Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yesterday's soundbites . . . today.

When we were growing up, my mom had many expressions to correct us or to teach us something. Some were just normal things that every mother says like "You better wipe that look off your face right now, young lady" or "As long as you're living under MY roof . . ." - you know, things like that. But some of her expressions or sayings were a little more uniquely Nora. And they are like little Nora soundbites that are burned into my memory. Like . . .

When she used to point to something that we had left on the stairs and say (just a BIT sarcastically), "Okay - let's play Sesame Street. What's wrong with this picture?" I always wanted to respond by saying "I don't know - what's wrong with your FACE?" but I never did. Because, when it came down to it, I liked being alive too much to risk it . . .

Or when she'd yell for us to come downstairs and we'd yell down "Okay - wait just a second!" and then she'd yell up "No . . . I don't wait - YOU wait." Yeah - that NEVER got annoying . . .

Or anytime the dryer buzzer went off, she'd yell "GRAB 'EM!!!!" from wherever she was in the house. She might be buried in the back of her closet but we'd hear a muffled "GRAB 'EM!!!" and we'd have to jump into action, like firefighters responding to a 5 alarm fire. I'm actually surprised she never installed a fireman's pole for us. We'd run from wherever we were in the house to help get the clothes out of the dryer and laid out onto the couch before they wrinkled, all the while listening to her say "Hurry! Grab 'em! Lay 'em out!" It was as if a wrinkle in a shirt caused irreparable damage to the fabric. To this day, the sound of a dryer buzzer going off makes me a little jumpy.

Another one of her favorite things to do was to interrupt us with "Where did you go?" if we ever said "I go" instead of "I said." This particular soundbite had the potential to get you so frustrated that you completely forgot what you were trying to say. Let me give you an example . . .

Me: And then I go "Y'all should come -"
Mom: [with mock concern] Where did you go??
Me: What?
Mom: [still with the mock concern . . .] Well, you just left in the middle of the conversation. That seems a little rude.
Me: [catching on . . .] Oh. Then I SAID "Y'all should come sit over here with us." And she went "No - I'm -"
Mom: Where did SHE go?
Me: What?
Mom: She just walked away?
Me: Well, I don't know about her but I'M walking away from THIS conversation . . .

You're jealous that you didn't grow up in our household, aren't you?

One of my mom's favorite expressions, though, was (and, actually, still is) "We're having Christian fellowship." My parents were great believers in spending family time together. We always had dinner together as a family around the dining room table and we always had conversations as a family. My parents didn't just talk to each other - we all talked. Even if my dad was telling us about his day at work, we kids were involved in the discussion, asking questions and making comments and jokes. This is what my mom called "Christian fellowship" - enjoying each others' company without distraction. So it was common in our house for my mom to say things like "Turn the television off, we're having Christian fellowship" or "Put the New Kids on the Block magazine down, we're having Christian fellowship" or "Stop looking at your bangs in the mirror, Catherine. We're having Christian fellowship." Hey - I couldn't help it. I had ROCKIN' bangs and the mirror was RIGHT . . . THERE . . .

What's funny to me is that many of the expressions that used to annoy us as kids, my sisters are now using with THEIR kids. It's funny how that happens. In fact, just the other day, I met my mom and sisters and their kiddos for lunch after church. The kids were at one end of the table and Savannah was playing with Erin's phone while Emma and Ben looked over her shoulder at the game she was playing. Avery came over to me and asked if she could play with my phone so I said yes. I am, after all, the world's greatest aunt. A few minutes later, we had this conversation:

Erin: [to Savannah] Okay, Savannah - let me have my phone back. Y'all should be having Christian fellowship.
Savannah: [gives the phone to Erin] Mommy, Avery still has Catchy's phone.
Erin: Avery, put the phone down and visit.
Me: Ummmm . . . that's MY phone and she just got it, thankyouverymuch. I think I'm in charge of MY phone, don't yoooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuu? [Hey - never said I was the world's greatest sister . . .]
Erin: [smiling and shaking her head] Okaaaaaaaaaaaay . . .
[2 minutes pass by . . .]
Savannah: [fully feeling the injustice of the situation . . .] Mommy, Avery STILL has Catchy's phoooooooooone.
Erin: [glaring at me] Well, Catchy said she could play with it for a few more minutes.
Savannah: [to Avery] Avery. Put the phone down.
Avery: [ignoring her]
Savannah: AVERY. Put the phone down. [then, thoroughly frustrated and through almost-gritted teeth . . .] WE'RE HAVING CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP!!

Oh the joy of seeing a good family tradition being passed on to the next generation! I just pray that they don't carry on the "GRAB 'EM!!!" tradition.

No child deserves that . . .


Unknown said...

Catherine, you are hysterical. I love how you managed to get that one little nugget about spending time together nestled between the lines of the comedy. You should be writing a book of little comedic devotions. Each one about a page long, filled with funny stuff, but having a clever take-away message for the reader. Then I could give that book to my friends and we'd have a little Christian fellowship...