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    May 2017
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The True Story Behind “Bubby Beats Feet”

COMING SOON, WITH VIDEO!

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.

The Slippy Sunday Service

I love my little brother. Really, I do.  Even though, as soon as Wayne grew big enough to toss me around like a rag doll, he started exacting his revenge for all the times I had beat the socks off of him when we wrestled as kids. (One time, Wayne managed to pin my shoulders. Wanting to gloat, he yelled at Dad to come see. But, before Dad got there to see Wayne’s triumph. . .I flipped him. heh, heh.)

What? Oh, yes. Back to revenge. Once when I was about eighteen years old, I was relaxing on the couch, just minding my own business. Mom was in the kitchen basting a turkey for dinner, and Wayne was just hanging out, being a pest. As soon as Mom said, “Wayne, will you put the turkey back in the oven for me?” I knew he was coming after me. Picked me up. Carried me into the kitchen. Said to Mom, “This turkey? I don’t think she’ll fit.”

Ha. Ha.

What does this incident have to do with the Slippy Sunday Service? I can’t decide if the following is something Wayne did on purpose or not. I’m thinking not, because of the potential for disrupting the church service, and this is Wayne after all, not Mary Ellen. But the desire for revenge can be very strong.

At this time Wayne was in charge of cleaning the church. He did a good job—too good, if you ask me. This particular Sunday, when the congregational singing was finished, I turned on the piano bench, and started to slide to the edge so I could exit the podium as I did every Sunday morning. Little did I realize that my little brother had so thoroughly cleaned the church that he even polished the piano bench.

Yes, he did. And yes, I nearly did slide off the edge of the bench onto the floor in front of the entire congregation. Oooh, it was close. Probably the only thing that saved me was the lightening-fast reflexes I had developed in response to the brotherly revenge-taking.

So, innocent mistake or diabolical plot? Wayne says mistake, but then he laughs. And I still remember the look on his face when he got flipped just before Dad walked through the door.

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!