Friday, May 28, 2010

A fish fry, two secrets, & a diamond...

There’s never a dull minute around my family but last weekend proved especially interesting. Saturday dawned hot and sunny, the perfect setting for our annual fish fry that my husband hosts every year. You’ll notice I specifically stated my husband is the host because my sole purpose in the festivities is clean-up. He orchestrates a wondrous spread that I’d never dream of attempting. To give you some idea of how he does things, I arrived home from work to a bathtub brimming with fish fillets and fifteen pounds of potato salad. But that’s another blog.

Anyway, here’s the first secret of the day. My daughter also appreciated the cooperative weather since she’d planned a surprise birthday party for the special young man in her life. Her plot was they’d come to our house and help with the fish fry then she’d take him to his friend’s house to pick up his gift that had been too large to store at her apartment. Of course, the friend’s house hid the party. I couldn’t believe the boy was that gullible but finally decided he had to be a really good sport or was so twitter-pated he’d follow my daughter without question.

While my two daughters and I scrambled outside with preparations, I happened to notice that my husband and my daughter’s fella had disappeared into the house. My antennae twitched and I headed after them to see what was up. As soon as I walked into the kitchen, both men turned and gave me that deer in the head light look as though I’d interrupted them in the middle of an illegal drug deal.

The young one bolted with an armload of paper plates and grinned at my husband. I cornered my husband between the center island and the kitchen sink and demanded to know what was going on.

“He just asked me if he could marry her.”

“And what did you say?”

“Well…I told him yes.”

And so, the second secret of the day unfurled. My other daughter chose that moment to interrupt. This child’s had radar since birth and always sensed when her father and I are attempting to have a conversation.

“What’s going on?”

“He’s going to ask your sister to marry him.”


“I don’t know. But don’t say anything. We’ve got two secrets now. His surprise party and we can’t let your sister know he’s going to ask her to marry him.”

“Well, he needs to ask her now so we can all watch.”

“No, stay out of it. That’s between the two of them.”


Needless to say, word spread fast through our guests. Nobody in my family has ever been able to keep their mouths shut, me included. Quite a few at the gathering knew about the birthday party and quite a few knew about the pending question to be asked.

As the day stretched on, my daughter got a little antsy to leave the fish fry because she knew her other guests would be waiting. But her as yet unknown fiancĂ© didn’t seem to be in any hurry to leave. He figured they could pick up his gift anytime. He didn’t realize his gift happened to be a bunch of people waiting to wish him happy birthday.

My daughter fidgeted around me and hinted at getting her father to nudge the boy out the door. I nixed that idea. We couldn’t very well boot them out. That might put a bit of a damper on the pending proposal. The one she had no idea loomed in her very near future.

Finally, she pried him away from the corn-hole game (You have to be from the South to appreciate it. You toss a beanbag into a board with holes in it) and the young couple left.

A few hours later, my blackberry rang and the conversation went something like this:

My daughter: “So, did YOU know he was going to ask me to marry him?”

Me: “Of course.”

My daughter: “He said he asked Daddy for permission.”

Me: “He did ask Daddy.”

My daughter: “And you both kept it a secret?”

Me: “Yes.”

My daughter: “All day long?”

Me: “What did you expect?”

My daughter: “What else do you know?”

Me: “You’ll never know for sure, will you?”

By the way, the ring she accepted is lovely.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Things We Tell Our Children...

The other day while at a family gathering, my nephew sat with his chin propped in his hands and the corners of his little mouth pulled down into a frown. When my daughter asked him what was wrong, he commented the other kids had teased him about all his freckles. She tousled his hair and told him he should like his freckles because those were angel’s kisses. Of course the child rolled his eyes and looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. Then he asked me if he could have an extra piece of cake since the other kids had been so mean. I even added ice cream.

This conversation reminded me of some of the tales I’d been told while growing up. So, I thought I’d list them here.

1. Don’t cross your eyes. They’ll get stuck like that.

2. Cats eat mice head first so they can use the mouse’s tails for a toothpick.

3. The sound of thunder is Thor throwing his hammer. (I must have Scandinavian ancestry somewhere.)

4. The sound of thunder is the angels bowling. (This was from the other side of the family.)

5. I found you under a cabbage leaf. (No one in my family even said the “S” word much less ever committed the act.)

6. When I was young and saw a pregnant woman, I was told she’d swallowed a watermelon seed. (See item number 5.)

7. You can’t have coffee. It will stunt your growth. (My aunt must’ve had a lot as a child. She’s just 4’8”)

Were you told any stories as a child?

Friday, May 14, 2010

How Rude!

Have you ever encountered the type of person who's so miserable with their own existence that they're determined to make everyone's life just as hard to bear?  I was unfortunate enough to run across just such a young man the other day. 

I had to get a prescription filled.  The line stretched back about four people deep and this young man didn't want to be at work that day.  As each of the elderly customers ahead of me cringed when he barked for them to come to the counter, he'd pound on the computer a bit harder each time, cursing under his breath when the computer rebelled as the keys jammed due to abusive pounding.  This boy really hated his job.

My turn came.  I smiled, paid and told him I hoped his day got better.  I was rewarded with a shoved bag across the counter and a snarled, "Yeah, whatever."

At first, I thought I'd complain to the manager but then my twisted sense of humor got the best of me when I remembered this old joke I'd once heard, so I just laughed out loud and left.  Forgive me, if you've already heard it.

Two southern belles were swinging on the veranda sipping their tea.  The first southern belle turned to her friend and said, "I want you to look out there at my beautiful new car Daddy bought me.  Isn't it just the loveliest car you've eva' seen?"

The second belle nodded and replied, "That's nice."

Then the first southern belle waved her hand toward a prancing stallion. "And look over there.  Daddy paid more money for my new horse than your Daddy has eva' seen.  Have you eva' seen a  horse so fine?"

The second belle nodded again and repeated, "That's nice."

By this time, the first southern belle is a little perturbed. She sets down her tea and says, "So, tell me.  What has yo' daddy eva' bought for you?"

The second belle takes a sip of her tea and then says, "Daddy sent me to a fine southern charm school."

"A charm school?" The first belle huffs. "Well, what did they teach you at this so-called fine charm school?"

The second belle dabs her napkin to her lips and says, "They taught us to say, That's nice instead of Go to hell."