Dad called Tuesday afternoon and let Dion and Trey know that his flight had been cancelled due to bad weather. He'd notified them so they could get a message to Jake so he wouldn't make the trip to the airport today, since Jake's cell phone was turned off while he was at work. Dad asked them to call the office and leave a message for Jake, and then he'd call back later to let us know when he'd be arriving. He said he was praying he'd still arrive in time to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the family.
On Christmas Eve some of the others arrived at the house before Dad made it home. Graham, Sammy, and Andrew showed up first, since they shared a house in York, Pennsylvania and rode here together. After we greeted them at the door, I had them set their things down in the foyer before taking them into the family room to introduce them to Benny. The boys were busy playing video games, but stopped shortly after we walked in.
"Benny, I want to introduce you to three more of your uncles," I announced as I presented each one. "You'll be happy to know that they're all uncircumcised, just like you."
"Really? They're like me too?" he squealed. He was thrilled that he and Uncle Trey weren't the only ones like that, because he felt badly outnumbered.
"Yep," Graham stated as he looked at the other two, smiled, winked, and nodded his head. Then, they all unzipped their pants and whipped out their dicks to prove it. Apparently the years of running around the house naked and skinny dipping in the pool had eliminated all of their inhibitions.
"This is so neat," Benny squealed as he visually inspected each penis. "When I first got here I was worried that there was something wrong with my pee-pee, because everyone else's looked different. I thought I was the only one like that.
"Nope, we're all like that too, as you can see," Andrew verified verbally as well.
Benny was so excited that I thought he was going to hyperventilate and pass out, but fortunately that didn't happen. After his uncles put their dicks away, he quickly calmed down again.
"Your Uncle Vinnie is uncut too, if you haven't met him yet," Sammy added. "Just don't expect him to show you like we just did." We all chuckled at his comment.
"I introduced him to Kevin at the pharmacy, but he hasn't met Vinnie yet," I stated. "Even though they live close by they've been very busy and haven't visited in awhile, but I'm sure they'll show up now to see Dad. Benny, you'll know which one your Uncle Vinnie is because he has cerebral palsy and uses crutches to get around."
"Aw, that must suck," Benny responded.
"He may have had a rough start in life, but he's done very well despite his physical problems and he gets around nearly as well as the rest of us."
"That's good," Benny added before happily chatting with his new uncles and explaining how he came to live with us.
Ricky was the next one to arrive and showed up about a half hour later. After we introduced Benny and Ricky to each other, Benny turned his head and whispered to Noah.
"Is he the one you said likes to play pranks on people?" Noah merely nodded in response, but I don't think anyone else caught on to what they were talking about.
Pat pulled in a little while later, after making the trip from Pittsburgh, which meant all of the brothers living out of town had arrived, except for Frankie, Nick, and Shannon. Cole and Dustin lived locally, but weren't going to be joining us this year, since it was their turn to spend Christmas with their wives' families. Most of the others would be showing up for Christmas dinner the following day, though, so most of the family would be together again.
Jake didn't return home with Dad until around 9:00, but we held dinner so we could all eat together. We'd advised Jake about our plans the night before and told him not to stop, as well as encouraging him to hurry home so we wouldn't be eating too late, and he agreed.
We also knew the boys would be hungry long before they got here, so Trey fixed them a snack to hold them over until we sat down at the table. We also had bowls of munchies placed in various spots in the family and living rooms to stave off hunger pangs as we waited for Dad and Pop to arrive. We all went running to the front door when we heard Jake's car pull in the driveway, because we were all eager to welcome Dad home. Trust me, it wasn't merely because we were all anxious to eat either.
"I missed you, Papa," Joshie stated as he threw his arms around his grandfather's waist.
"I missed you too, sport," Dad replied as he hugged Joshie back. "I hear you've got a new friend."
