When the day comes for Hannah to marry and have children of her own, she will likely tell them all about her parents many “charming eccentricities.” She will pass along to them the humorous tales of our quirks and the accumulated treasure of one-liners which makes up our family’s many “inside jokes.” For us, these have been gleaned from favorite movies, sermons, books, and assorted other sources. They bind us together with the commonality of a shared sense of humor.
Growing up, my family was no different. My father’s sense of humor was “legend.” He used his favorite sayings often and they were always met with groans of “DAAAAD!” from his three progeny. Below, I have included just a few of the many we heard as we trod our path from infancy to adulthood.
Father, I hope you are listening from Heaven.
“Welcome to the adult world.” I hated hearing this one. It meant that he thought I was whining and he was telling me to grow up!
“You can’t get there from here.” His response to problems with no immediately presentable solution, or if he wanted to tell you that it just couldn’t be done (that way).
“I love life and I want to live.” There is a song by this name which my Dad sang (or threatened to sing) often. It is an annoying little ditty of sappy sentimentality which we all hated. This is, of course, why he sang it so often with such delight!
“I don’t understand all I know about this.” Equivalent to his scratching his head as he pondered various options–or wanting you to think he was (pondering), because he already knew the answer.
“Beautimus.” Technically taken from my sister who supposedly originated this phrase. He used it to express pleasure for an appreciated object or event.
“Oh, nertz….Oy vey….Judas Priest!“ Raised a good Baptist, four letter words were not an option. These were his acceptable alternatives.
“She had an hourglass figure, and it was about 11:30 at night.” All right, so this probably needs no explanation. Usually applied to those women who drifted towards the “battle-axe” end of the spectrum–primarily in personality, but with the physical attributes to match.
“This is NOT a gymnasium.” Need I tell you what we were doing that elicited this response? Are there children anywhere who don’t jump on the furniture?
“Learn to suffer, kid.” See number 1.
“My mother didn’t give me that much money.” (Or the variant, “My mother works third shift at the foundry.”) Used when presented with a bill and he wanted to make a statement about the cost. Or conversely, as a means of making a clerk, waiter, or waitress laugh.
“That questions my answer.” Invariably, people would give my dad a puzzled look, not always sure if he had inadvertently swapped his words around, or he was actually joking about the fact that their answer didn’t clear things up one bit.
“Are you bragging or complaining?” My father’s oh-so-subtle (or not) approach to telling you that he “had your number.”
And last, but not least:
“If you know, then why don’t you do?” I can’t count how many times I must have told my dad, “I know, Dad!” and he countered with this phrase.
Certainly not an exhaustive list, but enough to give you an idea of what I had to put up with as a child. I know, you all feel so sorry for me. . .
Growing up with laughter in my family was an incredible blessing. What I wouldn’t give to hear my father say any of these,
Just one more time. . .
Copyright © 2012 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved
(A special thanks to my sister, Ruth, for her invaluable help in compiling this list. As she told me, “It all comes back to you complete with the right inflections once you see it, right?”)