Humor

When kids are little, the whole meal thing can be…well, a challenge. No kid is the same, and there are always things they don’t like to eat. To make matters worse, if you were raised in my generation, you were always told that you needed to clean up your plate, because there were children starving in Africa. It occurred to us that our not cleaning our plate was not going to help them anyway, but that was still the thing we were told. Of course, our parents were trying to teach us not to be wasteful, but when I was looking at tomatoes or peas…which I still do not really like, it didn’t make any difference, because I figured that if those children in Africa wanted my tomatoes or peas, they were welcome to them…just get me a to go box and I’d figure out a way to pay the postage.

My parents didn’t go for that, so I had to sit there until I cleaned up my plate. Yuck!! I tried everything I could think of to get out of it. I would put a forkful of peas in my mouth and then spit them into my napkin, but the darned things wouldn’t always stay in there, so I ended up getting them back. After a while, I learned how to make them stay in there pretty good, but I still got caught most of the time. Now tomatoes were a different story. Putting a forkful of stewed tomatoes in my mouth produced a pretty much instant gagging effect that was not faked, and trying to swallow was almost worse. I learned to plug my nose and swallow those nasty things whole…and quickly.

Sometimes, it isn’t a matter of not liking a food, but taking more than you can eat. My sister, Alena found that out on Thanksgiving one year, when she wanted to have the entire turkey leg. She argued with my dad about it until he finally gave in and let her have the entire turkey leg. Of course, she couldn’t eat it all, so Dad said she could have it the next day. Well, she still couldn’t eat it all, so she got it the next day…and the next. By that time it was covered with cranberry sauce and gravy, and just the site of it made Alena cringe. Dad would get that silly turkey leg out every day, and try to hide his emotions when he handed it to Alena. Finally, the turkey leg ended up in the trash, and to this day, Alena doesn’t eat the leg on turkey or chicken.

Yes, food can be an issue with kids , but eventually they outgrown that pickiness…or just grow up and move out, so they can make their own food choices. There are some things that I still don’t like…and probably never will, but as I found out recently with Avocados, it never hurts to try thing again once in a while, because your tastes might change. You never know, but tomatoes and peas…well not yet.

I met Bob while I was a senior in high school, and we were married a little over a year after graduation. After the wedding, we took honeymoon trip to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Bob and I had a wonderful honeymoon, and while we were gone, my parents took care of our cat.

When we came home, we opened the front door to find that a few things had changed around our house. Our first clue was when we turned on the light and there was something on the switch…shaving cream. Stepping into the living room, we saw that there were torn newspapers all over the floor…and our cat had been having a great time shredding them. So we cleaned things up, laughing about the trick my parents had pulled off. Both our families are teasers and pranksters, so this was nothing new to us.

Then, I started to make dinner. We were going to have fried chicken…one of my favorite dishes, and as it cooked it smelled wonderful. As I was preparing the side dishes, a found that we had another surprise in store for us. All of the labels on our canned goods had been removed, so the side dishes were going to be a bit of a surprise too. In the end, we had fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, and peaches. Now that doesn’t sound too bad, until you add that fact that I like salt, so I used a generous amount on the chicken, and as we bit into it, we discovered that the salt and sugar had been switched. Bob was such a good sport. He told me it wasn’t so bad, and ate at least two pieces of chicken. Thankfully we had used a packaged gravy, so it was good…of course the potatoes were a little sweet. All in all, it wasn’t too bad, and nothing went to waste. Again, we laughed about the whole thing.

The final prank was discovered when we went to bed that night. There was a cup of rice over our door, so my parents got to throw the final handful of rice to commemorate our marriage. They had also short sheeted the bed…which I’m sure you can figure out, and there were a few crackers in there that needed to be vacuumed out, but the funniest thing was the fact that there were a selection of bells, including a cow bell tied to the bed springs…so I’m sure you get the picture on that one. We were too tired to remove those until the next day, so it wasn’t a quiet night, but we did get…some sleep.

I suppose some people might think our homecoming was a mean trick, but we thought it was totally funny, and it has been a funny memory that we have had for the last 36 years. I wonder how many other people can tell you all of the details of that first day home from their honeymoon.

