“Play Dead, Trina!”

Katrina at about age 4

Mommy, Mommy!  Why do I keep running in circles?

Be quiet, Mary Jane, or I’ll nail your other foot to the floor!

I think goofy behavior runs in my family.  When I think back to my nieces and nephews when they were little, I always get a chuckle.  Especially funny was my niece, Katrina.

Katrina is now in her early 20s, but I remember her best between the ages of about four and six.

Imagine, if you can, a little blonde-haired pixie with eyes so large and blue that she reminded us all of Tweety Bird from our childhood cartoons.  She was the tiniest thing with the biggest personality.  Nothing intimidated her.  She was so full of life and she saw humor in every little thing.  And the things she did without even trying that left us laughing hysterically!!!

To the grandparents, Trina was known as “Tweet” because of her uncanny resemblance to the sweet little Tweety Bird.  To her parents, she was known as “Spike.”  These nicknames are actually quite appropriate. On the surface, she was as cute as a button and as soft and sweet as her grandparents’ nickname for her.  On the inside, however, she was as tough as nails and came by the nickname of “Spike” quite naturally.

Our Trina was such a fun little girl.  I’ll never forget when she was a four-year old flower girl in my wedding.  Her job was to sprinkle rose petals down the aisle before the ceremony.  She was so intent upon doing her job properly that, as she marched back up the aisle after the ceremony, she stopped to pick up all of the rose petals she’d dropped earlier.  Apparently, she didn’t realize Gramma was just pulling her leg when she told her (before the ceremony) that she’d have to make sure to clean up her “mess” after the ceremony.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  The Trina Stories for our family have become the thing of legends.

Ana and Katrina (ages 4 and 2?)

Probably my favorite memory of Trina as a child occurred shortly after my husband and I got married.  Troy and I had travelled to Missouri to spend Easter with Trina and her older sister, Ana.  The girls were 4 and 6, respectively,  and just about the most beautiful girls you’ve ever seen.  And Trina…the energy of that child!  She was like the Energizer Bunny; she just never stopped moving!  To say she was exhausting seems so cliche, but it’s so true!  Just watching her move was enough to make me feel like I’d put in about ten hours of cardio for the day!

That weekend, Trina was like a spider monkey, hanging on her new “Uncle Troy” and doing pretty much anything to get his attention.  “Uncle Troy, Uncle Troy!  Watch this!”  or “Uncle Troy, Uncle Troy!  Let’s play a game!”  But the prevailing theme of the weekend was “Uncle Troy!  Uncle Troy!  Give me a piggy back ride!  Pleeeeaaaaasssseeee, Uncle Troy??  Just one piggy back ride??”  Well, that “just one” piggy back ride became something like twenty or more, and the requests for “just one more” piggy back ride from Trina kept coming in.

Finally, toward the end of the first day – and about forty piggy back rides into the day – Troy said, “I’ll tell ya what, Trina…if you’ll lay still and play dead for 30 minutes, I’ll give you another piggy back ride before bed.”


Trina located a place on the floor right in the middle of everyone’s path.  But I’ll tell you what, she was just as good at playing dead as she was everything she did.  She laid on the floor completely still, with her eyes closed and her tongue hanging out the side of her mouth.  She even appeared to be moderating her breathing so we wouldn’t notice the rise and fall of her chest!  True road kill had nothing on that child!  And she was QUIET!  It was amazing!  Most kids will squirm or ask you every two minutes “How much longer?” or “Is it 30 minutes yet?”  Not our Trina!  She said she’d play dead and she did.  Who knew she’d be just as good at being quiet as she was at being a spider monkey?

About twenty minutes had passed and Trina hadn’t made a single peep.  At about this time her father got up to make his way to another part of the house.  He was completely unaware of the arrangement Troy had made with his daughter and so it never occurred to him to watch where he was walking.  And, of course, he tripped over the “dead body” in the middle of the floor and almost came crashing to the ground.

Katrina and Ana as budding musicians

“TRINA!” he bellowed.  “What in the world are you doing lying in the middle of the floor??!!!  Aren’t you supposed to be in bed??  You get in bed right now!”


“No buts,” he said.  “Bed!”

“But Uncle Troy…” she whined.

“I said no buts.  Goodnight!” And off he carried her to bed, the whole time she’s wailing “But Uncle Troy….”

Now, some of you might be asking yourself why Uncle Troy didn’t intervene.  Why didn’t he pipe up and let Trina’s dad know that they were playing a game and that’s why she was lying on the floor in her father’s path?  Well, number one rule of thumb:  Never interfere with a father while he’s directing his child!  (Or at least that’s what Troy told himself).  Hahaha!

Lest you feel bad for our dear Trina, she did get her piggy back ride…and about six dozen more…but not until the next day when Uncle Troy’d had an opportunity to get a good night’s sleep and recuperate from the day’s events.  Oh…and sleep well that night, he did!

Katrina and Ana as beautiful young women

3 responses to ““Play Dead, Trina!””

  1. Such beautiful girls! Love the story, Cathie.


    1. Thanks! I know I’m partial, but they really are beautiful girls – both inside and out. LOVE those girls!


  2. What a wonderful story. That Trina! Troy is a genius by the way. Why didn’t I ever think of the “playing dead” game for my kids. Geez I sure could have used it especially when I was on the phone. And she picked up all the pedals! Bless her little heart. Such a heartwarming read Cathie!! 😀


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