Chippewa Herald * December 23, 2004

Dogs make the best pillows

by Tom Arneberg, Community Columnist

We sent out another "Arneberg Argus" this month. That's the name of our slightly irreverent family Christmas newsletter, whose purpose is partly to keep old friends up to date with us, and partly to poke gentle fun at Christmas form letters.

Throughout the year I secretly record funny or insightful quotes from my kids. As the kids get older, this section of the newsletter continues to grow, so I have to edit ruthlessly to fit the best ones in. (I am under strict orders never to expand beyond four pages for a family Christmas newsletter!)

Here are some of the quotes from this year's issue, out of the mouths of Simon (now 4), David (8), Jasper (10), Alison (13), and Benjamin (15):


"Look, the moon is having his half-birthday!" -- Simon, using a term very familiar to him to describe the lunar phase.

"I hate it when they keep reading those names." -- Alison, hearing the endless list of school closings on the radio on the way to school, jealous that other nearby towns got a snow day.

"I plan my lunches around Tater Tots(tm) and french fries." -- Ben's strategy for deciding when to use his twice per week allotment of hot lunches at middle school.

"Daddy, what letter are they making today?" -- Simon, asking about the flying formation of the geese passing by overhead. He apparently thought that the geese flying over a few days ago arbitrarily chose the letter "V."

"Dad, may I please have a pickle for dessert?" -- Simon, after finishing a peanut-butter-and-pickle sandwich. This kid is weird, but polite.

"You can skip the bad scenes, like this one." -- Jasper's explanation of why he'd like Star Wars on DVD, so he can avoid the kissing scenes.

"Who wants to join my Table Union?" -- Ben, trying to organize the child labor forces while cleaning up the dinner table.

"My theory is that they invented 'band' during World War II, to teach young Americans how to withstand torture in case they got captured by the Japanese." -- Ben, displaying his typical cheerful attitude toward trumpet practice.

"This is the equivalent of pie at our house." -- Ben, offering "Go-gurt(tm)" to Mark Pokrzywinksi, whose mother actually bakes desserts.

"I miss U all (in a way)." -- Alison's 6/23/04 letter home from camp, where maybe she was having a little TOO much fun.

"Dad, will you please pass the mouse?" -- Simon, while playing Mousetrap(tm) at the breakfast table.

"Next time, leave them on until I can get a picture of 'Dixie Ticks.'" -- Tom, eight days after the family hike with the dog (Dixie) on the woodtick-infested Ice Age Trail.

"Dogs make the best pillows." -- Simon.

"I'd get more dogs." -- Alison's answer to what she'd do if she had a million dollars.

"I found a Junior Bug in the sandbox." -- Simon, apparently having latched on to a modification of the name when he had first heard about June bugs.

"This is a long parade." -- Simon, about halfway through the four-hour Drum & Bugle Corps contest in Menomonie.

"Dad, it's the perfect movie -- music for you, and plenty of fighting scenes for us." -- Jasper, lobbying to watch the "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" video on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

"Are we taking two cars?" -- Simon, early the morning of when half the family was in the van waiting to begin their 3700-mile drive to Colorado and points beyond.

"I thought it would be bigger." -- Jasper, ever the optimist, as he beheld the majesty of Mt. Rushmore.

"Dad, did you know that in the night time, the sky is glow-in-the-dark?" -- Simon, while camping on Wolf Creek Pass in the Rio Grande National Forest.

"I feel like the time our baby first slept through the night." -- Beth, explaining her sudden manic cleaning energy after a good night's sleep in her own bed, following 16 nights on the road in a pop-up camper.

"I wish we had this for communion wafers." -- David, sampling a piece of "puppy chow" (chocolate-covered Chex cereal).

"So, is this, like, ALISON DAY?!" -- Ben's sarcastic remark partway into their record-setting 15-hour day at the Minnesota State Fair. So far the day featured the goat and sheep barns, the "Miracle of Birth" petting zoo, and the accordion band, with the Pet Center and flying dog show coming up.

"My son wants to know how you got bullet holes in your car." -- Stacy Sullivan, whose preschooler was intrigued by the cool RUST HOLES in Mighty Whitey, the '85 Chevy Nova (that's almost ready for antique plates!).

"Which one is Brett Favre?" -- Simon, at a Friday night football game at Chi-Hi. He naturally assumed that the live game we were watching was the same as that one on TV.

"I just can't understand how they could give it up." -- Alison, after helping the Tompkins move. She couldn't fathom anyone VOLUNTARILY giving away their fake plant whose flowers dance and sing to "In the Mood."


That's all I have room for. May your new year be filled with memorable quotes from your own family! (If you get some good ones, email them to me, and maybe I can include them in a future column.)


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