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    July 2017
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Scott, for the Win!

Once upon a time, a young couple was having a conversation. Well, let’s call it a lively discussion. Ok, they were arguing. I won’t mention any names, but their initials are Scott and Carol. Scott was a little perplexed that Carol seemed never to give up a point–no matter the logic of the points he made. Carol stuck persistently to her own logic and arguments.

After a while, in exasperation, Scott said, “You are so stubborn!”

This amused and annoyed the young wife. “I’m stubborn?!” she exclaimed. “And you’re NOT stubborn?”

Said the young husband, “I got stubborn in self-defense after I married you!”

Don’t miss the rest of the Stories My Family Tells

Raising Readers

In earlier days, around the room,

the children would draw near

as Mother read a poem to them.

Such memories, so dear!

The above poem describes a favorite scene at my house growing up. Sometimes my Mom would read poems from The Best Loved Poems of the American People. One of my favorite poems was “Sleepin’ at the Foot O’ the Bed” because I remember doing that myself if we had a lot of family over. Another poem I liked was a rant against “Dried Apple Pies.” It started out: “I loathe, abhor, detest, despise, abominate dried apple pies.” Sometimes Mom would mix things up and “write” a letter to Aunt Goldie, then let us fill in the blanks she had left. It was our version of Mad Libs, and I remember a lot of laughter.

Mom and Dad made certain there was a lot of reading material in our house. We had a set of books of Illustrated U.S. History, and another set called Step-Up Books with titles like The Adventures of Lewis and Clark and Meet Theodore Roosevelt. There were science books in the series, like Animals Do the Strangest Things and Fish Do the Strangest Things. I still remember being fascinated reading about bower birds and angler fish.

We also had a Bible story book with pictures and questions. Kathy, Wayne, and I would take turns each night reading one of the stories from it before bed. We read through it so many times, we memorized all the answers to the questions.

I didn’t realize at the time that all this was a deep-dyed plot by our parents to rear up life-long readers. But it worked.

Don’t miss the rest of the Stories My Family Tells as I Write 31 Days this October. Click here to check out the wide range of topics from a wide range of writers.

Keys to a Happy Marriage

Scott and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a trip to Pensacola, Florida. We also spent our honeymoon in Pensacola. It’s a lovely place. See?

The view from the balcony of our condo on our 25th wedding anniversary trip to Pensacola

The view from the balcony of our condo on our 25th wedding anniversary trip to Pensacola

We have a lot of wonderful memories from our honeymoon, our 25th anniversary trip, and also a couple of trips we took to Pensacola with our daughter. We loved the sun, the beachcombing, the fresh seafood, bird watching, seeing dolphins playing in the surf, sightseeing—you know, the kinds of memorable times everyone can have in a beach town.

However, (you knew there was going to be a “however,” didn’t ya?) I can also share a memorable experience Scott and I had which I’m fairly certain no one else has experienced—at least, I hope not. No special reason to ask, but. . .did you ever lock your keys in your car? Really? And your extra set also? Yes? How cute.

Amateurs.

Scott and I managed to lock not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR sets of keys in our car. Yes, at the same time. All of them. Every set we possessed between the two of us was locked in the car. At the same time!

How did we manage that? Skills, baby. Skills. We had parked close to a nature walk along the beach and were putting everything we didn’t want to carry into the car truck. We were being security conscious, you know. Sigh.

I was carrying a small beach bag with some things I thought I might need. We were standing at the back of the car after we loaded all the stuff in the trunk, including two sets of car keys. Scott, knowing I had keys in my bag, took the third set out of his pocket and tossed them in, saying “Well, no need to carry those things around.” Then, he grabbed the top of the trunk lid, and started it on its downward swing.

Now, pay close attention here. I had the last remaining unlocked-up set of keys in the bag I was carrying. But when I heard Scott say, “No need to carry those around,” the fact of the fourth set of keys slipped my mind, and I thought to myself, “Why carry this bag around? Travel light.” So as the lid was coming down, and just before it shut, I swung my bag into the trunk. Where it would be secure. Cause I’m security-conscious like that.

Well. I had never seen that look on Scott’s face before, and it’s not a look a bride wants to see on the face of her newly-minted husband—a mixture of incredulity and the sudden consciousness that he may have made a terrible mistake. (I’ve seen it since then, believe me, but this was the first.) I still didn’t realize what I had done. Scott had to tell me. Oh, well. As my Uncle Randall used to say, “Well, children. It’s just like everything else.”

We made it through that first what-in-the-world-have-I-done test, and many others since then. And after 25 years, I’m happy still to say, if I must get locked out of a car with anyone, I choose Scott. Right, honey?

. . .Honey?

Don’t miss the rest of the Stories My Family Tells as I Write 31 Days this October. Click here to check out the wide range of topics from a wide range of writers.

The Clown Car

You may be surprised to learn that my family was part of a circus act. We performed every Wednesday evening and twice on Sunday for a least a year back in 1973, then expanded our act in 1974.

This was the gig the congregation at our church would gather to watch after every service ended: My family of six people would all pile into the family car, a 1973 Ford Pinto (You see, it was a clown car before the act even got started.)

To begin, Wayne would get in and sit on the hump in the back. Kathy and I would fold ourselves in on either side of him, where I would balance Dad’s guitar case. The members of the Back Seat Crew weren’t little either. We were aged sixteen, twelve, and ten years old at the time. After the BSC were settled, the FSC would perform. Susie would climb in the front of the car and perch prettily on the console, and Dad and Mom would swoop gracefully in to take the spacious driver and passenger seats, respectively.

The bonus for the congregation was if they were outside to see the front end of our performance when we burst out of the car after arriving at church. I think some people came to church just to watch our performance, but it is not an evangelizing tool I would recommend.

And the expansion of our act? Mary Ellen was born. She, of course, immediately snagged a coveted spot with the FSC on Mom’s lap. The BSC, of course, was taxed with the responsibility for keeping up with her carry-on luggage filled with clothing, food, and burp cloths which the little princess demanded as her due. Such a prima donna!

Don’t miss the rest of the Stories My Family Tells as I Write 31 Days this October. Click here to check out the wide range of topics from a wide range of writers.

My Looney Tunes Family

Perhaps every close knit family has its own language–music, sports jargon, whatever. My family speaks Looney Tunes. Fluently. No joke. Seriously, would I make up something like that? (“You might, Rabbit. You might.”

It’s nearly impossible to go to a restaurant and order a meal. For instance:

Server: Are you ready to order?

Me:  I would like…

Any sibling: “I would like? I would like a trip to Europe!”

That’s just the beginning. The reason my brother calls me Ijitt?

Why did this inspire my brother to call me Ijitt? No clue. I promise you, I have never sneezed fire out of my snout and set anything on fire. (I really hope I don’t need to tell you that I don’t even have a snout.)

Still, it’s OK. Most of the time. We have a lot of fun. Or maybe I should say they have a lot fun. . . . .no, it’s “we.” (“Aha! Pronoun trouble!”)

You’ll have to look that last one up yourself  😉

Don’t miss the rest of the Stories My Family Tells as I Write 31 Days this October. Click here to check out the wide range of topics from a wide range of writers. Hey, it’s not too late for you to join us!