When kids get to the age where they can start to dress themselves, the results can be a pretty funny. Sometimes clothes are on backwards…sometimes inside out…sometimes the colors match…sometimes they don’t. It all seems so foreign to a child, and yet before long they will master the whole idea of getting dressed. It’s funny how as young parents we are so concerned that their clothes be right, so people won’t think we are neglectful, but when we look back on the whole thing…we wonder why we worried so much. It is a natural part of that transition we call growing up. No one expects kids to be perfect at it from the beginning.

Sunglasses and hats are a couple of other items that take a little work to master, and always seem to go on upside down or backward, although these days a hat on backward puts your child right in style. Still, it can be very comical to watch your child doing their best and yet not being very successful at it. Somehow though, the hardest thing for kids to master is getting their shoes on the right feet. It just seems like for the longest time those shoes are always on the wrong feet. Why is that? What makes shoes invariably look right to a child on the wrong foot. I mean, shouldn’t they get it right at least part of the time? But, they don’t. They always put those shoes on the wrong feet. It is amazing…and funny at the same time.

With clothes, hats, and sunglasses, they get it right at least part of the time…but those shoes can be on the wrong feet clear into grade school sometimes. Maybe it’s because shoes, and least little ones sometimes don’t look a lot different, one from another. But putting your shoes on the wrong feet, well…it just feels odd…at least to us, so why doesn’t it feel odd to them? Or maybe it does, but they just don’t exactly know why that is. That’s what makes it so funny, I guess. Here you have a child who has finally mastered the whole idea of getting the clothes on right with very little help. They are so proud of themselves, and then they put on those shoes, and it’s like being back at square one.

Kids just naturally have a love of musical instruments. Almost from the time they are born, they play with rattle and other noise makers for entertainment…sometimes to the point of headaches for their parents. It is a love of beautiful music…and believe me, we all have very different ideas of exactly what beautiful music is…that leads us to try to create the music we love on our own.

At Christopher’s age, it’s all about the noise level, the louder it pops, clangs, rings, or squeaks, the better they like it. Wait…I think that part of a kids love for music last at least until their 30’s and sometimes even longer, so really Christopher is just doing what every teenager does, only with different instruments. And he was having the time of his life doing it. You can’t help but smile, even though you know that after a few minutes of cuteness, the noise probably drove his parents nuts.

As kids get bigger, their choices of instruments change, and the opportunities they have in school help with those changes. I’m sure you all remember the recorder that kids learned to play on about 4th grade. Most kids sound pretty much like I do when I play the recorder…a sick duck, but my daughter Amy had a way with the recorder. She could make it really sing. That’s why we chose the Clarinet for her when she got to fifth grade, even though her sister, Corrie had chosen the Violin. Both girls played very well all the years they played in school, and I thoroughly enjoyed going to their performances.

Christopher played the Trumpet in 5th and 6th grade, and his brother, Josh played the Clarinet in 5th grade, following in his Aunt Amy’s footsteps. My granddaughter, Shai chose not to play an instrument, but go into choir for a time. Caalab would be the one to continue in the musical world, when he decided to take up the Guitar and follow in his dad’s footsteps. He now owns several Guitars, and continues to get better and better. He takes Guitar in school, and nobody has to tell him to practice. He loves to play. Where once he had rocks in his pockets, he now has multiple picks. He may not always have his Guitar, but those picks seem to always be with him. Typical, I guess for the boys in the band.

My grandchildren have gotten to the age where teasing their grandma is considered a sport. Words spoken in irritation…provided they were not aimed at that grandchild…are suddenly the funniest thing they have ever heard. They love to bring up past irritated sayings and then ask me to repeat the saying…hopefully using the same tone I used at the time they first heard the remark. The problem is that often what struck them as funny is something I gave very little thought to, and therefore barely recall saying, much less the proper tone to use in the repeat performance. Consequently, they ask me to try again using the right tone, and when I don’t know the right tone, they try to re-create the tone for me, so I can then repeat it for them, so they can laugh about it. Mostly, they end up laughing at my feeble attempts to re-create the tone to match their tone.

It’s a good thing that I’m a good sport too, because anything is fair game here. A broken heel and the consequent limping walk…along with the ensuing irritated grumbling, makes for the perfect pick on Grandma item. As does my irritation at the radio speakers in my car when they were going out, and the sound would “get really low, and then BLAST out at you!” And, let’s not forget that my grandsons are now all taller than me, so they think it is pretty funny to manhandle Grandma, because she isn’t strong enough to push them out of the way…much less get away from them. I have been relegated to the basement, as it were, in that all three of the boys are taller, so I have become Little Grandma, which takes me back some to when all of my cousins and I called my great grandmother, Little Great Grandma, a name she didn’t seem to mind either, and now I understand why she didn’t.

