Monday, February 27, 2012

Exact Words

By Paul Dugan, Groovy Reflections Team Member

Remember that episode of the Brady Bunch where Greg gets grounded and told he can't drive the family car? So, he drives someone else's car instead, and he's caught. He tells Mom and Dad that “your exact words were that I couldn't drive your car, and I didn't”. Now most parents would have exploded, but Carol and Mike simply say okay, if you want to live by exact words; that's what we'll do! Of course Greg finds it nearly impossible to live by his exact words and learns a valuable lesson!

I am here to report that fortunately my Mother never saw that episode, or I would have spent the better part of my adolescence learning “valuable lessons”!

For example, Mom and Dad tended to throw “adult” parties from time to time, which meant we children were banished to our upstairs bedrooms for the duration. The parties would get rather raucous ‘til a little before midnight when they quieted down considerably, then about fifteen minutes later a new group arrived and things got rolling again!

Those parties went ‘til the wee hours of the morning. Mom and Dad were in no mood to get up the next morning, let alone clean. Instructions were left for us kids to clean up. The benefit to us? We got to eat all the leftover snacks we wanted!

As we got older we also discovered more creative ways to empty the glasses as well, but that's another story entirely. We could have all the food we wanted, treats we could never seem to get enough of, except for Mom’s favorite brand of cheese crackers.  She left specific instructions; they were to be placed on her bureau.

The next afternoon following one of the parties, sitting in the living room with Dad and Sis we heard Mother bellow “who left these crackers on my bureau?” I calmly replied “I did Mom, you told me too”. At that point, I didn't think it possible, but Mom's voice rose several decibels as she screamed “Where the hell is the box?” “But Mom, you didn't say you wanted that.” Dad and Sis left the room so Mom wouldn't see them laughing! Never saw smoke come out of someone's ears before without use of a cigarette!

There were many more “exact words” incidents. One time I was told to draw the shades. Now an artist I'm not, but I thought the picture came out very nice! Or the time Mom ate a grapefruit in the living room and asked me to take the dish to the kitchen. Never said anything about the grapefruit rind!

And then there was the ice water incident. Mom liked her ice water and we kids were usually sent to fetch it. Okay, it's Mom; she deserved having us wait on her but the part that really got me was every time she asked, without fail, we also got instructions on how to make it! You wouldn't think it very hard but Mom had to tell us every time, “Be sure to fill the glass as full as you can with ice then put the water in”!

One day, in the middle of winter she handed me her glass and gave the instructions. I took the glass, went on to the front porch, snapped a four foot icicle off the eaves and crammed it into the glass and trickled a little water down the side and served her! This time she saw the humor in it and laughed and I'd like to tell you she never told me how to make ice water again!

However, she apparently didn't have much faith in our education system and continued to tell me and tell me!

That was a long time ago but it's fun to look back on the memories of our childhood. We lost Mom a few years back and I can honestly say I really wouldn't mind hearing those instructions one more time.