By Ginger Truitt
In spite of what the title suggests, this article is not about the in-laws, or the outlaws, or even my sister. A few months ago, my Aunt Shirlee decided to pursue her lifelong dream of being on the game show, “Family Feud.” With the surname of Pickel, pronounced just like the small cucumber preserved in vinegar, she felt we would be a shoo-in. She even wrote a theme song for us to the tune of the Dr. Pepper jingle, “I’m a Pickel, he’s a Pickel, she’s a Pickel, wouldn’t you like to be a Pickel, too?”
It was with great anticipation that we went to the audition this past Sunday. Our team was rounded out by my dad David, my son Alex, cousin Michelle, and young cousin Robert. We wore our Sunday best, and joined hundreds of other families all vying for spots in the summer episodes.
My devious aunt boldly slid our application under the stack, so when they flipped it over, our name was called first. I was reminded of all those times my mom had remarked about her twin sister, “Shirlee makes things happen. She’s not afraid of anything.”
It might have been a good idea to be at least third or fourth, just so we could see how things worked before running willy-nilly in front of the camera. But the Pickel family was called first. We were up against the boring old Jones family of South Bend.
The rules were clear. Team captains were instructed to know who their family members were before attempting to introduce them. We were also told to smile, clap, jump, high-five, loudly encourage one another, and shout, “Good answer!” no matter what came out of our teammate’s mouth. And one other important rule: no spinning. Never have your back to the camera.
This all seemed simple enough, until they actually turned on the camera. I’d never seen true stage fright, but my aunt was a textbook case. Suddenly, we were a row of strangers standing next to her. She looked at Alex and said, “This is uh, uh, my um gr … great-nephew.” She didn’t actually mention his name. By the time she got to the second great-nephew, she was apologizing to the camera for not being accustomed to using the term “great-nephew.”
“That’s OK!” we shouted encouragingly as we cheered and high-fived. As a matter of fact, I got so excited that I broke the spinning rule. When my big ol’ polka-dot covered behind was facing the camera, some enthusiastic family member high-fived me in the back…with both hands. My face was momentarily shoved into the armpit of my 6’6” son, but I quickly recovered with a deep breath, one fist in the air, and a “Woo-hoo!”
Finally, it was time to answer the first of two questions. “Name a European country that people want to visit.”
My aunt hit the buzzer. “Spain!” she called out gleefully.
The question was ours! Italy, Sweden, France, we shouted down the line.
The pressure was on my cousin, but she had it. With both hands in the air she screamed, “MEXICO!”
I hesitated only momentarily before remembering the rule. Jumping up and down, I yelled, “Good answer! Good answer!”
I know she knows Mexico is not in Europe, but it was an intense situation. Besides, ever since we were little bitty girls, I’ve always thought every word out of her mouth was a good answer. I just made up for all those times I didn’t actually shout it at her.
For the second question, we had to huddle while the other team answered, “Name a food that people eat in slices.”
We thought of all the possibilities: pizza, cake, bread, pie, cheese, tomatoes. But when it came our turn to steal, there was only one answer we could give. PICKLES!
I’ll let you know if we made the cut.
Truitt is an author, speaker and mother of five. Find her on Facebook, Twitter (@GingerTruitt), Pinterest, or http://www.gingertruitt.com.