The summer before Molly turned seven, our cousins came to visit us. There were three of them, Nick, Ben, and Cassie, who all matched up well in age to us. As a result, the day of their visit was a blur of dirty jokes, outdoor games, and quiet enthrallment at the amazing 8-bit Sega Master System they'd brought with them.
Though I would have been content to play Space Harrier and Rambo for the entire day, and well into the night, my parents were much like the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer when it came to video games. The controllers, colors, and scrolling game play confused, and frightened them. When the explosion sound effects and glassy-eyed stares of their children got to be too much for them, they unplugged the machine and forced us to do something else.
What they suggested was Hide-and-Seek. There were many rooms and closets to conceal oneself in. We had a healthy sense of rivalry, and bragging rights for best hiding place were at stake. Best of all for my parents, Hide-and-Seek forces particpants to be quiet, at least temporarily. With seven kids in the house, Mom and Dad would take "temporarily" in a heartbeat.
Molly was the youngest, and accordingly given little thought as we sized up our Hide-and-Seek opponents. We Keane kids had an advantage due to home turf - we knew which coat closets gave the best cover, which beds one could hide under, how to silently open the sliding glass doors. Our cousins didn't stand a chance, we thought, as Cousin Nick became the first "It".
Even as an outsider, Cousin Nick found most of us with ease. I was discovered behind the drapes, and the rest of my siblings and cousins were soon flushed from their hidey-holes. All except Molly. We couldn't find her anywhere. She wasn't outside. She wasn't in my bedroom. She wasn't in a closet or the bathtub. Cousin Nick even lifted the lid of the big toy box in the girls' room, but only saw a jumble of plastic musical instruments, stuffed animals, and a doctor kit.
After about fifteen minutes of searching, we gave up. "Olly-olly-oxen free" was called, but to no avail. Where was Molly?
As concerned siblings and relatives, our next move was simple. Plug in the Sega, and forget all about Molly. Which we did, for at least half an hour. Then we heard a noise from the girls' room.
We ran into the room just in time to see Molly pushing open the lid of the toy box. She had been concealed in the impossibly-small box for nearly an hour. Molly had climbed in there and, ingeniously for a six year old, pulled a layer of toys over herself for camouflage. When we took forever to find her, Molly fell asleep.
This was by far the most impressive Hide-and-Seek performance in the history of Stevenson Drive, if not the Western world itself. Molly was duly congratulated for her Hide-and-Seek excellence, until someone made her cry and we had an excuse to turn on her and call her a baby. But to this day, her feat remains legendary. Almost as legendary as Phantasy Star. Man, was that game fucking cool.
Happy Birthday, Molly!