There is just something about having your grandchildren lovingly teasing you that has a pleasure all it’s own. You realize that while your children, at this age, were totally embarrassed at the un-coolness of their parents, your grandchildren have no such inhibitions where you are concerned. Somehow in your old age…not that I’m old, mind you…but somewhere in what seems to your grandchildren to be your old age, you have somehow managed to retain or maybe recover your coolness!! And the truly amazing thing is that all you had to do to achieve such a great accomplishment was say something silly in the middle of an argument like, “We are sooooooo done here!”

My grandson, Caalab loves dogs..all dogs. His goal is to have one of every kind. A lofty goal, considering the sheer number of breeds out there, but he also plans to own a place big enough to handle it, at least he is planning ahead. So far he has two dogs. Rhythm is a Beegle, and Blues is a Husky/Shepherd mix. Yes, they really are Rhythm and Blues. Caalab’s dad, Travis works for the radio station, and does a blues show, so it stands to reason.

Rhythm is an older dog, And he doesn’t like to do much…in fact never has…except when Travis decides that Rhythm needs to do some dancing. Then he holds his hand above Rhythm’s head and sings “Rhythm is a dancer!!” Rhythm dances around and around. Other than his dancing, he has always been pretty lazy…probably the main reason he is much heavier than Blues. Rhythm would eat constantly if you would let him, but he will do it is a way that takes the least amount of work. That became very obvious the other day when my daughter, Amy fed Rhythm and he started eating and after a few minutes, he got tired. So he laid down on the floor in front of his bowl and proceeded to continue eating while laying down. Never had my daughter seen such a lazy dog.

Blues is the younger of the two dogs, and he is interesting in that he has one blue eye and one brown eye. He is rambunctious like most puppies and younger dogs are, and he keeps things hopping around their house. Blue thinks water is a toy. Watering the lawn or any other use of water is open season for Blues to chase the water and try to eat it. One time when Amy had the hose and was playing with Blues, she was dancing the water around, and Blues was jumping up and down trying to catch the drops as they came down. At one point, he slipped on the wet ground and landed on his side. He let out one little yelp and that was it. He was back on his feet and back at it…chasing the drops. With two silly dogs, there is never a dull moment. It’s free entertainment.

A number of years ago, my sister, Cheryl had several friends who got together as often as possible for coffee at what was then the Ramada Inn. They would sit and talk for hours, but it would seem like such a short time to them. They were having such a good time. They talked about their lives and kids, and hopes and dreams…just whatever came to their minds. It was girls’ night, before girls’ night became so popular.

Now, in those days, there was no such thing as a cell phone, so when people were not at home, they were not easy to get a hold of. And when the girls got to talking…well, lets just say they weren’t worried about being found. Everyone knew where they were anyway. The guys, however, thought it was somewhat like a bunch of hens, clucking along.

Nevertheless, sometimes you needed to be able to get a hold of people…not that it was any emergency or anything, but it might have been, so it just made sense. I suppose that is why cell phones were invented…you are never out of touch with a cell phone. But, that invention would not come for a few years yet, so if anyone needed to get a hold of Cheryl when she was having coffee with her friends, they had to call the Ramada and have her paged. They knew her, so they always went to her table to get her, without paging her.

One time however, was a little different. My brother-in-law had a plan…and he was pretty good at those plans. He didn’t need anything when he called the Ramada, he just wanted to try something. So he called the Ramada, and asked them to bring Cheryl to the phone. Now as I said, Chris had a plan, so when they paged my sister, this is what she heard. “Telephone call for…Marathon Masterson!” Well, you can just imagine her shock when she heard that being said. She knew it was aimed at her, and it was now a nickname she would carry around for many years to come.

