Gracebug: In Which I majorly shorten Grace’s Meme

My little sister Grace recently posted a meme that asked a whopping 81 questions about someone you know.

In the interest of time and, well, interest, I’m shortening it to 8 questions and using it as a way to introduce you to my little sis.

1) What’s her name?

Gracebug Joy

2) Do you get along with this person all the time?

Nope, which is what one of my old teacher’s said distinguishes a true friendship from a fake one. Grace and I are very similar, both rather passionate and emotional–which means we also tend to butt heads on occasion.

3) Has she ever cooked for you?

I believe she has-on many occasions, I’m sure, but I’m remembering a hamburger and pasta dish at my house. She cooks on occasion, but has mentioned that she feels that every time she cooks something a certain one of our brothers “one-ups” her by cooking something similar (only better, in her mind).

4) Does she have a nickname for you?

That’s a good question-I’m not sure? Grace? Help me out here!

5) How many times do you talk to this person during a week?

It depends. Sometimes several times, sometimes never. We live at a distance and I’m not much of a phone person. But we enjoy talking whenever I’m home or she’s up here, and we share the occasional text or Facebook conversation. Grace also knows that if she ever wants to talk with me about something, she can post it on her blog, of which I am a faithful reader and commenter.

6) Have you ever had a sleepover with this person?

Once upon a time, Grace slept on a rollaway bed in the school room. Then Anna and I stole her to live with us in our room. She probably will experience lasting dysfunctional sleep patterns for having spent her preschool and elementary years sharing a bedroom (and often a bed) with her teenaged sisters. Now, we have the boring sort of sleepovers, where she comes to stay at my house overnight because that maximizes time together when there’s an hour and a half drive to be made to get together.

7) Would you date this person’s siblings?

Absolutely not. Unlike some siblings of mine, I do not date my siblings’ siblings.*

8) When is the next time you will see this person?

Next Thursday, at her show choir concert (in which she has a solo part-You go girl!)

Grace blogs at A Teen Girl’s Mind. There, she shares, well, what’s on her mind. Generally, it’s angsty, emotionally-charged philosophical-political-high-school-drama-filled stuff. (Which I realize may not be your cup of tea. Fine with me, but I love her bunches and always enjoy interacting with her about what she’s written.)

* A so-thinly-it’s-not-even-veiled reference to my brother, who is dating our sister-in-law’s sister.

Snapshot: Hats and a Happy New Year

The Little Miss’s Christmas Eve outfit completely inspired me. Hats are where it’s at.

Little Miss in a hat

And so I have determined to wear my hats this year. Each hat, in fact. All dozen plus of them.

Starting with Hat #1, a fur number with sequined detailing and a small net veil.

Me in my hat

And I figured I’d share a Christmas picture from my family since we were all together and took photos this Christmas. (Despite my best attempts, I think we’ll have to resign ourselves to having at least one of us looking ridiculous in any photo we choose–since at least one of us was a little too silly in a few too many photos.)

The Menters, Christmas Eve 2011

Status updates

I’d been trying to get a hold of my little brother for weeks–and not just to chew him out for the birthday celebration that was (in my humble opinion) ill-advised. I was trying to get ahold of him because I hadn’t talked to him for a while and because I missed him.

So when I saw on Facebook that his relationship status had changed to “In a Relationship”, I was a bit disappointed.

And when he finally called a week later to ask if there were any boys around for him to beat up (Try as I might to make them understand, none of my brothers seem to have gotten it through their heads that at some point they might not want to be repelling all of their sisters’ potential suitors!), I chastised him for not calling me earlier.

He hemmed and hawed, talked about the distance between here and California, so on and so forth.

I told him I understood–and didn’t expect we’d stay as connected as when we were both in Lincoln. “But just keep me updated,” I requested.

In the past few days, he’s been faithful to keep me updated, little pings in my text message mailbox at all hours:

“Hey I’m eating pizza”

“At chow hall bout to go to church”

“Oh BTW I went to chow a while back”

“Just got done with field day………Prolly gonna go to sleep in like an hour…. :)”

I’ve been texting him back. Smiley faces. “Like”. The occasional personal update:

“On my way back from Grand Island. It’s really starting to feel like Fall, what with the wind blowing cold and the trees about half turned.”

