"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Made Me Die Laughing!

Yesterday I took Michael to visit my grandparents (Mema and Pop) for a couple of hours and then we dropped by my parents' house for a while. A few years ago my mom was given a Grandmother's Journal: Your Cherished Memories in Your Own Words where you are asked questions - humorous and serious events, life lessons about your growing-up years, your family life and on through school, dating, the wedding, your spouse, your house, children and so forth. Mama said she started it four years ago when she was in South Carolina one summer. (Prior to my grandparents moving up here - which will be exactly one year this Sunday, July 18 - she would often go down to their house for a few weeks in the summer to spend time with them and help them out.)

In this April 17, 2010 photo taken at Daniel's house, Pop looks on as Michael gives Mema a lesson on identifying characteristics of Lego men in her ongoing quest to know, "Is this a good or bad guy?" This is a lesson she often gets when Mike and I visit Mema at their apartment. Lucky her! :)

So the summer of 2006 she had this book and decided to work on filling out some of the two-hundred pages detailing stories from her life. She was recently cleaning out her walk-in closet and came across this journal, realized it wasn't quite complete and finished writing in all but maybe two entries. Anyway....she told me to take it to my sister when I dropped off Michael. Since Michael is her only grandchild and this is "Grandmother's Journal" it was for him when he grew to appreciate it. I decided first I wanted to read it so I brought it home with me. Read interesting tidbits about memories she has of her own parents and grandparents and also her growing up years in the Sahara region of Africa - mostly in Nigeria. My mom attended boarding school six hundred miles from her parents and she had many good stories to share about life with other missionary children. I laughed at many of her recollections especially when she said in high school she took a sewing class from a German teacher and managed to make a "lopsided dress." Also I enjoyed details of her and two friends dressing up as the three little kittens for Halloween, having a pet chameleon in a cage, having a "girls gang" that hid treasure and made complicated maps for the boys to find the treasure, playing games, learning silly songs....really, I was impressed at how creative and fun it all sounded. So much better than playing video games and watching television** that most kids seem to do today! I loved the stories about her favorite "family day" trips in Africa - to the beach, or Bower Tower for picnics, zoo trips in Ibadan, swimming in Green Springs. Also I enjoyed reading of their time in Europe among the friendly Dutch people and how the chef and waiters at one restaurant enjoyed their friendly, fun family so much, they sent out cupcakes with happy faces for dessert "compliments of the chef."

But I didn't really cackle or as my friend Samer would put it "laugh to death" until I read page 103 about a humorous incident from my parents' wedding. First, my parents were married in a conservative Baptist church in conservative Greenville in conservative South Carolina in the conservative South. Annnnnd back when they married - 1973 - conservative men just didn't wear beards. Now things have changed a great deal, but back then it was a bit...oooohh, probably hippie-ish to have a beard and long hair.

Enter my grandfather's brother - Uncle Don - from California. (You know how those Californians are!) Arrived at the wedding to sing. Yet, oh no...he had a beard and long hair! (Not sure, but likely "long hair" meant it touched his collar! *gasp*)

Mama said her wedding director is the one who brought this to her attention. And said wedding director had a possible solution!

Here is the entry. Likely you won't find it so funny, but it just struck me as hilarious when I read it last night on the porch.

"My Uncle Don showed up to sing with a full beard and long hair, which just wasn't done in my church. The wedding director offered to hide him behind some shrubbery, which she managed to do. I think my uncle felt snubbed, and I felt bad for him."

First you must know my mom is a non-confrontational person. She's so laid-back and easy going and sweet. So unlike her feisty, unpredictable, often argumentative first born child (that'd be me). And I know her wedding director so, it's not surprising that my mom just quietly agreed to let Mrs. S have her way. Especially when my mom was, ohhhh, just a little preoccupied with having to get married in a short while! The whole hiding someone behind shrubbery just made me giggle. You all know I like to visualize things so I am imagining some bearded guy standing to the side of the church with Wedding Director making sure this fake shrubbery covers him sufficiently. Why do I find this so funny?!

Something else I read recently that made me laugh. Our local paper runs a "Dear Amy" column. It's similar to "Dear Abby" or "Dear Ann Landers" only it's Amy who does this advice column. Recently she didn't run her normal readers' questions/comments followed by her own answers/comments. She just ran about 10 comments she'd received and let them sort of speak for themselves. You can click here to read more of them if you want. But here is the one that made me smile for some reason.

DEAR AMY: Why do people always tell single women to "volunteer" when they are lonely for a relationship? Such a thoughtless suggestion. Other stupid suggestions -- join a church, make new friends, travel, get a hobby.

What the heck do any of those things have to do with wanting a committed relationship? I am always tempted to sarcastically retort, "Fine, you join a book club and I'll take your husband." -- Tired

** I saved this stat from the paper. I read it back in May of this year.
Americans watch 58 hours 29 minutes of TV per week
black households 78 hours 44 minutes


Amber said...

*snort* I found this whole post funny. From the caption under the photo of Michael explaining the finer points of identifying the loyalties of Lego men to *your* grandparents. And how awesome is it that you still have your grandparents!

I did find the wedding story funny, but more in the 'oh, those wacky Baptists!' sort of way. ;) Especially considering that the majority of Orthodox priests had longish hair and beards...I just had this picture of the wedding coordinator trying to hide a priest behind the shrubbery...

Wafa said...

beautiful post. And the idea of writing your journal is always amazing. It's going to be a look back at the world from a normal person's eyes. I used to have some but then stopped. Maybe i should start back again.
This is going to be great memory for Michael :)

Susanne said...

Amber, well! Well...I found your whole comment funny! :-D Yes, isn't the thought that in MANY societies/cultures the *religious* men wear beards ...my mom and I actually discussed the silliness of this yesterday when we thought of Amish,Jewish and Muslim men wearing beards. And, yes, even Orthodox Christians as you stated. Too funny when I consider the scenario you mentioned about the priest! :-D

Yeah, it's nice to still have grandparents. They are surely sweet! :)

Glad you enjoyed the post. :)

Susanne said...

Wafa', thank you! Yes, I think you should continue writing your journal. You can leave it to someone in the family who would appreciate the history of his/her ancestors especially through the eyes of woman who lived at this time. Years from now this special recipient could read it and see how society has changed or stayed the same. I think it would fascinating!

I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks much for leaving a comment, too. :)

Lat said...

Oh I love this! You're so blessed to have your grandparents and learn from their life experience ,Alhamdulillah! Your grandparents look wonderful and awfully nice!MashaAllah!

I didn't have this chance except from my maternal grandmother.And that was nothing much.she died just before I turned 10.So all I remember was her being so sick and when she was well,she cooked pretty good.And I had to learn a lot of stories about her from others.It would have been fabulous if she had kept a jounal.But unfortunately ladies of the past do not have this hobby.Hhhmmm...neither do I :) But I keep lots of notes.So whoever inherits them from me have lots of mind-blogging and out of the world stuff to read :)

It's amazing to read about your mother's wedding and learn 1st hand about your parents happiest moment of their lives! What a treasure that is! May God bless your grandparents and parents much of everything they deserve and more!Ameen!

Susanne said...

Lat, thank you for your sweet and enthusiastic comment! :) I loved it!

Yes, your descendants will have "lots of mind-blogging and out of the world stuff to read." LOVE that! Ha, ha!

Thank you for your kind words. :)