, so when they were going to move, we decided to keep celebrating at everyone’s childhood home … now my childhood home. Over the years the crew grew – 7 kids got married, and there are lots of grandchildren.

The main event at Christmas is The Grab Bag. The Grab Bag is where we put one gift in per person, and when you get your number you get to either pick a gift from the pile, or steal someone else’s. It’s one of the older cousin’s jobs to count the number of attendees (in the mid forties lately), write the numbers, distribute them, and announce the rules of the game. Each gift may only be stolen only 3 times. Memorable grab bag moments … at least the ones I remember:

– Adam trying to sell a board with a troll by demoing how the board could be a fun toy too

– wrapping a box in a box in a box in a box … with a tiny gift inside.

– the adults falling all over themselves to take the boat bell away from from Adam

– When Julia tried to steal the gumball machine from Theresa, and Theresa ran upstairs and hid under her desk with it

– when someone put in a saggy bra that they got from a 40th birthday party

– when the Mack Truck cigar holder went back into the grab bag year after year, until my mom kept it to use as a paper clip holder. (Where is that now? Can I have it? Did we get rid of it?)

– when I stole a pair of newspaper reading gloves from Pa Joe (when I was in 3rd grade)

Anybody else remember any?


And since I have a billion pictures, but probably would have to check with 45 people in them before I posted them, I’ll leave you with a representative photograph … of what happened when Mom got a Shake Weight in this year’s grab bag:


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Filed under Family, Holidays

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