'Tis better to be from Price, Utah, and be known as a Pricite than to be from Paris, France, and be known as a Parisite.'

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Point System

My brother Blaine, 6.5 years older than me, loved to arrange things with us younger siblings. His schemes could be very elaborate. His bedroom was down a long flight of stairs. He would start up the Point System in early November. The gist of the point system - for us younger ones - was to do everything necessary to get the most points by December 24.

Blaine would start asking favors very early in the holiday season. Anyone who failed to "snap to" could drop precipitously on the point chart. The point chart was all in Blaine's head and we never knew exactly where we stood. This was very disconcerting to us, and we were careful to never miss an assignment, or even to be too slow. He was cagey, telling each of us individually that we were ahead in the point system, but not by very much. This kept our attention. We hauled water down to him. We ran sandwiches down to him.

He had us doing favors for him upstairs, too, but the thing I remember most are those trips down that endless flight of stairs. We cleaned his room, pressed his slacks and sneaked into the storage room to bring him some forbidden fruitcakes. Mother was always shocked at Christmas to find that he and Reed had pretty much emptied the shelf.

On Christmas Eve, each of us would go to bed secretly thinking we had the most points. The prize - the payoff - was that the kid with the most points would be the first one awakened by Blaine on Christmas morning. Naturally, we had a terrible time getting to sleep. However, we would start stirring around by 4 or 5 a.m. We would sneak out to the living room and start the package rip-fest. Blaine would awaken several hours later and join us without a trace of remorse.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The 1952 Buick

Sometimes ordinary things just..... spin out of control. For no apparent reason. We had an old 1952 Buick. We remember so many stories about that dependable old beast. One thing about it - it always ran. The stories spun out of control more than the car did. BUT THE CAR DID, ALSO.

Blaine bought a brand new '60 Ford pickup truck. Red and white. Beautiful. He brought it around the block from his and Janet's house to our house. We were so excited to see it. Reed and Elaine were there. We eventually became tired of walking 'round and 'round it and went inside and sat on the brown couch (oh, yes, I remember EVERYTHING from that day, even the color of the couch). Eventually we heard the distant vrooom of the old Buick. Mother was coming home from her job at the library. The noise got louder. It is really amazing what a thundering noise that car could make, especially when we were all listening for it. Blaine said, "I hope Nuh sees the truck." Well. Nuh, (Mother) did NOT see the truck. Vroooomcrash! His truck had not survived its first day in the family.

We all just looked at each other in astonishment. We all said, "oh, no." Blaine could not even get himself off the couch. The silence of the ages engulfed us. Mother did not seem to be in any hurry to come into the house, so we eventually made it outside. The truck was damaged but not ruined. In those days most people probably repaired wrecked cars, but nobody EVER fixed a truck. Trucks just took dents and bruises in stride. Blaine went on home with his prized Ford, shaking his head in disbelief.

Yes, I do believe that the stories spun out of control more than the car did, and the car itself was schitzophrenic enough. I don't think we ever gave that car a nickname. More later.