MoranFest 2016 – Chapter 4 – The End

Some of us woke up on December 31st more sore than others (from yesterday’s ski-venture). I was in the “others” group –  a bit stiff, but in pretty decent shape. I was quite pleased with myself.

This is how we do coffee at the lake. Sugar cubes courtesy of Megan’s sister, Eileen’s European adventure.

After a lazy morning breakfast of bagels and pastries (and coffee), most of the clan headed out to go bowling. I stayed behind to start writing the MoranFest 2016 chronicles. I also made lunch for when everyone got back…. I’d way overbought for Christmas Eve, so I made another round of Brie Bites, plus pigs in a blanket. By the time everyone got back and that was scarfed down, it was already time to start prepping for dinner and the evening activities.

At some point, Megan had mentioned an article that she read about “otherwise wholesome-looking families” gleefully destroying gingerbread houses. As it happened, Tony and the kids had made a gorgeous gingerbread replica of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, which they brought from Chicago to Michiana. When Megan mentioned the article, you could almost see the light sparking (foreshadowing) in the heads of the Moran boys. Being that fireworks are actually legal in Michiana, the makings of a fine experiment were readily at hand.

Hubs, readying the gingerbread replica of the Michigan Avenue Bridge for its ultimate destruction (to clarify for the NSA or Homeland Security who may read this – we are only destroying the gingerbread version).

Shortly before dark, the setup was placed on the backyard patio, and we were ready to see some stuff blow up. Safely (ha) on the deck, I was poised with my phone for recording the Great Gingerbread Bridge Blowup.

After all of that excitement, we continued the fire theme with the lighting of the menorah for the last night of Hanukkah.

It takes a steady hand to light all of those candles!

And then, it was time to start chowing down. Megan (with help from her teenage sous chefs) made Jumbalaya and ham.  Tony, of course, made our traditional NYE appetizer:

Rumaki (with and with out liver) and bacon-wrapped dates (a new addition to the appetizer lineup). Not a fan of the dates.

Two of the nieces made our dessert: cupcakes. We were waiting until just before midnight to enjoy them. But, someone jumped the gun. Before I tell you who, allow me to backtrack. The previous night, some old failings of this particular person came up in conversation. He’s often teased about the time that he accidentally made a walnut pie (instead of pecan) for Thanksgiving, or the time that he and his brother took forkfuls of cake from their niece’s birthday cake – before the meal was even eaten. They claimed to not know it was birthday cake, because it was bunny shaped and this happened to also be Easter. Whatever.

So, anyway, in the conversation the previous night, it was agreed that all of those old missteps would be forgiven, never to be mentioned again.

Oh, BTW, it just so happens that the niece whose cake was desecrated also happens to be one of the cupcake creators. Coincidence? I think not.

So, on this Eve of the New Year, during a particularly crazy game of spoons (which I lost and therefore was made to eat a spoonful of a spicy, yet not too noxious concoction of cayenne pepper, cream cheese, chili sauce, and something else I can’t recall), one family member kept asking if she could have a cupcake yet, only to be repeatedly shot down.

A bit later, I was looking at the tray of cupcakes on the counter. Something was amiss.

Happy New Year 201?!

I heard Megan exclaim, “It’s not time yet!” I looked over, and saw her glaring incredulously at Hubs, who was buse mactivating a mouthful of cupcake, unable to hide his guilt by the telltale green frosting on the corner of his mouth. We all started laughing. I was laughing so hard I did my signature wheeze. He tried to excuse himself by saying, “Well, I left the sparkly ones because those looked important!” Yeah, no. Memories of Van Gogh bunnies and oddly made pies came back to haunt him once again. All bets are off now – he will never live this down.

Eventually, the rest of the group was allowed to partake of the cupcakes. Bubbles were poured, and we counted down to the end of 2016. To ring in 2017, we were treated to more explosions, including the lsat leftover mortar from the 4th of July. I’m happy to report that all fingers are accounted for.

Upon reflection, I think the explosive theme of the night is indicative of how many of us feel about 2016.

Here’s hoping that 2017 is better (though, I have my doubts).

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