CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- We have some unusual traditions in our family.
If you glance away from your food, someone takes it.
Clothes left on the stairs get tossed onto the porch.
We delay starting the washer until someone's in the shower.
And we occasionally wave goodbye using only one finger.
But my favorite tradition involves what my daughter and I do shortly after the close of a show she's been in.
It started with tights Celeste had to wear for a dance recital when in the second grade. One pair was too short, making her walk like a penguin. The other pair was too long, bunching so much at her ankles they looked like a Shar-Pei's. Since there was no size in between, she suffered through the performances, making certain not to miss a single opportunity to voice her annoyance. She was hardly a trouper.
After the show ended, we decided to have a ceremonial burning of the tights. With much fanfare, we placed them on the grill and set them on fire.
It was most satisfying for both of us.
Nearly every show since then has included at least one Item of Constant Aggravation that we've enjoyed incinerating after the close. In this latest show, though, her costume was perfect, her shoes comfortable, her socks tolerable. Her only complaint was over the ice-cold and stinky gray hair paint that helped her look like an old widow.
Three of Celeste's friends, Madi, Melon and Alexia, were standing nearby when I began spraying her hair before the last show.
"I wish we could burn what's left of that hair paint," Celeste said, not wanting to break post-show tradition. "Hey! Can we use what's left on your hair?"
I agreed. Not realizing I'd bought several more cans than we'd needed.
After the show, Celeste, her friends and I returned to our house, where I sat in our yard, flinching at the cold spray as they turned my hair crunchy and gray. (Along with my ears, forehead and neck.)