In our house it was standard for the kids to do the dishes after dinner. That meant clearing the table, hand washing and towel drying the dishes. (yes... we didn't have a dishwasher at that time) As some of you may know, that takes some time.
Also in our house when more than one of us kids was in proximity of the other there were usually small battles brewing. Not usually during the dishes, because we just wanted to get them done and get on with some TV before bed.
So, let me set the stage... the table has been cleared (Ma usually helped with that because it included putting away the leftovers), the sink was full of soapy water and dirty dishes and I was there ready with a towel. Of course I had to wait for Nancy to start washing before my job kicked in. Rather then step up to the sink and start with the work, she got that usual "I'm gonna do something to you" look in her eye. I already knew something was up, but for her to step to the middle of the kitchen and let out a blood curdling scream was the furtherest thing from my mind.
What was all that about? Why was she standing here with a BIG smile on her face? Before I had time to think of any more question that my feeble mind could ask... in comes my father! Now something else you need to know about our family. When more than two are together, and one screams, that scream was usually generated by fault of the quiet one. So, now, here is my father coming at full speed. He grabs me by the arm, smacks me on the behind and turn to the "Screamer" and says "And you... go to your room!!!" Hey wait!!! I didn't do anything!!! This isn't fair!!!! All of those fell on deaf ears. The sentence had been passed... I would be doing both the washing AND the drying. The thing that really made it special was as she started out of the kitchen, with that same BIG smile on her face she quietly said to me... "Hehehe, you have to do the dishes!". To add insult to injury, when the dishes were done, and I was finally watching TV, there she was pleading to come back downstairs. Oh please, oh please, and of course... she finally got her way.
This is when I learned you really need to take care around those middle children. You never know what they'll come up with next.