It’s silly stuff, overwhelmingly mundane.

The sort of stuff I see on Facebook every day.

But these status updates aren’t the impersonal blobs on Facebook. These are opportunities to interact with and enjoy my brother.

I wouldn’t trade them for a dozen Facebooks.

The best thing I ever did for you

As two-year-old Ronald sat on the Sunday School bench, his attention was arrested by the girl beside him. He looked over and thought to himself, “That Carol P is mighty pretty. When I grow up, she’s gonna be my girlfriend.”

One week later, he again found himself preoccupied with the girl on the bench beside him. This time, though, his thoughts took a different turn: “That Carol P is mighty pretty. When I grow up, she’s gonna be my wife.”

Sixty years ago yesterday, Ronald made Carol his wife.

When they were married, an older member of the congregation* gave them advice patterned after his initials: “Increase and Multiply.”

It took a few years for them to begin, but after Ronald came back from Korea, the increasing began in earnest.

Today, Ronald and Carol boast twelve sons and daughters, ten sons-and-daughters-in-law, 43 grandchildren, seven grandchildren-in-law, and a beginning spattering of great-grandchildren.

Increase and multiply, he told them. And multiply they did.

“You know what the best thing I ever did for you was?” Grandpa asks his grandchildren now.

We know the answer and respond on cue, “You married Grandma.”

Grandpa smiles contentedly. Yes, that’s the best thing he ever did for us.

This grandchild could add a bit more: He stayed married to Grandma.

It’s a romance that began eighty years ago, was sealed in marriage sixty years ago, and that continues on to this day.

Grandma and Grandpa kissing

It’s a romance that has blessed multitudes, not the least the 70+ progeny of Ronald and Carol Cook.

*My memory is a bit fuzzy about the details of the “Increase and Multiply” story. I trust my aunts will set the record straight when I err :-)

Snapshot: Little Miss

Anna and I were in Lincoln when Little Miss Menter was born–but we weren’t going to try visiting until Dan and Debbie blew the all-clear.

Little Miss with Anna

At the same time, both of us had to work in the morning–so neither of us could stick around town waiting for the whistle that might or might not come that evening.

Little Miss

Which meant we were halfway home when the text came to tell us that visitors were welcome–too late to turn around.

Little Miss sleeping on Daddy

So we worked our weeks and made the trip back down this Saturday–ready to meet our newborn niece.

The Little Miss was definitely a Menter baby, tall and skinny. What differentiated her from the many Menter babies who have come before her was the hair.

Daddy kisses Little Miss

All the rest of us were bald.

Thanks, Debbie, for introducing baby hair into the Menter gene stream!

Daddy and Mommy with Little Miss

Snapshot: Dog Stabbers

My family has a long history of weenie-roasts (bonfires with hot-dogs, for those who don’t know.)

We had a weenie roast every 4th of July at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. And every 4th of July we’d carefully select our homemade, wire-twisted roasting stick from the dozens hanging on Grandma and Grandpa’s tree.

I’m not sure exactly when we started calling the weenie-roasting sticks “dog-stabbers”, but I do know who sparked the trend: Aunt Martha (of course).

Since that fateful (undated) day, they have been called nothing else.

Dog Stabber

Friday night, a group of us girls invited ourselves over to a friend’s house for a bonfire–and I realized that, for once, I would have a dog-stabber and a dog in close proximity.

Thus, the picture.

For the record, Jersey (the dog) was not hurt in the making of that photo. In fact, no dogs except the already dead Verdigree weenies or Wimmers Natural Casing Weiners ever are.

Jersey, the dog

A great thank you to Jon for preparing a bonfire and (relatively) skeeter free yard for us–and for joining us for conversation around the bonfire (despite an early morning the next day.) And to Kathy, for welcoming our impromptu suggestion of a bonfire (and providing a dog to be stabbed!)

Him and his bride

He saw me playing with my fancy new camera, showing my dad its features.

He asked me if I could take some pictures of him and his bride.

Grandma and Grandpa

This September will mark their 60th Anniversary.

Grandma and Grandpa

Grandpa tells me he doesn’t think he’ll die before that one.

Grandma and Grandpa

I tell him he’d better not.