"Yeah, Benny," Joshie said as he released his grip and turned to look for his pal. "He's Uncle Brandon and Uncle Danny's new son, but we're like brothers too. Benny, this is Grandpa Josh, but I call him Papa. You can too, if you want."
"I'm glad to finally meet you," Dad said in response, "and Joshie's right. You can either call me Papa or Grandpa, which ever you'd prefer."
"I'll call you Papa like Joshie does, and I'll call him Grandpa," he added while pointing at Jake.
"That will work just fine. And it's nice to see you again, Elliot. I hope your first semester at college went well."
"Yeah, it was great. I didn't have any problems until I got home."
"Yes, Jake told me about what happened."
After the rest of us greeted Dad too, we went into the dining room to eat. "So how's Uncle Shannon doing?" Noah asked before stuffing his mouth with food.
"He's doing much better, and depending on how he does with the physical therapy, I could be coming home for good in a month or two."
"Really? That's great!" Noah agreed.
"I can't say I've missed the craziness that goes on here, but it will be nice to be home for good," Dad joked.
"I'm sure Grandpa Jake will be happy when you're finally back, because I can tell he misses you a lot," Elliot added.
"Damn right," Jake concurred, which made us all smile.
"Ricky, how have things been going for you?" Dad followed.
"Great! I've got a girlfriend now and I'm thinking about asking her to marry me."
"Wow! Have you known her long?"
"Yeah, for a few months."
"And you've never mentioned her before?"
"I wanted to be sure she wouldn't dump me the minute I told her about this group of lunatics. I'm still worried about introducing her to all of them, though."
"Hey, if she can stomach you then she definitely won't have a problem with the rest of us," Trey quipped.
"And I'm happy for you and can't wait to meet her. How about you three?" Dad followed as he looked at Graham, Sammy, and Andrew. "How are things working out now that you're all living together?"
"It's been great," Graham replied. "It's almost like when we were living at home, except there aren't as many of us now."
"Yeah, and we split up the work just like we did here, so none of us has to do everything," Sammy added.
"And we all get along really well, so it's working out fantastic," Andrew chimed in.
"I'm glad you boys have each other for company and enjoy being together," Dad added.
"Yeah, we feel really close to each other and we've always gotten along well, even when we were living here, so doing this just made sense," Graham explained.
"Yes, you three have always had a lot in common, and it's been like that since the first day you started living here."
"Yep, we were always the three smallest brothers, and none of us had a great start in life before we came here to live, and we're all uncut just like Benny," Andrew summarized.
"Yep!" Benny chirped, smiling broadly.
"I think you're going to find you have a lot in common with your new nephew too, besides the obvious," Brandon added just before this particular discussion ended.
"How about you, Pat? How's life in Pittsburgh?" Dad asked next.
"Everything's good and I like working for General Dynamics. They're a great company and I've got a super boss."
"How about your social life?" Ricky followed, eyeing his brother.
"I've been dating a little, but there's no one in particular yet. However, I have taken a liking to this one girl at work. We first met at one of the social gatherings for the company, but I've taken her out a couple of times too. She's really nice and I'm hoping something develops, but that hasn't happened yet."
"Good luck," Dad offered. "It's nice to see a few more of you boys are thinking about settling down."
Seeing it was getting late by the time we finished the meal, we chose to cut out most of our normal Christmas Eve traditions as we moved to the family room. We agreed to do the rest of those things the following night, but for now we merely got ready to sing a couple of Christmas carols together, with Elliot at the piano. When we finished, Dad read aloud from the same book as he did every other year, "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Moore.
After he read each page he would turn the book toward us so we could see the pictures too, which delighted the younger boys. It seemed that Benny had only heard bits and pieces of this before but he'd never seen the illustrations, so he kept inching closer to Dad to get a better look.
Although none of the kids were aware of this fact, Jake had slipped away after we'd left the dining room and went to his bedroom to change. Then he snuck out the backdoor, came around to the front picture window in the family room and waited for Dad to finish reading. Then, right on cue, he peeked through the window, a fact that Elliot eagerly pointed out to everyone else.
