We had a party last week for the college graduate at our humble abode with a plethora of family, friends and some neighbors joining in to pat Ricky on the back. The dude is not accustomed to being the center of attention, but hung in there quite nicely even when the parental units and big sister did their very best to throw him off guard. My personal favorite was the “Ricky cradle-to-college” slide show production that his sister produced and directed. It took us several weeks of going through boxes of old family photos. Then dad scanned and Katie flipped, cropped and extinguished all the red eyes. It was a Frantz family masterpiece with Oscar written all over it. “I knew you would put that one in,” Ricky laughed, as the slide flashed across the screen with him in a cute little red dress, rosy cheeks, bright blue eyelids and wide-brimmed hat. Yep, we also had slides with the lad in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes, coon skin caps and clown outfits. But the one where he is wearing the dress really stuck out. Ricky musta been two or three years old at the time. Katie and a neighborhood friend were the ones that had coaxed him into it. Poor Ricky did look quite distressed … as was his father when he found out. “That kind of thing ought to be outlawed by the Geneva Convention as a form of torture,” hubby exclaimed. “Hey, I remember when we did that to your father when he was about that age. Your father was the cutest little girl. But boy did we get in trouble when our dad got home,” said Aunt Michele to Ricky. “There was probably bribery involved. You know … back then I’d do most anything if there was a cookie involved. My mom had such great hearing she could tell if I was going for a cookie in the kitchen when she was hanging up clothes on the line in the back yard,” said hubby. Michele, whose nickname is Mikki, is one of hubby’s older sisters, and if I had to vote, probably the funniest of the pack. She is also so much like her brother. They both love to change a room around. Only most people … they like to move furniture. Rick and his sister love to move walls. “The other day as I was headin’ out the door for work, Mikki looked at one of the walls and just casually mentions, ‘Honey, is that one load bearing?’” Tim, Michele’s husband, gasped as he ran out to the garage and hid all the sledge hammers before backing out of the driveway. Did I mention that hubby has four older sisters? Oh, and then there are also five sisters and a brother that are younger. They all call their brother “Richard.” “Do you remember the time Richard ate that roach? He probably thought it was a cookie,” giggled Cynthia, another sister from the older group. Hubby’s sisters weren’t the only ones telling funny stories till our faces hurt. Our lovely next door neighbor for years, we all call her Mrs. Mac, recalled when Ricky was a little tyke he used to hang over the fence in back of our garage. Mr. Mac would be working in his garden and they would chat about all sorts of things. Our neighbor could grow some mean tomatoes. “Ricky asked him one time if he was married,” recalled Mrs. Mac. Mr. Mac said he was … and would Ricky like to meet her. “Why yes I would,” said the little guy, as he climbed over the fence. That was the day, almost two decades ago, Ricky was formally introduced to Mrs. Mac. I smiled as I never heard the story for the first time. We saved the big surprise for later that evening when Ricky announced he had just found out the day before that he had been accepted to the Air Force Officer’s Training School and had a navigator slot. “Ricky, that’s fantastic. I’m so proud of you,” said Aunt Mikki, as she clapped her hands together. After a rather pregnant pause, Mikki asked, “Now what exactly is a navigator?” “It’s kinda like when you sit in the back seat and tell me how to drive,” laughed Tim. “Oh, I gotcha,” nodded Mikki, with one of her famous giggles. Parties … a great reason to get together with family, friends and neighbors to celebrate, reminisce and laugh till your face hurts. Dixie Frantz is a long-time Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist since 1996. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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