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    November 2017
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The True Story Behind “Bubby Beats Feet”

COMING SOON, WITH VIDEO!

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Sleep Disorders

When my baby sister Mary Ellen was young, she was ornery, sassy, funny, and surprisingly smart-alecky as a four-year-old. And she really hasn’t changed much. (Except she’s much older now, of course.)

One morning, we were all up and going about our day when we couldn’t find Mary Ellen. We searched the house and the yard, giving special attention to the trees she liked to climb—the ones that over hung the creek. Mom was starting to panic, when I noticed one small foot peeking out from under some clothes by her bed. It was Mary Ellen, oblivious to our frantic search, sleeping peacefully underneath her bunk bed.

Another time, Mary Ellen was the one panicking, yelling at Susie in the top bunk. “I can’t get up! I can’t get up!” Mary Ellen had gone to bed with chewing gum in her mouth and when she woke up, the very top of her head was stuck to the headboard.

It’s never dull when Mary Ellen’s around, that’s fer shur.

See, it started as a baby. Although to be fair, our Uncle Stanley taught her this.

See, it started as a baby. Although to be fair, our Uncle Stanley taught her this.

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.

A Bargain at Any Price

When my niece, Karen, was four years old, and her sister, Ashley about two, they took a trip with their mom to visit their Aunt Kathy and family. Mama Susie was driving and Aunt Kathy was occupying the front passenger seat. The two girls were in the back seat, doing what many siblings do on long car trips—fighting and quarreling. Then the antics began escalating to smacking each other.

Finally, Mama had enough. She glanced (glared, maybe?) back at her daughters and delivered that Classic Mom Line, “Am I going to have to pull this car over? Because if I do, I’m going to paddle you both!”

Instant silence from the Peanut Gallery.

Then, a small, still four-year-old voice came from the back seat, saying, “Mama, I give you a quarter, you not give us a spanking.”

Of course during this mother/daughter exchange, Aunt Kathy was doing her best to keep from laughing. You may remember, Kathy was sent to her room once for threatening the efficacy of character training with her laughter and now she was risking a paddling at the side of the road. After shushing her sister, Susie responded to her daughter’s negotiations for a quarter, “Well, I’m sorry, Karen. That’s just not enough!”

Instant silence, again. The next thing they hear is Karen’s small, plaintive voice saying, “I’ll give you a dollar.”

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.

In Which Susie Lives the Dog Life

When my next-to-baby sister, Susie, was young, she was just full of surprises. For instance, try extending a simple, friendly gesture like singing “Happy Birthday” to her and she would turn into a small, fierce tornado–little fists flailing and feet kicking out in every direction. No one knows why, although you can now sing “Happy Birthday” to her without the threat of bodily harm. It might be prudent to keep your distance, though.

Quite an imagination that child had also. Once, when Susie was about five-years-old, the family dinner was interrupted by a loud yelp from my brother. We looked at him for an explanation. “Something bit me!” he said.

We all looked under the table to see Susie there, on her knees. “Susie bit me!” Wayne exclaimed, incredulous. “Mom, Susie bit my knee!”

My beleaguered Mom, in a tone of voice that only a mother-of-four whose husband is working out of town for the week could duplicate, said, “Susie, (sigh) why did you bite your brother on his knee?”

Susie, still crouched under the dinner table, replied in a do-I-really-need-to-explain-this tone of voice, “I was pretending I was a dog.”

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!

Bubby Beats Feet

When we were small (14, 11, 9, and 3 years old—Mary Ellen had yet to make an appearance,) my brother Wayne loved picking on his little sister, Susie. Typical of big brothers and little sisters the world over, I’m sure. At this particular time, Wayne loved to hide behind the door that opened to the stairs leading up to our bedrooms, then jump out at Susie when she headed up to bed.

One evening when Dad told Susie to go on to bed, she said “No.” This was not the answer he was accustomed to hearing from his youngest. Susie then told Dad what Wayne had been doing. And here is where you get a glimpse into Dad and Mom’s parenting style. Dad walked quietly to the door, yanked it open (you know what’s coming, don’t you?) and yelled, “RAWR!!”

My brother quietly apologized. . .nah. He took off like a fireworks finale on the Fourth of July. What I am about to tell you is true. I’m an eyewitness. Wayne launched himself at least two steps from the top of the stairs, flew six feet through the air and didn’t touch down until he landed in the middle of his bed. The house was quiet after that. . .except for sound of Dad’s laughter.

That was the end of Wayne scaring Susie at the bottom of the stairs and is one of our favorite stories to tell. But I really wish you could hear my Dad tell it with the addition of his special sound effects. And his laughter.

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!

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!