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Within every adult, there lies a 2 year old child.

For example, I laugh at flatulence.  Sure, part of the reason for that is I’m a full-blooded American male but, also, there is a part of me that is two years old.  I also laugh at butt jokes.  If I live to be 99, I will still find humor in these things, under most circumstances.  A slow-moving female in Harris Teeter breaking wind right in front of us as we walk down the freezer section aisle = no laughing matter.

Yesterday, we indulged in a facet of Suzanne’s inner 2-year old by attending the Middleton Inn Gingerbread Workshop.  After a little bit of confusion discerning within which building the workshop was being held, I was thrown headlong into a situation I have always deemed a personal hell:  a room full of screaming children.  It’s not like I didn’t expect there to be a million kids at a gingerbread house workshop and it’s not like the kids were doing anything outside of the normal kid-like things.   Regardless, I immediately started grinding my teeth.

Suzanne went to check in.

The volunteer working the desk surveyed us, then said, “Oh, there’s two of you. No children? Hey Greg, we need to get a table for two adults.  No kids with them.”

Instantly, I burned a hole through Suzanne as a flood of quasi-embarassment and ridiculously unnecessary stress came over me.

“Did you hear that? Did you? God.  This is fantastic.”  Sarcasm has seldom been more thickly laid.

Suzanne just glared back at me in a “lighten up, this is my outing.  Plus, I let you laugh at flatulence on tv earlier today” way.  She scurried to our designated table.  I followed despondently, shuffling my feet with the posture of the guy in the green shirt dancing during A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I sat down slowly.  Immediately, a fever pitch of screams began to build around me.  It started with a few exclamations of “Hey! They have gumdrops here!” and quickly evolved into a swarming mass of shrill voices and hyper movements that threatened to send me into a deep dark oblivion of annoyance.

But then, at what appeared to be the pinnacle of my darkest hour, I became cognizant of the fact that the two women sitting directly next to us were also childless (at least for this event).  We weren’t the only pair of adults-only. Actually, we weren’t even close to being the only ones, as a subsequent scanning of the room revealed.  Then, I noticed something else, a little beyond the two women.  Resting on a table against the wall resided a plate of mini barbeque sandwiches.  And even more astounding, next to these sandwiches stood a cauldron of spicy gumbo.

My despair began to wane.

And then I peered across the table at my gleeful girlfriend, who had just returned from a foray into the depths of an ocean of child screams to retrieve a King’s ransom of candies for our gingerbread house:  mints, chocolate chips, licorice, mints, marshmellows, gumdrops, and the like.  The look on her face was pure happiness.  Everyone around me looked the same way.

I stopped being a Scrooge almost immediately.  Not only did I soften up a lot to the experience, I actually ended up having a really good time constructing our house and by the midway point of our construction endeavor, I was really enjoying the sheer amount of excitement and holiday cheer in the room, wishing I had been as open-minded about the experience from the outset as everyone else seemed to be.

Point blank:  the Middleton Inn Gingerbread House Workshop is one of the most fun Christmas-y activities we have found in the Charleston area and is one of the most fun Christmas-y activities I have personally ever participated in anywhere.

While our own home building skills probably need more than a little fine-tuning, as well as our snowman building skills (see accompanying photo…creepster), this certainly was not the case for many other families in the room.  We were amazed some of the ideas people developed for their own projects.  Many seemed like seasoned veterans in the gingerbread building arts.  It appeared that most of the managing of the construction came from the adults while the kids devoured many of the roofing, siding, and chimney materials moments after they were installed on the structure.  The adults replaced these materials cheerfully.

I would assume there were quite a few upset stomachs later that evening from the bevy of sugar intake. I would also assume, when considering the pure happiness that accompanied the entire workshop, the parents didn’t mind one bit either.

Next year, there will be no teeth grinding, despondency, or embarrassment. There will be a little bit of anticipation.

Next year, there will be no hobbit hut.  We’re making the Taj Mahal.

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