"Look! There's Santa Claus!" he announced, drawing the younger boys attention to the figure in the window. "He's checking to see if you're in bed yet so he can drop off the presents."
"Come on, we got to go to sleep then," Benny urged, seeing he didn't want to miss out on having Santa leave him presents this year.
The rest of us went along with his request, although a few of us returned downstairs later so we could set everything out. It was really cute seeing Benny so excited, along with Joshie and Wyatt, even though they'd been through this routine before. By midnight we were all in bed and sound asleep, because we were fairly certain we'd be awakened early the following morning.
We weren't disappointed either, because Joshie and Benny got up at 5:00 and snuck downstairs to check out the tree. When they saw all of the presents stacked under and around it, they came racing upstairs to wake everyone up.
"Get up so we can open our presents!" they urged, as Brandon and I slowly came to our senses.
"What makes you think you have presents?" I asked, playing along.
"We seed them!" Benny answered. "Me and Joshie went downstairs and there are a whole bunch of presents by the Christmas tree."
"And you think some of them are for you?"
Benny's eyes shot open, as wide as they could go. "I hope so."
I didn't want to panic him or prolong his uncertainty any longer, so I sent them to wake up Elliot and Noah. They'd awakened Dion and Trey before us and we met them in the hallway before we went downstairs to wake up Dad and Pop. I told Elliot and Noah to wake Ricky, Pat, Graham, Sammy, and Andrew too, but I also advised them to let those guys sleep if they put up too much of a fuss about getting up. To my surprise, they all came down to join us, and as soon as we were together in the family room, Dad started passing out the presents.
The next half hour was spent with wrapping paper flying in every direction and shouts of joy echoing off the walls, as we each unwrapped the gifts we received. As soon as the last present had been taken from under the tree and given to the person whose name appeared on the tag, we thanked the others for what they'd given us and then took another look at what we'd received.
"I never got this much stuff before!" Benny squealed as he gathered up his presents. "I got toys, clothes, and other stuff too."
"Yes, Santa was very good to you this year, and you got a lot from the rest of us too," Brandon agreed.
"Sometimes it pays to be part of a large family," Dad added, as Benny looked at him and grinned.
"Yeah, I really like it here."
Almost as soon as we were done, Jake went to his room so he could Skype with Nick and Shannon. Dad went in to join him a short time later.
While they were using Skype, the boys were busy checking out their haul while the rest of us cleaned up the mess. When Dad finished chatting with Nick and Shannon, he went out to the kitchen and began making breakfast while the rest of us went to his bedroom to say 'Merry Christmas' to Nick and Shannon too. As soon as Trey and Brandon realized what Dad was doing, they went out to the kitchen to give him a hand. Before long, the rest of us were being called to the table to eat.
"Merry Christmas, everyone," Dad said as we sat down together. We all responded in the same manner.
After we finished eating, the boys went to the family room to play video games for awhile, since they had some new games to try out. While they were doing that some of the others began showing up, starting with Kevin and Vinnie.
"Merry Christmas, Dad, Pop, and everyone else!" they greeted us as they came inside. "We told the Shay's we'd see them later, since we didn't get to spend time with you at Thanksgiving," Kevin added as he gave Dad a hug.
"I'm sure they didn't object," Dad said. "So how are things going for the two of you?"
"Fantastic!" Kevin answered. "The pharmacy is working out wonderfully and business is good."
"And things are going great for me at work too, so we're both busy and happy."
"I'm glad you found time to stop by then," Dad teased.
We then introduced Vinnie and Benny to one another and gave them a chance to get to know each other better. I heard Vinnie snort when Benny told him he was uncut, just like him.
