CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- "Thanks for the sweater, Aunt Karin," my oldest niece said. "I sure hope Oscar doesn't shred this one like he did the sweater you got me last year."
"I thought you said he buried it in the yard."
"That was the year before last."
"That dog sure is tough on my presents."
"Funny how the only things he doesn't eat, ruin or bury are gift cards and cash," she said, just before having to clear her throat a few times.
"But those are so impersonal," I said.
"I agree," said my youngest niece, the one who is rapidly becoming my favorite. "Besides, if you stopped buying me clothes for Christmas, what would I wear when I paint?"
Did I say is? I meant was.
"Well, I absolutely adore what she got me," said my new sister-in-law. "I'm just worried about the ruckus it might cause if I'm brave enough to wear it in public. I mean, women are already jealous because I married their stallion god. If they see me in this, it could prompt a full-out riot of envy."
"Is stallion god the term Ohioans use for mammoth geek?"
My 18-year-old nephew was trying on the jacket I'd chosen for him, and I must say he looked every bit as adorable in pink as I'd anticipated.
"He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny," said my brother. "A pink nightmare."