Sometime ago I was thinking about some of the best memories of my life. These were not the obvious: getting married, having my kids, graduations, their weddings, etc. These were the little things that always seem to bring a smile to my face whenever I think of them. (Even if the situation was NOT funny at the time!) Get ready! Storytelling takes time.
It’s hard to remember all the “funnies” before I was married—why that is so, I have no idea—but one situation comes to mind. My best friend in high school, Debbie's Dad bought her a Honda 90 motorcycle—whatever for I don’t remember. It had a clutch and I don’t think I ever figured out how the thing worked, but I remember riding it once in my bikini and I went down the hill behind her Grandma’s house and I was headed for a cow and didn't know how to stop the cycle! I had to make a decision, so I turned it over and jumped off before hitting the animal and fortunately did not burn myself either, and headed up the hill feeling like an idiot. We got some good mileage out of that story.
|My kids in the apple orchard.|
I married into a family which had a fruit (mostly apples) orchard. I used to call the bushel baskets “little bushel baskets” and “big bushel baskets.” I was talking about them as if bushel baskets were a “style,” not a measure of product. I got teased over and over as we referred to the little (half) bushel baskets and big (full) baskets. I was the big city girl, you know. How could I know these things?
When I was first married, I made mistakes—and sometimes things just happened. Our power went off and the frozen bread dough that I had in the freezer “expanded.” I thought, “Well, let’s just try it and I put it in an 8" x 8" cake pan and it pretty much ended up looking like a mushroom-shaped cloud. It was inedible, so into the garbage it went. Oh well, I tried. What I didn't know is that my husband fished it out of the trash, wrapped it up and gave it to me at his family’s Christmas. Everyone got a good laugh out of it. I wasn't so sure…..
My husband loved to camp. I learned to sort of enjoy it. (Now, no way, but I was young once.) The first summer we were married we went on a two week trip for $400! This involved staying with friends and relatives and camping. We found a campsite on Pensacola (Florida) Beach and decided to stay there. My husband made the mistake of telling me there was a tropical storm out in the gulf. After we got all settled in, some wind gusts came upon us, and the tent fell down. I was hysterical! But the funny memory was of Jerry putting the tent back up alone in his underwear—and by the way, this was underwear that looked like underwear—and me standing up in the tent being of no help whatsoever. It wasn't late—and there were plenty of people in RVs playing cards watching this scene unfold. I have told this story many times when he brings up camping. I am so over camping…..
One day Jerry came home from school telling me about this new girl in one of his classes. Her name was Greta and if she wasn't voted class clown or “most likely to get herself into mischief” I don’t know who would have. She was in my brother’s class and I knew a little something about this situation before he started his story, but I let him go on…..and on…..and on. My mother’s first cousin had moved into the condos that Mom lived in and she had two daughters still at home. You guessed it. “Jerry, Greta is my second cousin.” The look on his face was priceless and memorable for a lifetime.
While Jerry taught at Baker, there were many priceless memories of the “shows” that teachers would put on for the seniors. I could come in for part of them before going to work. I wish I had just arranged for the morning off with my employer. Now, there was much rehearsal time that went into these productions and it took place behind a locked door in our den. I was never entitled to a preview! One of my favorites was Jerry and a short female teacher doing the Blues Brothers and sadly I do not have a photo of this event. They both retired the same year and that certainly would have made for an excellent picture in the school newspaper. They were really cute though. Acrobatics was involved—but remember, they were young!
|The "Village People"|
But the funniest show that ever happened at Baker High School was in 1980. About six male teachers did the Village People and YMCA. Each teacher came out one at a time and did their little thing and the last person to come out was the (disciplinarian) assistant principal as the Indian with a big headdress, bare chest and shorts with a loin cloth over it. The kids were STANDING on the chairs by this time. All sense of control was completely gone. I have never seen anything like it since and I have heard others say the same thing. That principal is gone now, but this is the memory I have of him (and I have many). It was outrageous. There was a copy of that picture at his visitation.
A few years went by and we were in the habit of going to visit friends on vacation. One of my (still) best friends lived in Florida at the time and she had a 4 year old and a 2 year old and was due in July and it was Spring Break. The four of us—husbands and wives—had gone out for dinner and hired a sitter and had a wonderful time. When we got home and started getting the kids ready for bed, we found that her daughter, the four-year-old, had put a bunch of pantie liners in her panties, in order to “be more like mommy.” When my friend and I really get to really laughing, you might as well leave us alone. We went into the kids’ closet and laughed until we couldn't laugh anymore, and the men had to take over bedtime with the children. We didn't want to have her daughter feel “badly” about herself, so we didn't want her to see us laughing—but we were hysterical for a good while. I might have had a drink or two, but she was pregnant and stone sober. The daughter is now grown and probably has had something happen like this to her with her daughter! I still smile thinking about it.