Little Ricky and Jesse showed up a little while later, although not together. They both lived locally so they didn't have far to travel and hadn't spent the night with us either, but we were still happy to see them. Other than the two married brothers who were with their spouses and in-laws, the only other ones that weren't accounted for were Frankie, Nick, and Shannon. Frankie had to work both today and tomorrow, but he said he'd drop by after he finished work on Saturday and then spend Sunday with us before heading back.
"So how's Aunt Sally treating you?" Dad asked Little Ricky, since she was his boss at D.S.S.
"She's great and says she's going to retire in a couple more years. She told me that when she gives her notice she's going to recommend that I replace her."
"Wow, that's great!" everyone agreed.
"It will be a lot of work, but at least that way the Castaway Hotel will still have a staunch friend in charge of D.S.S."
"Yes, that's a definite advantage," Dad agreed. "So Jesse, how is life living with your friends?"
"Pretty good, but we get on each other's nerves sometimes. We've tried to split up the work, but once in awhile we have to get on one of the others to do his job."
"Yes, it can be rough when someone fails to pull his weight."
"We also kicked one guy out after we caught him stealing shit from some of us."
"That can certainly be a problem too. So how's work?"
"I love working at the clinic with Danny and Brandon and I love my job as a radiologist. Everyone there has been really great to me."
"Probably because we threatened to do them bodily harm if they weren't," Brandon teased.
"Unt uh. They all like me and say I do a good job."
"Yes, we've been told that too," I added to make him feel better.
We then went into the family room to watch the parade on TV. During one of the commercials a little voice spoke up. "This is the bestest Christmas ever!" Benny announced, which brought a huge smile to everyone's face. "I got lots of neat stuff, met a bunch more uncles, and I'm having loads of fun."
"We're glad you've enjoyed everything so far and I hope that later you don't regret having met some of your uncles," I replied, as everyone suddenly glanced over at Ricky.
"Hey, why is everyone looking at me?" he complained.
"I wonder!" we all echoed in response.
Dad, Trey, and Brandon kept leaving from time to time as they went to the kitchen to work on Christmas dinner. Unlike many other families, we preferred to have ham on Christmas, along with the various side dishes. Not only does it taste good, but it doesn't take quite as long to prepare as a turkey.
While they were doing that, Dion, Elliot, Noah, and I set up the banquet table in the living room and brought out the folding chairs, since we wouldn't all fit at the dining room table. Once that was done, we set both tables and finished just before Dad announced dinner was ready, which was more like a late lunch. Everyone came out and took a seat, ready to enjoy the good food and camaraderie of being together again. There's nothing like a family gathering for the holidays.
After we finished eating, Joshie made a request. "Elliot, you promised that you'd play the 'Peanuts Theme Song' when you came home, so will you do it now?"
"Yeah, I will, but then I want you to do something for me."
"Will you sing your solo from the Christmas concert for all of us?"
Joshie blushed and glanced around the room. He quickly discovered that everyone was looking at him, including his Papa. He'd missed Papa a lot when he was away, so when Papa winked and nodded to him, he decided to sing it for him. He then told Elliot he'd do it and moved beside the piano.
After Elliot played the 'Peanuts Theme Song', he began playing the initial chords of 'O Holy Night'. Joshie focused only on his Papa while he sang and could tell Papa was very pleased with his performance. What Joshie didn't realize was that everyone was blown away by his flawless rendition of the song, and it caused more than a few of them to have tears in their eyes as they listened.
When he finished singing, Joshie saw his Papa holding his arms outstretched, as a silent signal that he wanted Joshie to come to him. When Joshie did, Papa wrapped his arms around Joshie and gave him a tremendous hug, and that's when Joshie noticed something.
"Why are you crying, Papa?"
"Because you sang so beautifully. It was like listening to an angel."
The others began to express their appreciation of Joshie's talent and praised him for doing such a wonderful job. Once things began to settle down again, another voice spoke up.
"How about playing some more Christmas songs for us?" Jesse followed. He and Elliot still had a strong bond, so Elliot merely smiled and nodded his consent.
