Between the two of us, Billy and I complained bitterly about having to march in like a row of ducks to line the pew every Sunday. No other kids our age sat with their parents. We looked like real doofuses. It was a social disaster. Finally, I decided I’d have to work up the nerve to ask permission to sit somewhere else. After the super ball incident, there was no way Billy would ever bring up that topic again. I knew I had to approach the subject delicately or there would be big trouble. At our house, a question could reap consequences as serious as an actual sin. It showed intent. I suppose it followed the same principle as “having lust in your heart.” Not only that, but whenever Daddy got news that a neighborhood kid had done something horrible, We got a preemptive lecture, just because. “Your FRIEND, Eddie, was smoking and burned down the preacher’s barn last night. THAT’s why I don’t let you …….”. It didn’t matter that I’d never spoken two words to Eddie and despised smoking, only Daddy’s total dedication to lecturing and haranguing kept me on the straight and narrow. But for his rigid control, I’d have been smoking, drinking, and fornicating on the back pew every Sunday.
Not knowing how to broach the subject, one Sunday morning, I revolted. Instead of following Daddy into pew three, I brazenly slid into pew four, right behind him. Billy followed me. The sky didn’t fall. Lightening didn’t strike. The world kept spinning on its axis. Daddy just turned and gave me a warning look, but I could tell I’d won my prize.
I pondered my victory in my heart as I sat smugly in pew four. I found out that day, God has a sense of humor. When we stood for a hymn, Daddy had a wedgie. Have you ever had to spend time in church standing behind someone with a wedgie? I experienced eternity that day as Daddy stood right in front of me with a wedgie. Billy and I looked desperately back and forth at each other each time Daddy and his wedgie stood. I thought about reaching up and pulling it out, but feared there might be a Biblical injunction against it. “Thou shalt not unwedge thy father’s wedgie!” I might be turned into a pillar of salt.
I spent the next three years trying not to see Daddy’s wedgie as he stood in the pew ahead of me ever Sunday.
What’s wrong with this sign?
My nephew amended it!
The young folks invited their elderly pastor for Sunday dinner. While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their son what they were having.
“Goat,” the little boy replied.
“Goat?” replied the startled minister, “Are you sure about that?”
“Sure. I heard Dad tell Mom. “I guess we might as well have that old goat for dinner today.”
The minister dies and the congregation decides, after some time, that his widow, should marry again. Since it is a small village the only available candidate is the local butcher. Although very reluctantly, since she was used to living with a bible scholar, she accepts.
They do it and then on Saturday he tells her, “According to my father it is a blessing to have sex during the day before the Sabbath.
There they go again and when it is time to go to sleep he tells her, “My grandfather told me that one should always have sex on Sabbath night.”
Finally they go to sleep and when they wake up the next morning he tells her, “My aunt says that a Christian man always starts the Sabbath by having sex. So lets do it.”
Finally on Monday she goes out to the market and meets a friend that asks her, “So how is the new husband?”
“Well, an intellectual he isn’t, but he comes from a wonderful family.”
In some ways, my older sister Phyllis was a parent’s dream. She would walk a mile to follow a rule and was always on the lookout to alert my parents of mine and Billy’s actual or suspected transgressions. We must have been satisfying siblings to a natural-born tattler. On occasion she would report, “Linda did such and such.”
Most of the time, Mother either took action or sent Phyllis back to straighten me out. However, once in a while, Mother replied, “That’s okay.”
Realizing she’d needlessly missed out on the fun, she’d ask. “Then can I?”
Phyllis was a perfect student and never missed a spelling words the whole time she was in grade school except for forgetting to dot the I in President and not crossing the T in Grandfather. When I followed three years behind her, the teacher always said, “Oh, you’re Phyllis’s sister. She was the best kid in class and always did such neat work.” I was so proud the first time I heard that ominous description, totally unaware that I wouldn’t be shooed into that position with no effort on my part. I thought the role was inherited, not earned. I wasn’t even on the good kid list. I was sloppy, careless in my work, chattered incessantly, rarely got to class with homework or school supplies, and was best-known for staring out the window when I should have been listening. Billy, who followed three years behind me probably dealt with a whole new type of comparison. The second day of school, I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Mother and Daddy that Mrs. Crow said I was a scatterbrain, having no idea it was not an honor. It didn’t take long for Daddy to bring me up to speed on that.