In 1991 my brother was in an accident which left him a quadriplegic. Of course, this was not a funny time, actually it was the worst time of my life (and his). I don’t remember if it was the next summer or two years later, but the two of us decided to go to a “Homarama” nearby and in Georgia, everything is on hills. At one house, I had him pushed halfway up a driveway and we were both outta gas. I told him if we went down, we went down together, I would never let him go. We had no help (I don’t know where all the other people were!) but I gave it everything I had and he pushed with everything he had and eventually we got up there. No, this wasn't funny; but it’s a pleasant memory of how we didn't let his disability stop us. (He has never had a motorized wheelchair—yet)
A few years later I went back to work and I was in the most interesting of situations—that of working as secretary to my pastor. I should say that this man was my friend before he was my pastor and he’s still my friend today. The word “friend” is the operative word here. I can’t imagine pulling this on any other boss. We had Macs and I had access to everything on his computer from mine. If he did counseling and had notes for counseling, those were on disk and locked in a cabinet which I did NOT have access to. One day I had my son at work with me and I let him fool around on the pastor’s computer (can you IMAGINE this? But this was normal at this job). Joel learned how to set the “chime” noises every 15 minutes on mine, and one day I heard him in the other room setting the “fart” noises on the pastor’s computer. (He was about 9) I laughed, and decided I was NOT going to reprimand him for it, but did redirect his activity within a short time. Then I forgot about it—that is until about 8:45 the next morning. I am sitting at my computer doing my work and I hear this roar of a laugh and then I remembered what had been done. We both laughed a long time.
Another memorable time at that job was the time the Music Director and I decided to sing for Sunday evening church “talent night.” The song wasn't outrageous, it was actually very nice, although upbeat, and we sang it together, dressed pretty much the same, like groups do in concerts, but there was this interlude that was instrumental and on a whim, we started playing air guitar. My daughter was 15. I thought she was going to die of embarrassment; but I had some of the older teen boys tell me it was the funniest thing they had ever seen at church. I have an entire blog dedicated to this church family. You can find it here.
One of my many friends at this church was military and moved away. I decided to visit her while she lived in the DC area. This is one of those people who you just pick up with at any time. We took her then 11-year-old to her gymnastics lesson, and there was a new “area” to the gym that wasn't being used yet and we decided to look around. They had one of these foam pits and without thinking, we just jumped in! We were just impulsive. We didn't look around to see how we were going to get out. Kids just pull themselves up, like getting out of a swimming pool. We first took off our shoes, they were doing us no good, whatsoever. I guess I could have easily pushed her out—she weighed 100 lbs. soaking wet—and she could have gone to get help. But we decided she would push ME out and then very easily I could reach in and pull her up. I am telling you, there aren't many people in this world that I would have wanted to see me in this position. That, plus the fact that we were both laughing uncontrollably, which didn't help. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to how much she had to push until I could get a knee up. There was NOTHING to grab onto. We laughed all evening about it. I still laugh thinking about it.
Then there are just plain awesome poignant memories of life. We watched our son play football for eight years and during my son’s junior year in high school, in the last four minutes of the last game, his team backed into the league championship. Our team scored twice in those four minutes, there was an onside kick involved, and some teams had to help us out in other places for this to happen. We were all quoting Al Michaels. But what I remember most was our superintendent running out on the field with a banner that said XXX League Champs. It had been in his desk for years. Now the poignant part of this is after that man retired, within a year he was in a terrible automobile accident that left him brain-damaged and changed his life and that of his family forever. But this is my memory of him—running around like Jimmy V on a football field while everyone else was screaming and hollering.
We've gotten older and the smaller things bring a smile to our faces and we appreciate them more. However one day we will always laugh about and we will NEVER repeat. We bought TWO cars in one day! I had just broken my foot, and was not working and we just went out to look. I found what I wanted and needed, a 2013 Hyundai Elantra and was doing the paperwork on it, when my husband went walking around. BIG MISTAKE. Eight hours after we began, we were home in the evening (I was exhausted!) with two new cars, an Elantra and a Tuscon in the garage. It was crazy and insane, and we’ll never do it again.
I started thinking about this subject months ago and started my list. I am listing them in chronological order as I could never say one was funnier than the next. This exercise helped me to remember that it’s really the smaller things that make a life great. The big events and celebrations are important to be sure, but I smile whenever I think of these times.
It’s the little things that make a rich life. There are many more, and I am sure some of my readers are thinking of some, but these are the ones that come quickly to my mind. Ponder your own life.