Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.

Welcome to ADHD

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Tin Type Full 9Kx12K b, 12/20/13, 12:37 PM, 8C, 9000x12000 (0+0), 150%, Custom, 1/40 s, R106.2, G84.2, B103.2

Tintype of Billy the Kid playing croquet in 1878 … was he a Blackwell?

The youngest sibling of the Blackwell brood writes me in anticipation of our Thanksgiving reunion at the home of our sister, Dianne:

Barry: Please be prepared to be my partner at euchre, soundly thrashing Mike and Dianne. Afterward, we will casually stroll outside to obliterate Mike and Ted at the beanbag toss game.

Screen One laughs, Too bad the Barron also copies your twin sister, Dianne, as well as brothers Mike and Ted [aka Thor]. This immediately sets up an e-mail “thread” in which every sib delivers smack downs, proving cheap shots are not confined to the croquet field.

Thor: Ha! Your diabolical plan to whip Mike and me in Corn ho’ is lost, Barry, because for Den [aka Blackie], there is no casual stroll from the kitchen to the outside. You assume Den is right behind you when you get up from the euchre table but will find he is 17 miles up the highway, waggling as he walks (as only he can). Yet he was only out of your sight for two minutes.

Barry: I have commissioned local authorities to install a chip in him.  Expensive, but necessary for his own well-being.

Michael: Ummmm, Barry? I sense a theme for your weekend. Ha! In your dreams, FatBoy! Likewise for cribbage and croquet and bocce ball and kadima! Y’all know where to find me: at the Top of the Pile. (But you’ve got me in kickball. I kick like a legless whale!)

Wouldn’t that then suggest, queries Screen Five, that there are such things as legged whales?

Thor: Uh oh … an epic weekend coming up. Dianne, please buy 24 Ace bandages, 1,000 band aids and 32 bags of ice. Have on speed dial the local hospital (with chopper response), the SWAT team, the National Guard and a priest for last rites.

Cousin Kenny: This Thanksgiving you all might be enjoying a hearty game of “snowquet” instead.

Brianna, Blackie and The BarronThor: I HOPE NOT! Please don’t snow, please don’t snow. BUT if it does snow, I’m using the white croquet ball.

Dianne: White? White anything? In my house? Maybe if I start cleaning now…

Thor: No worries, Sis. Cousin Kenny was talking about the year 2038. I think we have time IF WE START TODAY.

Dianne: You can start in the dog house.

Thor: I will ask Dennis to share the blanket, then, since he already will be in the doghouse. (But I’m going to try out my “anti-Blackie” repellent.)

Dianne: If the “anti-Blackie” repellent works, bring a gallon to our reunion. We can put it out for the Thanksgiving meal, thereby giving all of us a chance at the food. (And do NOT make any correlation between the repellent and my gravy or we will have a problem.)

Blackie: Beats you serving turkeys with three legs!

Dianne: Ha! The turkey only has two this year. Hardly unique.

Mike: Despite the 10- to 11-hour drive, I will be giving kadima lessons and croquet lessons to those who would like to improve their own abilities. Dennis, you should sign up for all available slots. Croquet losses are your norm. You still remember the only game you won, when you played Mom at the lake. That’s one nice thing about memory loss … you don’t remember the 125 croquet losses. Ted, you should start by letting Olivia, your daughter, help you. And DiAnnie, you should, ohh, never mind. So, I’ll wait for Thanksgiving. Will seem a lifetime, but knowing assured croquet victory awaits me softens the delay.

Thor: Speak loudly, my brother, but I carry the big mallet.


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Postscript: For all their big talk, Mike and Thor never make the reunion. But I do, and in the midst of unsuccessfully trying to outplay my brother Barry and niece Brianna, I swing the mallet in frustration. It escapes my grasp, goes airborne, returns and creates a lump on my punkin’ head that puffs my left eye shut. Here are the “loving” family reactions to the photo (below) I send:

Knot-Head BlackwellThor: Can’t believe how big the knot is.

Mike: OMG, you look SO much better!

Wife Laura: Yes, I see the knot – can’t miss it. Sad, sad, sad. I don’t remember such injuries at past Thanksgiving gatherings. Why was your head down to the level where the mallets were? Or why was the mallet swung at head level? Which sorrowful soul knocked your noggin?

Barry: Dennis [aka Blackie] did it to himself. No lie. We howled. He missed a shot, threw his hands up, and the mallet came crashing down.

Laura: OMG! LOL! A little too vigorous, eh?

Daughter Leah: Oh, I get it. In the game YOU played, Dad, whoever ends up with the biggest lump is the winner.

Post-Postscript: Despite that mishap, I regain my composure and my championship croquet swing, then surge to victory.

Too bad, comments Screen Six unnecessarily, you do so only after the departure of Barry and niece Brianna [aka Breezy].

When my precise shot from 30 to 40 yards out picks off my twin sister’s ball as it hugs a “life-saving” wicket, I wonder how “hostess with the mostest” Dianne will take it. Our text exchange will clear up any confusion about her sentiments ….

Twins Dennis and DianneDianne: Thank you for coming. And staying.

Blackie: And winning. With full-field shots.

Dianne: No. I do NOT thank you for that. No. No. No. And next year, you need to let me win, or you are going to go home stinky. No shower for you [per the Shower Nazi].

Blackie: We let your ill-behaved baby win many times. Breezy’s repeated and stunning victories should meet the compliance quota for TWO years.

Dianne: Where, WHERE in your statement does it address ME winning? This is croquet, dude. No family allegiance or ties. At all.

Blackie: Blood may be thicker than water but, dang, croquet is thicker than blood!

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Blackie’s Weekly Wonders

Billy the Kid (in goat form) takes on tiger …