When your brother-in-law is a cop, and 6’4″ to top it off, you might as well know that you are going to be picked on…a lot! The year was 1993, and the event was my daughter Corrie’s graduation party. The party had progressed to the point of cutting the cake, when Chris decided that this was the perfect moment to pick on me. He grabbed my hands and hand cuffed them behind my back and promptly walked away. Of course, I started trying to convince him to unlock the cuffs, but he told me that he didn’t have the key. The party was put on hold for a few minutes while my sister and I tried to get him to unlock the cuffs. For a while there, I really thought I might have to try to cit the cake with my hands behind my back. Finally, Chris unlocked the cuffs, laughing the whole time at how easily he could overpower me.

Since I am only 5’2″, overpowering me was not too difficult for my brother-in-law whose more that a foot advantage over me in height gave him the clear advantage. This was proven quite effectively when Chris decided to help me out with my height problem…by picking me up and depositing me into a tree in my parents front yard. I’m sure he was trying to be helpful…don’t you think? You don’t? Well, you are probably right.

Through the years Chris has picked me up by my feet and held me upside down, held me in different sorts of police holds for subduing criminals, and put me upside down in a chair, just to name a few different torture methods, all in good clean fun, of course. He would never hurt me or anyone else who happened to be his next victim, but he could definitely show you who was boss. And this was proven quite effectively whenever he decided to pick on me or my sisters. All I can say is, I’m sure glad he was never arresting me for real, because I don’t think I would want to go up against him if he weren’t just teasing.

Going to the dentist is not usually something that kids like doing. It normally frightens them because of the painful Novocaine shots and the scary sounds of the drilling. Once they have been there, most don’t want to go back…but my niece, Chantel had a little bit different experience with the dentist, and I will never forget just how funny it was.

Chantel went to a children’s dentist. That was pretty much unheard of in the mid 70’s when she was a little girl, or at least it was pretty new to us. This dentist wanted to make it a good experience for the kids. So, when she had to have her teeth worked on, he gave her something to relax her. That would make her sleepy by the time she would receive the Novocaine shot, and probably pretty numb too. My sister gave her the medicine about 30 minutes or so before the appointment. Of course, it not only relaxed her, it was similar to being drunk. She got pretty goofy.

We were asking her questions just to hear her slurred speech as she attempted to answer us. This was not the first time she had been given this med and so we kind of knew what to expect, and she loved her dentist, because he had found a way to remove the fear of dentistry. Not only was she not afraid, she was always given gum after the dental work, as a reward for doing so well throughout the procedure. No wonder she liked him. What little kid didn’t like gum.

So, we asked her where she was going, and she said, “To da detist.” And then giggling, we would ask her again, just to hear the funny slurred speech. She tried very hard to tell us the whole story of the upcoming adventure she was going to have…with us laughing all the way through it. Finally we asked her why she liked the dentist and she said, “Ma buddy guve me gum.” Aw yes, the ultimate reward for a sweet little girl on medicine to make her relax.

I remember a visit to my birthplace, Superior, Wisconsin, that my family took when I was a little girl. My Uncle Bill and his family lived up there and still do today. Uncle Bill was and is an interesting sort. He has always liked to collect things. I remember that he had a slot machine in his basement, years ago. Of course, no one was allowed to use it that wasn’t family…a guy could get into trouble otherwise. He collected guns and coins, and he is fanatical about the family history, which I suppose is how I got started writing about the good old days. Uncle Bill got me interested in my past, and my daughters, Corrie and Amy got me into blogging. Writing about the past just seemed to be a good fit for me.

As I said, Uncle Bill liked to do things a little differently. I remember going out to pick blueberries and experiencing the difference you can only get when you eat blueberries that have just been picked. It is hard to describe how amazing that taste is.

Uncle Bill was a history buff too. He has always been interested in the shipwrecks in Lake Superior. He could probably tell you about every one. When Bob and I went up to visit the year after our marriage, he told us about many of those wrecks, and how many were visible from the air. That seems odd to me considering the fact that Lake Superior is the deepest of the Great Lakes.

But, one of the most unusual things that Uncle Bill did was a complete surprise and totally delightful to all of us. We had gone for a visit, and he was going to take us out for dinner. When we got to the restraunt, it was not what we expected. It was an ice cream shop. We looked at him in amazement, and he announced that we were having an Ice Cream Supper. So, we went in and Uncle Bill said to order whatever we wanted. We had a wonderful time and supper was delicious. Uncle Bill insisted on everyone eating their fill of ice cream. So, when we were all full, Uncle Bill said, “Now…what do you want for dessert!!”

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