We’re still laughing about the calamities, long after the grandkids went home. Eyeballs stung by onions, shoes blued by sidewalk spray paint, stomachs upended by a tree swing, and a finger pinched by a maniacal vegetable chopper highlighted a weekend spent at Grandma’s house of horrors.

You have to be tough to make it in Schlueterville.

Hunka Burnin’ Hubby and I grew up on farms, with an abundance of rusty iron, greasy machinery, cow poop and dirt. We drank water from the hose, found salamanders in mud, and ate burgers from grills in need of a good scrubbing.

There were chickens and stinky pigs to tend, soybeans to walk, and watermelons to hoe. Wounds were treated with iodine and duct tape, and bath time separated sunburn from grime. Immune systems were stressed to the core, and knees were bloodied on a regular basis.

Personal preservation took a backseat to goofing off and getting things done. That ideology affected my parenting, too, I’m afraid, and God was merciful in granting me two boys strong enough to survive my cautionary shortcomings.

Though they grew up in town, Schlueterville sons endured bruises, sprains, and occasional stitches prompted by ball field boo-boos, bike crashes, and scaffolding mishaps from working with their dad on construction sites.

I suspect their childhood was typical of Nebraskans with farm-kid /blue-collar parents — a healthy mix of “that’s gonna hurt” and “get over it and move on.”

Heck, maybe it’s why one son settled in Omaha and the other in Oklahoma City. Your chances of survival improve the further you are from Schlueterville, nyuck, nyuck.

Opportunities to host our sons and their families are fairly rare due to distance and schedules, so we were thrilled when our Omaha son, daughter-in-law, and two grandkids paid a visit last weekend.

As might be expected, calamity quickly ensued.

Our 3-year old granddaughter — Sauce — bore the bulk of Schlueterville mayhem.

She displayed bald-faced joy upon discovering Grandpa’s infamous backyard swing. The gizmo dangles from a tall maple tree, enabling the swinger to arc wildly from one side of the yard to the other with a single push.

Sauce’s grin soon turned grimace from motion sickness, and her luminous complexion flashed shades of green before being returned to solid ground.

She had a blast with sidewalk chalk in spray can form, turning brick, cement and her shoes florescent shades of blue, pink, and yellow.

Please, God, let those shoes be washable, I thought. Images of her marching into daycare next week with blue feet and a needed explanation came instantly to mind.

“Want to help me make tacos?” I asked, and Sauce came running. I’d amassed an impressive collection of kid-oriented cooking tools, and she set about cutting onions with her plastic safety knife.

I forgot to tell her that onions and eyeballs don’t always mix. Tears ensued. A pair of goofy pink onion goggles minimized the damage, but a tangle with the pull-cord on a hand-powered vegetable chopper brought crisis home with a yelp.

Sauce yanked that cord with all her might, watching in fascination as the tool sprang to life.

Unfortunately she let go at the wrong time — a mistake everyone makes once and once only — resulting in a surprising cord-to-finger “SNAP!”

There weren’t enough onion goggles in the world to stem the tide of tears, and thankfully her mom was close-by to provide much needed solace. The welt on her finger will eventually fade … I hope.

Sauce’s year-old brother, Otter, came away relatively unscathed from the visit, though we did find him elbow deep in the dog dish.

There was lots of laughter, too, and in general I think a good time was had by all.

I look forward to seeing them again soon, though I’ll leave the vegetable chopper on the shelf.

Stay safe out there, and ONWARD!


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