IONIA, MI—A heated game night Pictionary match at the Anderson household ended memorably this past Friday, just moments after Aunt Denise somehow managed to guess Uncle Don's clumsily drawn sketch of a carburetor, in what family sources are calling "one for the record books."
"It was just so funny," Caroline Anderson said of the game-winning drawing, a crude, misshapen scribble that those present could not believe resulted in a correct response. "Here's this weird thing that looks like something a kid would draw, and all of a sudden Denise throws up her hands and yells, 'Carburetor!'"
Witnesses reported that at 9 p.m. Friday the score was tied among the Anderson's three Pictionary teams—Uncle Don and Aunt Denise, Cheryl and her husband, Russ, and Caroline and her fiancé, Gary Morley—with the game still up for grabs.
At the time, no one predicted the dramatic finish that many now expect will be permanently chronicled in the annals of Anderson family lore, perhaps surpassing in its tellings the legendary occasion upon which Grandma Florence did the chicken dance at Cousin Marcia's wedding.
"It's been quite the talk around here," said Cheryl Anderson, who hosted Friday's game night and as the family's unofficial archivist will be tasked with preserving accounts of the comical drawing for future generations. "Of course, the Andersons are kind of known for their stories. Like the time Lucille drove home from church and forgot that lasagna dish on the roof of her Honda. Or when Marcia made the pumpkin pie with a cup of salt instead of a cup of sugar."
"What can I say?" Cheryl continued. "We do have our share of fun."
Several different accounts of the Pictionary match will reportedly be put forth this Thanksgiving, when the tale formally takes its place in the oral tradition of the Anderson clan.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Russ Anderson explained that what makes Uncle Don and Aunt Denise's Pictionary triumph memorable for him is that Denise managed to guess the word "carburetor" despite her near-complete ignorance of automobile components.
"When we stalled coming home from that steakhouse last Fourth of July, I asked her when was the last time she had the spark plugs replaced, and she acted like I was speaking in Martian," Russ said. "But now, out of nowhere—carburetor? Come on!"
Family members agreed, however, that the most amazing aspect of the victory was the fact that Aunt Denise, who herself admits she is more of a cribbage girl than a Pictionary whiz, answered correctly despite Uncle Don's primitive, childlike drawing.
"You'd think the 'car' part of carburetor would be easy," said Morley, who acted as timekeeper during the turn. "But Don doodles this roller skate that has squiggles coming out of it for reasons I still don't get."
"So yesterday, I asked Don with a totally straight face if he could recommend a reliable roller-skate mechanic," Morley added. "From now on, it's going to be 'skate' instead of 'car' whenever I'm around."
According to family sources, with "car" decoded and 30 seconds to go in the round, Uncle Don frantically set about sketching a clue for the remainder of the word, his felt-tipped marker making wild and seemingly random strokes.
With moments to spare, Aunt Denise suddenly hit upon the answer, a success she credits to a split-second insight she could only describe as "miraculous."
When asked to comment on the potential legacy of the drawing, family members acknowledged that exhaustive descriptions of the picture are likely to become a standard ritual at family gatherings. At least three Andersons confirmed they would make mention of it in their toasts to Uncle Don and Aunt Denise when the couple celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in 2010.
"Funny thing is, Don himself tells the story best," said Cheryl Anderson, explaining that her brother gets all the little details right and does a "dead-on" Denise when recounting the Pictionary game. "Course, he's always been a real character."
Cheryl Anderson told reporters she might even consider having the legendary drawing framed, or at least place it in her family scrapbook.