Krazy is a Perk | Hitting the Big Easy with the cool aunt

Krazy is a Perk | Hitting the Big Easy with the cool aunt


Many years ago, I met up with my parents, my sister, Lorna, and her family in Louisiana for a family reunion.

Since I was running solo, I offered to watch my niece and nephews while my parents, my sister and her husband spent some time together.

"Listen," Lorna said. "We're leaving you alone with the kids. No shenanigans."

I winked at my niece and nephews.

"Did you hear what I said?" she asked, grabbing my chin.

"Yes," I winked again. "No shenanigans."

Lorna kissed her children and I overheard, "Don't do anything she says that sounds fun."

They nodded and winked at me.

Yaaassss! These miniature shenanigan-ers were definitely related to me.

So, we may have sneaked into a wedding reception and "borrowed" some cake, raced each other, did cartwheels up and down the halls, pushed every button in the elevator before escaping out the door and other shenanigans that sounded fun.

After a day of mischief, it ended with some good ol'-fashion downtime.

"OK, munchkins," I said, pulling back the covers on the bed. "Let's hop into your parents' bed and ruin your dinner with junk food and watch shows you shouldn't."

They eagerly scrambled in next to me.

"I'm thinking A Nightmare on Elm Street?"

"Isn't that a scary movie?" 5-year-old Violet asked.

"Maybe," I said. "Depends on what scares you."

"Aren't you supposed to be 18 to watch scary movies?" 10-year-old Nick asked.

"No worries," I ruffled his hair. "I already figured that one out. All your ages combined equal 18."

"I'm not sure that's how it works."

"Really?" I asked.

The older two nodded and little Joey copied his brother and sister.

"Fine," I said. "We'll watch 'Toy Story.'"As Woody saved the day, I made sure the kids were never without a handful of tortilla chips.

"Auntie Krista, we're making crumbs," Violet said.

"Don't worry about it. I'll clean it up."

When the movie ended, I remade the bed, hiding the crime scene.

"OK, it's time to pretend we've been good. Everyone do something that makes you look innocent."

They giggled and got straight to coloring and reading.

My parents, Lorna and her husband arrived five minutes later.

"Did everyone have fun? And was everyone good?" my sister asked, looking directly at me.

"Yes," we said in unison, maybe a tad too innocently.

"Really?" Lorna asked."Really," I smiled.

"I don't believe you," she whispered. "You know I'll find out the truth."

"You know it's too late," I smiled triumphantly.

My dad dropped two paper bags onto the table. "We brought dinner."

"Oh no," I said. "Did he get what I think he got?"

"Yep," Lorna said, smiling mischievously. "We already had BBQ ribs. These are all for you. Bon appetite."

Inside one bag was steamed, seasoned potatoes, which were delicious. But inside the other bag was boiled, seasoned crawfish.

"Where did you buy these?" I asked my dad.

"The Crawfish Shack."

"Dad, you know he gets his from the sewer ditches. Why couldn't you get them from a nice restaurant?"

"Lorna said you liked them from the shack."

To be honest, crawfish actually tastes pretty good. Maybe it's a mental thing, but I prefer mine from rivers and streams instead of muddy ditches. Crawfish resemble tiny little lobsters. However, eating them isn't quite like eating lobster. My dad always has to help me.

"Slide that bag over here," he said. "I'll get a good pile going for you."

He grabbed a crawfish, twisted and snapped its body, sucked the juice from its head, peeled back the shell, and handed me a little piece of meat. It's a disgusting process, but still yummy.

"Mom, do we have to eat the mud bugs?" Violet asked.

"No, sweetie," Lorna hugged her. "I brought you chicken nuggets."

"I want chicken nuggets," I said.

"Nope. They're for the kids."

I enviously watched the chicken nuggets being gulped down by my now three least favorite little people and I ate 40 crawfish because it takes that many to fill you up.

As bedtime approached, I enjoyed the anticipation of the upcoming experience Lorna was about to have. We had adjoining rooms, and as my parents settled into bed, I locked the door between the rooms.

"What are you doing?" my mom asked. "My grandbabies won't be able to get in and wake me in the morning."

"I think tonight would be a good night to lock the door."

"What'd you do?"


I read my book waiting for the discovery of the chips; it didn't take long.

"Krista!" a yell came from the other room. "I'm going to kill you!"

"What'd you do?" my mom asked again.

"I may have decorated her sheets with rose petals except they weren't rose petals."

"What were they?"

"Chip crumbs," I said happily. "You can never get 'em all off."

I shut off the light and snuggled down into my smooth soft bed. "Sleep well, Lorna!" I yelled.

Krista Vance is a former Champaign resident. While she now calls northern Colorado home, she spent five wonderful years in Champaign and misses great friends, corn and big-sky sunsets.

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