The rest of us crowded into the family room to either listen or sing along as we enjoyed this special treat. Needless to say, the family room was packed and suffering from growing pains, since we kept adding new members to the group.
After we'd done that for a while, Kevin and Vinnie said goodbye so they could spend some time with the Shays. The rest of us then watched the movie, "A Christmas Story" on TV, and after it ended Little Ricky left too, but Jesse announced that he was going to spend the night and bunk in with Elliot. They used to fool around with each other when they were younger, so I wasn't sure if they were planning something like that again, since they went up to bed early. They were both old enough to make their own decisions, though, so I didn't inquire or say anything. However, a couple of minutes later I heard someone scream.
"Damn it, Ricky! Do you have to pull this shit every time you come home!" Elliot shouted from the top of the stairs.
"Moi? What is it that you think I did?"
"You short-sheeted my bed, you asshole."
"Elliot, please watch your language," Dad yelled at him.
"Then tell your son to stop pulling this crap all the time."
I noticed Joshie was busy explaining to Benny about what had happened, since our newest addition didn't know what the term meant. After hearing the explanation, Benny's jaw dropped to his chest and his eyes opened wide, as he realized everything he'd been told about Ricky was true. I figured Ricky had decided to do this to Elliot because they've had a long running battle of pranks, but I think Elliot was hoping Ricky would just skip doing anything this year.
As soon as that situation quieted down, Brandon and I took Joshie and Benny upstairs to tuck them in, since they wanted to sleep together again. As they were getting comfortable, Joshie made a comment.
"I think Uncle Ricky did it to us too."
"What do you mean?"
"I can feel the sheet against the bottom of my feet and it's not like normal."
I pulled the blankets back to check it out and he was correct. I'm not sure how Ricky found out which bedroom was Benny's, but since the two boys were shorter this prank didn't have the desired effect. Of course Joshie had felt the difference, but just barely, so we decided to leave things as they were and then fix the problem in the morning. We kissed both boys on the forehead and wished them sweet dreams before we went downstairs.
About an hour later, the rest of us decided to turn in too, since most of us had been up a long time and we were quite worn out. I think we all checked our beds before hopping in, just in case the blond haired prankster had struck us too, although I didn't hear anyone else complain. That was until the following morning.
"Dad D, somebody put something over the toilet so when I peed it made a mess," Benny informed me.
"Oh? I think I know what you're talking about and who's responsible."
"Yep, who else?" I then went to confront my mischievous brother.
"Ok, funny man, since you helped to create the mess, you can clean it up too," I announced after I'd awakened him from a sound sleep.
"Hey! What the hell are you talking about?"
"The toilet the boys use and the Saran Wrap someone placed over it."
"What makes you think I did it? Do you have any proof?"
"Just that these things only happen when you're at home."
"It's just a coincidence."
"I don't believe in coincidences, so you can clean up the mess. Use disinfectant too!"
"Your son made the mess, not me."
"But he wouldn't have without your role in the situation."
"Why do I get blamed for everything?"
"Because 99% of the time you're at fault!" I snapped back. "Now, clean it up before you come downstairs, that is if you want anything to eat."
"So now you're going to starve me too?"
"Only if you don't clean up the mess, and I'm sure Dad and everyone else will agree and back me up on this."
"Damn, now you're turning the whole family against me."
"No, you did that yourself."
I then went downstairs and explained what had happened to everyone there. When Ricky came down to join us, I told the others not to let him have breakfast until I checked to see that he'd cleaned up the bathroom first, and then I disappeared for a few minutes.
"Ok, he can eat with the rest of us," I announced when I came down again.
"Yes, Cinderfella has done his evil brother's bidding," Ricky retorted.
"What you did was mean," Benny chimed in. "I didn't know what was happening, because my pee was going all over the place."
"We tried to warn you about him," Noah offered.