I was fairly bouncing my first day of school, delighted with my red and green-checked book satchel and school supplies. I’d been admiring the two fat yellow, pencils, box of eight chubby crayons, jar of paste, blunt-ended scissors, and Big Chief tablet for days. When Mrs. Crow had us introduce ourselves, I was horrified to find I was sitting next to a girl named Virginia. Weeks before I started school, Phyllis had misinformed me that the name of female genitalia was Virginia. I couldn’t imagine what would make any parent name their little girl after that particular body part, but knew I wouldn’t be able to talk to her. I might get in trouble for talking dirty. If that wasn’t bad enough, the boy on the other side of me was named Peter! I hadn’t been in class an hour before Mrs. Crow confiscated my paste just because I tasted it, finding it sweet, but pretty bland. She didn’t like it when I stuck my fat yellow pencil up my nose, either. My school experience was going downhill fast.
A patient says: “Doctor, last night I made a Freudian slip, I was having dinner with my mother-in-law and wanted to say: ‘Could you please pass the butter.’ But instead I said: ‘You hateful cow, you have completely ruined my life’.”
An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100 %.
The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said: “Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.”
The gentleman replied, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to their conversations. I’ve changed my will three three times.
Photo shows girls dressed in styles reminiscent of dresses I wore in the 1950’s
Church clothes were special. Starch was the order of the day: crisp shirts for Daddy and Billy, frilly homemade dresses for the girls, shirtwaists for mother. While still wet from the wash, clothes were dipped in a dishpan of boiled starch and allowed to almost dry before being rolled in a tight ball and stuffed in a pillowcase in the freezer till time to iron. Should she miscalculate drying time, Mother sprinkled them with water from a stopper-topped coke bottle. I magnanimously gave her that sprinkler top for Christmas one year. It cost fifteen cents. Ironing was a huge job, so we had to hang up those fancy dresses the instant we got home. Tossing one in a heap on the bed or floor ensured real trouble. The rough armhole seams felt like razors if Mother forgot to crumple them before ironing. Even though I hated dresses, I have to admit they made an impressive show worn over full petticoats. Those lace and beribboned petticoats were a wonder to behold, way fancier than the dresses that covered them.
When I was little, before school started each year, we got five new dresses, most often homemade or rarely ordered from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. Billy got five shirts and three pair of pants. Besides that, we might get a gift of clothes at Christmas and Easter. I thought clothes made an awful gift. As kids were added to the family, the budget was stretched tighter and of course, we got less. Until I reached sixth grade, we could wear pants to school, a great boon on the playground and on cold days. The cold wind sailed under skirts, making frosty days a misery.
Dresses on the playground cut down on the fun of monkey bars, slides, and swings. I feared hearing boys sing out, “I see London. I see France. I see Linda’s underpants!” One day, I had the horrifying experience of catching my skirt tail at the top of the slide and reaching the bottom in only my slip and bodice, the red skirt left flying like a flag at the top. I was the object of hilarity as girls gathered round me to hide my shame as I skulked in for the teacher’s assistance. I expected her to send me home, but no. She pinned that skirt roughly back on and I had to finish out the day looking like a ragged sack of potatoes. A few times, I’d have a sash ripped off playing chase on the playground. Boy, was I in for it when I got home in a ruined dress! Three-cornered tears were the worst! Unlike rips, they couldn’t be mended.
I was always delighted to see someone else suffer a wardrobe humiliation. One Sunday evening, Brother Robert taught a class of young people before evening worship. Right off the bat, we noticed his open fly. I never paid such close attention to a lesson before, struggling not to look. I kept my eyes on his face, as did the rest of the class. He was a stern man. No one dared tell him. The instant class was over, he marched straight to the podium making ready for his sermon. One of the deacons did him the kindness of tipping him off. With a shocked look, he spun to zip his pants to the amusement of the choir filing in behind him. He had nowhere else to turn. It was lovely.
One Sunday morning a few years later, my sister Connie provided the entertainment for the service. She was sitting proudly near the front of the church with her new fiancé and his little niece, Amy. Connie was lovely in a beautiful yellow, spring dress. As the worshippers stood for a hymn, little Amy slid behind Connie, grasped the tail of Connie’s dress, and raised it as high as her tiny arms would reach, giving most of the congregation something truly inspiring amazing to consider, for which God made them truly grateful.