"We Don't Let Dorothy Crack The Eggs Anymore'" Chapter 17; "Visiting Spirits"

Of all the words that should be swallowed or bitten off-- none are so often regrettable as "You-all come... and bring - the -- children!"

Like the friendly inquiry, "How are you feeling?" Few people are prepared for the chapter, verse or worse...

An hour's monologue on various aches and pains can't be as bad, however, as a two-hour visitation of tots and toddlers.

Relatives are expected to bear it. But friendships may not be up to such perils.

Take the other day. (And erase it from recall.)

Nursery school was out and one mother called to suggest, "Why don't you bring the children over? They haven't seen each other in weeks!"

That was the first mistake.

Grape juice started the next one. Someone's cup had 1/16 inch more juice in it. And in the sloshing to divide it evenly, fair like, an unidentified nudging slopped stains on the hostess' "one chair that didn't need upholstering."

Tinkertoys, a junior do-it-yourself-project, despite their many pieces, were not made for sharing, the little folks screeched. A thousand sticks and wheels set spinning in the fray and WHO'S GONNA PICK 'EM UP?"

Their pet white kitten took on wild-animal proportions after being "shared" by six youngsters. He may never have been coaxed out of that utility room yet. . .

Thoughts of refreshing limeade perished after the hospitable friend's lime tree was denuded.
And the avocado tree suffered the loss of a limb after three boys climbed its breadth.

Mrs. Friend and her chair fortunately broke their fall ...at least no injuries, only pride scratched up.

What swing set, however cemented in, can withstand the onslaught of six bodies, 12 hands "taking turns" at the same time when there are only three swings?

Results? One broken chain, two bumped heads. Used-up: a half bowl of Band-Aids. (Ever notice how when one child gets a bandage, all the others sprout varying complaints?)

Cooky crumbs matted to the sofa and mashed into the welcome mat are two more vivid memories. Three jigsaw puzzles mixed together would provide an evening's entertainment for the parents, she assured us with a wan smile.

Cracked records ("Oh well, we don't have a 45 rpm player anymore anyway") and torn books were shrugged aside. (Say, she IS a sport!)

"Don't worry, the maid comes tomorrow," said friend-mother with her teeth actively grinding down her gums.

But as the entourage was marshalled into my car, you could hear a muffled, horror-stricken shriek!! MINE.

One of the little ones was saying..."And tomorrow you can come and play at MY house..." (so long, gag reflex...)