"And he short-sheeted Benny's bed too," Brandon explained, "although he and Joshie were so short they barely noticed."
"Santa Claus should take back all his presents!" Benny added.
"That's not a bad idea," Dad agreed, drawing a reaction from Ricky.
"It isn't bad enough that the whole family is against me and treats me like the black sheep, but now you want to turn Santa against me too?"
"To tell you the truth, I have no idea how you ever got off his 'naughty list' in the first place," Dad shot back.
"Fine. Maybe I just won't come home to visit any more." Suddenly, everyone began to cheer. "Oh, you'll miss me."
"But it will be a good miss," Dion responded. "The house is usually so peaceful when you're not around."
"So no one else does these things?"
"When you're not here, those types of things hardly ever happen," Jake countered.
"Damn, this place must be pretty boring then," Ricky said before snickering.
"But it's a good type of boring," Dad stated, bringing the verbal banter to an end.
The rest of the day was quite relaxing, although I noticed Benny was acting very leery whenever Ricky was around. Ricky was merely trying to get to know him better, but Benny wasn't sure he wanted to get that close to Ricky. I guess the old expression was true in this case: 'once bitten, twice shy'.
Elliot got a call around 6:00 and took off in Brandon's car to go pick up Ian. Ian's parents had agreed to let him spend the weekend with us, since he'd just spent the week with them visiting his mother's parents. We knew they'd be spending much of their time alone with each other, although they were polite and visited with the rest of us for awhile first.
Aunt Sally, Uncle Steve, and Aunt Mary stopped by at 7:00 to wish us all a Merry Christmas and visit with Dad for awhile. After they caught up on how Shannon was doing and found out how long Dad was going to be home, the conversation turned to Benny.
"He seems to be doing amazingly well," Aunt Sally said after the boys left the living room and moved to the family room to play more video games. "I'm really glad Frankie called me so I could arrange to have him placed here. I doubt he would have done this well, at least not this quickly, if he'd been placed somewhere else."
"You can thank Joshie for that," I replied. "Without his help, I'm not sure we'd have been nearly this successful either. They've been really great for each other."
"Have you mentioned to Benny about adopting him yet?" Uncle Steve followed.
"He knows we adopted Elliot and Noah and plan to eventually adopt him too, but we haven't said more than that. We wanted Dad to be here when it happened, so we'll probably present Benny with our 'adoption certificate' as one of his presents at his birthday party in April."
"Adoption certificate?" Aunt Mary mused, since she didn't immediately recognize what I meant by that.
"Yes, it will be a similar certificate to the one we presented to Elliot and Noah. We have a copy of it on our computer and it states our intention that we'd like to adopt him, if he's agreeable. We didn't get an argument from either of the other two when we gave it to them, and we don't expect to have a problem with Benny either."
"I wouldn't imagine you would, because he seems to be very happy living here," she replied.
We visited with them for about an hour, although we moved to the dining room after a half hour so we could enjoy a snack and some coffee. Before they left, we invited them to join us on New Year's Eve, even though Dad will have gone back to Atlanta before then. They said they'd love to celebrate with us, and then they told Dad to have a safe flight when he returned to help Shannon for a while longer.
When it was time for the boys to shower and go to bed, Benny talked Andrew into showering with him, while Joshie showered with Noah. It seemed as if Benny was fascinated that there were others who were also uncircumcised and he wasn't satisfied with just one quick glimpse. Andrew was a good sport and agreed to his request, which made Benny very happy.
When Brandon and I went to tuck Benny and Joshie in bed later, Benny tore the covers back first, before getting in. He obviously wanted to make sure Ricky hadn't pulled another prank on him. Once he was satisfied, he and Joshie climbed into bed, we tucked them in, kissed each one on the forehead, and wished them sweet dreams. Before we left, Benny made one final comment.
"I'm gonna check the toilet in the morning too!" He'd clearly built up a distrust of his uncle.