Thursday, November 27, 2008

Treasure Hunt

The last year, I sat at the kitchen table, brow furrowed, laughing hysterically. I stared at the slip of paper in front of me, the letters not moving, no matter how I manipulated them, into a word that even existed. I was always the worst at word scrambles. My siblings and parents crowded around me in the kitchen, clutching their new prizes, making fun of me.

We had a Thanksgiving tradition.

Started by my grandfather, my father carried this tradition along.

Every Thanksgiving, after getting home from eating our weight at my grandmother's house, my family would assemble for the Thanksgiving day treasure hunt. Dad and Mom would work up about four or five clues for each of us and leave them throughout the house. The answer to the first clue would have the second clue and so on. At the end of the treasure hunt, we each had a prize. Books, movies, stuff like that. Just a fun activity to make Thanksgiving more special and to create memories for my family.

When we were little, we started out with clues drawn on little pieces of paper. It might be a picture of the TV or the microwave, for example. Sometimes these were difficult, as my parents were not always the best artists in the world.

As we got older, these drawn clues turned into little written riddles or poems. Sometimes Dad would throw an indecipherable riddle in where the clue was really an acrostic -- the first letter of every line spelled the answer. The clues were difficult.

As we grew even older, we helped out by writing three or four clues, which would be used for our siblings' treasure hunt. As you can imagine, we would try to make these as hard as possible so our sibling would take longer to find their prize than we would to find ours. This also took the burden of creating 16-20 clues off my parents.

My brother Donnie hated writing the clues and we spent many Thanksgivings cajoling him to write. Oftentimes my parents would send us back to the drawing board when a clue was totally ridiculous or impossible to decipher. When time to hide the clues would come the four of us would retire to one of our bedrooms and sit, fidgeting with excitement, as we heard doors open and close downstairs as Mom and Dad would hide the clues.

Of course, the one who would be looking the longest always got teased.

That last year, it was me. Dad, in order to not have to write clever riddles, threw down some word scrambles. I don't think he knew how terrible I was at word scrambles. We laughed and laughed.

Although we're too old (ha! I think we did it up until the year I was married) for the treasure hunt now, it's always mentioned on Thanksgiving. It's one of those things that we'll remember forever. And probably pass along to our children.

Just another thing to be thankful for.

I'm lucky. I have a lot of things like that.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That is great--I wish I'd thought of it. Maybe with my grandkids.

Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.

Rachel said...

That is such a fantastic story! I may make my nieces search for their Christmas presents this year!