Two performances of the Elves and the Shoemaker down and two to go.
Having such a lot of fun!
Wish you were here . . .
|Dad (left). Mom (right).|
As most parents, I am sure, are wont to do, my folks tried to get us kids to eat our vegetables. Now you must understand that (and this is something that medical science has yet to discover) the vegetable thermostat doesn't kick in on most people until they are about 18 or 20 years old or so I don't remember not liking vegetables particularly, but I do remember the encouragement that we would get to eat them. Of course, there were all of the regular reasons that parents everywhere use: "eat your vegetables, they are good for you"; or, "eat your peas and potatoes or your ears will fall off" (you know, all the 'scare' tactics). But I think the most novel reason that I have ever heard from anyone for eating a vegetable came from Dad. Now most parents know, from some deep intuitive sense, that eating carrots is good for the eyesight (have you ever seen a rabbit with glasses?), and never fail to let their kids know that if they want to able to see well, they should be sure to eat their carrots. But Dad's took the cake (so to speak). Dad wasn't content stop there - I distinctly remember him telling me one evening that if I ate all of my carrots, I would be able to see THROUGH hills in the dark, that's how much eating carrots would improve my eyesight. I remember the odd variation on the theme, like the time when I challenged the claim (I must have been maybe 6 or 7 at the time), so Dad relented and admitted that it wasn't really true - I would only be able to see OVER hills in the dark if I would eat my carrots. It worked. I still like carrots. And I am still trying to see either over or through hills. No luck. At least not yet.
Dad could not resist a joke - and the drier the humour, the better, to his mind. I remember two jokes in particular that really epitomize, I think, Dad's brand of humour. The first joke went something like this: What is grey, stands on the top of cliffs, has four legs and is furry, howls at the moon, and is full of cement? Answer: A coyote. The cement was to make it harder. The second joke shows his wry sense of humour, and goes something like this: A hog farmer started feeding saw-dust to his hogs, and found that he could save all sorts of money on hog feed by doing this. One day a neighbor stopped by at feeding time and noticed that the farmer was spreading out saw-dust for his hogs to eat. "Hey", says the neighbor, "is that saw-dust that you are feeding your hogs there?" "Sure is", replies the farmer. "Well, that's really strange", says the neighbor; "Doesn't it take an awfully long time to fatten a hog on saw-dust?" "Sure does", replies the farmer; "But what's time to a hog?"
Speaking of animals, Dad had a favourite bit of humour that he had concocted from an animal disinfectant. Each fall, when the calves were branded, doctored and de-horned, Dad would always use a very strong disinfectant or antiseptic known as 'Creolin' to treat the wounds and prevent infection. As Dad was wont to do (poisonous though the stuff was, and we knew it), he would inevitably offer a swig to whoever was closest, which was alternatively all who were present. The offer was usually accompanied by the assurance: "It'll cure whatever ails you." And then Dad would snicker and grin his silly grin that always accompanied his joking. Now Mom really didn't like the smell of Creolin at all; like all disinfectants, it had a sharp, pungent smell that was not really pleasant, although not totally unpleasant. Dad ordered to the shower, post haste, whenever he came in the house smelling of the stuff. But it didn't stop there. Even when we weren't doctoring calves or anywhere near a bottle of Creolin, and someone would complain of a sore throat or some other such minor ailment, Dad's solution was always to "gargle with a bit of Creolin", or "soak it in some Creolin". For Dad - or at least for his joking - Creolin was the panacea that could cure all ills.
To be Continued . . .