As opposed to some people's, our family get-togethers are not only large and boisterous but they are traditional. For Christmas, each family brings a dish they normally bring with Grandma being the main coordinator or common denominator, and then we all bring sweets. There's usually too much food, but no matter what anyone says to the contrary, it's just what happens.
After the main meal, we fool around: some go walking, others play games, and the youngest one's play outside. Eventually we gather together for the reading of the account of Christ's birth, occasionally singing carols, and then for opening presents. Here's where my story starts.
A few of us "older kids" pass out the presents and we start with the youngest and move up. Adults find this a bit unpopular because there is no hiding your age with this method. This time, strangely enough, I received the first present. Grandma said to be very careful and Grandpa came walking slowly into the room with an average sized box. Though it was wrapped in wrapping paper it had holes in it as if it held something alive. And he was carrying it so carefully. I had mentioned sometime in the past how I would love a real hedgehog. In the few seconds that a person has to weigh their thoughts I somewhat not altogether asked myself if my grandparents would really get me one. I was in great doubt, but here was this present to prove otherwise. I understand getting a live present from your relatives for some people is nothing surprising, but with us, it's just not convenient, no matter how much someone may want it.
I cautiously unwrapped the present and absently noted that nothing was moving inside. It therefore had to be a dormant creature. The box was one with a flip lid and it was obviously upside down. I didn't want the creature, whatever it was, to fall out or get away. My grandparents have indoor dogs and cats. I carefully took the mysterious package over to Grandma so that she, knowing what it was and whether it had a tendency to jump, could help me properly open it. She opened it slightly and handed it back with a smile on her face. I took the smile to be one of happiness at my delight... I was wrong... I opened the box and indeed found a hedgehog. But it was stuffed... A stuffy... A cute little hedgehog stuffy with a squeaker.
I realized then that I was the brunt of this Christmas' joke. I dropped the box, and with hedgehog in hand, both gave my Grandma a hug and accused her of her meanness. Her smile was busting out in laughter now and everyone was rolling on the floor. Figuratively, of course.
If I had stopped to think of how much a live ANYTHING would cost I would never have believed it to be alive. But in those few seconds I didn't have the chance.
They told me later that they had thought of it only that morning. Grandpa with his honest way told how Grandma immediately took a screwdriver to the beautifully wrapped box and set it aside for later. Well, it was a good joke. And obviously, since I've taken the time to share it with you.
But that's my family for you.
As for my hedgehog, I am guilty of following one of the latest crazes. I called him Marty. I like BBC 's Sherlock, but I don't care for the fandom. I looked at my little guy and said, "You do look like a Marty." So it stuck. Isn't he cute?
He is my fourth hedgehog (or really sixth but you'll have to read on to find out what I mean). I started collecting hedgehogs when I bought this one (pictured below) while on vacation.
It's a mama and her babies. The babies conveniently fit inside the mama's belly. It's a cute idea. I've actually got two more stuffies in this style. First a hippo with three babies I've had since I could remember, and a ladybug and her two babies that I got from the same place as the hedgehog.
Another of my collection, which is obviously a Valentine gift, is my little Edmond Dantes.
Now surely you aren't going to ask me why I named it that? Stuffies always have the strangest names. But if you must know (and really, I love the chance to admit it) I am a huge "The Count of Monte Cristo" fan. Just to emphasize that, guess the name of my last and biggest hedgehog.
Jacopo, of course. Jacopo is the Italian smuggler Edmond fought to prove he should live. He in turn let him live and Jacopo promised to be his servant for the rest of his life. So my biggest hedgehog is an Italian smuggler.
But something else deserving of note in my hedgehog collection is my other gift from my Grandparents.
I wish the picture would have turned out better. It really doesn't do it justice. My grandmother painted it. It's a shadow box with the two hedgehogs on the glass and a wooded background. My grandmother is a remarkable painter. She did this from her own inspiration after learning of my love of hedgehogs. She is also painting a sweatshirt for my brother of a twister. I don't have a picture of it as it is not done yet but in light of what she has painted for me just imagine how good it will be.
And that's my update. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my simple experiences as I have enjoyed writing about them.