Charades!


The warm smell of hot chocolate chip cookies wafted through the air as Mary came into the house from school. It was family night, and when Mother was in charge of treats, she always made chocolate chip cookies. As Mary burst into the kitchen, rows and rows of cooling cookies met her eyes. She reached for one, but Mother playfully swatted her hand with a dish towel.

“Wait till tonight,” Mother said. “They’ll taste even better if you wait.”

Mary reluctantly turned away from the warm cookies that sagged a little between the wires of the cooling rack. She wasn’t sure that she could wait!

“Oh, I suppose eating one now won’t hurt,” Mother said with a smile. “But only one!”

Mary grabbed the biggest one that she could find, then ran to her room and checked the supplies for her lesson. All the flannel-board figures of Helaman and the stripling warriors were colored and cut out. After practicing telling the story one more time, she decided that she was ready.

Dad was in charge of the activity that night, and he always thought of something fun to do. Sometimes they played games or went on walks. Last time they had played baseball. She wondered what he had planned for tonight.

The boys were in charge of music and prayers, and the thought of little Scott waving his arm in a giant circle as he led “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam” made Mary smile in anticipation.

After dinner and the dishes were finished, the family gathered in the living room. Sure enough, Scott’s arm was nearly worn out by the time they got to the last sunBEAM! Mary’s lesson went well, even though Jacob was a little disappointed that Helaman had only twenty stripling warriors instead of two thousand.

“Each one stands for one hundred,” Mary explained.

When Dad got his old hat from the hall closet, everyone knew what the activity was going to be: Charades!

“Let’s do songs!” Scott yelled.

“We’ve never done fairy tales,” Mother commented.

“Let’s do famous people,” Robbie cried.

“Nope,” Dad declared. “I’m in charge of the activity, so I get to choose the topic, and tonight it’s scriptures.”

“Good idea!” Mother said wholeheartedly.

“That sounds hard,” Robbie moaned.

“That’s not all,” Dad continued. “After the team guesses the scripture or scripture story, the team captain has to find the scripture reference and read one verse of it to us. And it all has to be done within four minutes! Your mother will be one team captain, and I’ll be the other.”

Mary and Robbie were on Dad’s team. Mom took Scott and Jacob into the kitchen to choose their scriptures. Dad and Robbie and Mary planned the hardest scripture stories that they could think of for Mom’s team. They decided to give Scott “Noah and the ark” and Jacob “Enos praying in the forest.” Mother got “Samuel the Lamanite preaching to the Nephites.”

When Mom’s team came back into the living room, she had a smug smile on her face. “We’re going to beat you at your own game!” she told Dad.

Scott went first and pretended to build something, then acted like a puppy, then a kitty. Jacob quickly guessed, “Noah and the ark.”

Robbie loved acting out “David and Goliath,” but Dad had trouble finding it in the Old Testament before the time limit was up. Neither Scott nor Jacob guessed that Mother was Samuel the Lamanite, so that gave Mary’s team a good lead. Then it was her turn. When she unfolded her paper and read “The thirteenth article of faith,” Mother’s team was grinning happily.

“You’ll never get it!” Jacob chortled.

Mary knew the thirteenth article of faith by heart. Last Sunday they had been practicing it in Primary Sharing Time. Hmmm, she thought. “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous,and in doing good to all men …” Suddenly she had an idea. Will they guess it? she wondered.

Mary pulled her ear.

“Sounds like!” Dad yelled.

Mary nodded. She leaned over and hung her arm down near her nose. As she lumbered across the living room, she swung her arm gently.

“Elephant?” Dad asked.

Mary nodded happily. Then she ran around the room, glancing over her shoulder as if she were frightened.

“Are you scared?” Jacob asked. Mary nodded.

“Mary, did you read the paper carefully?” Mother asked.

Mary smiled and nodded, grinning. Mother was stumped!

Mary pretended to be an elephant again, then ran around the room.

“Is the elephant chasing you?” Father asked. Mary nodded excitedly and pulled at her ear again.

“Sounds like ‘chased by an elephant’?” Dad said, more puzzled than ever.

Suddenly Robbie yelled. “I know! ‘We believe in being honest, true, chased by an elephant, virtuous, and in doing good to all men!’”

“Yes!” Mary screamed. Dad grabbed his scriptures and flipped to the end of the Pearl of Great Price. He read as fast as he could. “‘We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.’ The thirteenth article of faith. Stop!”

“Four minutes,” Mom said, pretending to be disappointed as Mary plopped happily into her seat.

“Got you!” Dad cried. “You thought you had us with that one, but Mary and Robbie were too smart for you!”

“I’m afraid so,” Mother said with a smile.

Jacob and Dad did theirs easily. Mom and Scott guessed right away that Jacob was Enos when he first pretended to look at a watch on his wrist, then kept peeking at it while he pantomimed praying. And the whole family laughed as Dad acted like a seasick Jonah inside of a fish. The scores were close, but Mary’s team won.

“I thought you were going to beat us at our own game, Mom!” Mary teased.

“We’ll beat you yet,” Mother said, winking at Jacob and Scott. “I’m in charge of treats, and losers get first choice!”

“Oh no!” Mary, Robbie, and Dad all groaned. But there were still lots of delicious cookies on the plate by the time that it reached Mary and Robbie and Dad. And everyone felt like a winner.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Shauna Mooney