Mundane episodes jog childhood memories

Funny how some of the most mundane happenings in life can trigger rich memories of other, mundane at the time, happenings from the past. While I was on the front porch with my kids the other morning waiting for the school bus, the weather was foggy. Because I couldn’t see very far, closer objects seemed to take on greater clarity. My eyes became riveted on the closest porch pillar.

It’s the same kind as on the porch at my childhood home, but two inches wider. I recalled getting in trouble on a regular basis with my dad for my insistence on swinging around the pillars on my parents’ porch. While at the time I thought him incredibly unreasonable, as an adult, I recognize how precariously pillars are perched, more for show than support.

When I wasn’t porch pillar swinging, I was playing a game of “Mother, May I?” while my older sister and I waited for the bus. We two could only play the game when a cousin who lived up the road stayed overnight with our grandmother across the road. More players were needed.

The caller would try to trick the other players into moving or taking action without first asking permission. He/she would bark orders and attempt to startle us into action without askance. Sometimes a command as innocuous as “take three steps back” launched an unsuspecting contestant into reverse without first verifying permissibility. Gotcha!

I’m ashamed to admit we played that game day after day, without ever infusing any appreciably new material into it. There’d be the predictable commands to walk, hop, skip and jump, as well as the gross ones, including, “Mother says pick your nose” or “wiggle your rump” or “eat your earwax.” They served the dual purpose of preparing us for the later teen game of, “Truth or Dare.”

Overall, the Mother May I game was as tame as it was lame. It just made the time pass more quickly. I seriously doubt I will someday find myself on my deathbed saying, “I sure wish I’d spent more time playing Mother, May I.” It wasn’t that meaningful.

Game playing is not my only remnant from childhood. Sometimes I still behave like a child or at least with childish carelessness. Left unsupervised, I heathenly drink out of the milk jug or throw something at a wastebasket, miss the shot, then neglect to retrieve and correct my misfire. I even tracked mud all over my own clean rugs the other day.

Also childish are my clumsy attempts to engage in lunch trades with people at work. They do little to boost my popularity. Colleagues usually politely decline when they learn all I have to offer is a Spam and Swiss cheese sandwich with banana peppers and mustard on whole wheat bread. Their loss, to be sure.

There are times when I engage in semi-dangerous behavior, such as when I nearly rear-ended a semi-truck on the highway while I was retrieving an item from the backseat of my car. It was the mini-legal pad in the pocket behind the driver’s seat. Ever try to grab something from that pocket and accidentally knock it onto the backseat floor? It leads to steering with your knees while your hand hopelessly gropes for the item perfectly out of reach.

But this particular time, I managed to knock the mini-legal pad onto the backseat of my car. Visually guided by the rearview mirror, I reached back and touched the edge of the notepad, but could not get a grip on it. Just short of screaming in frustration, I caught my sleeve on something behind me and couldn’t get my arm disengaged.

The scene was reminiscent of  the classic “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” movie scene with John Candy driving down the highway at night with Steve Martin as his dozing passenger. Candy attempts to slip off his coat while driving, but ends up getting both sleeves caught. No hands on the wheel. To avoid that bad, I lowered my seat backwards while highway driving so I could reach my notepad and snagged it the first try. Didn’t bother to ask, “Mother, May I?” because I already knew the answer.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kileem Al Lishmiin
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 15:05:26

    spam, spam, spam, spam;
    spam, spam, spam, spam;

    -Ad nauseum


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