WHILE traveling in the United States, we were passed by a
large station wagon. The rear seat was full of children, and up front with the parents
were more youngsters. As the car went by, we saw its license plate: YYYY.
PLAYING the game Trivial Pursuit with my family one evening,
the question read to my 82-year-old grandfather was: "What's the most intelligent
creature on Earth after man?" With little hesitation, he replied, "By
gosh, it must be woman."
Stan was seconds away from receiving a vasectomy when his brother
and sister-in-law barged in holding their newborn baby.
"Stop! You can't do this!" exclaimed the brother.
"And why not?" asked Stan.
"Don't you want to have a beautiful baby someday like my wife and
I have here?"
Stan said nothing.
The brother grew impatient, "C'mon Stan, I want a nephew. Stan,
make me an uncle."
Stan couldn't take it anymore. He gave his sister-in-law an apologetic look and asked his brother, "You're sure you want a
"Yes," the brother replied. "It would be an honor."
"Well congratulations, you're holding him."
A YOUNG boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his
father, who was a minister, if they could discuss his use of the car. His father said to him, "I'll make a deal with you.
You bring your grades up, study the bible a little, and get your hair cut; then we'll talk about it."
A month later the boy came back and again asked his father if he could use the car. His father said, "Son, I'm really proud
of you. You brought your grades up, studied the bible well, but you didn't get your hair cut!"
The young man waited a moment and then replied, "You know dad, I've been thinking about that. Samson had long hair, Moses had
long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair."
His father replied, "Yes son, and they walked everywhere they went.
Two women came before wise King Solomon, dragging between
them a young man in a three-piece suit.
"This young lawyer agreed to marry my daughter,"
"No! He agreed to marry MY daughter," said the
And so they haggled before the King until he called for
"Bring me my biggest sword," said Solomon,
"and I shall hew the young attorney in half. Each of you shall receive a half."
"Sounds good to me," said the first lady.
But the other woman said, "Oh Sire, do not spill
innocent blood. Let the other woman's daughter marry him."
The wise king did not hesitate a moment. "The attorney
must marry the first lady's daughter," he proclaimed.
"But she was willing to hew him in two!" exclaimed
the king's court.
"Indeed," said wise King Solomon. "That shows
she is the TRUE mother-in-law."
Whenever your kids are out of control, you
can take comfort
from the thought that even God's omnipotence did not extend to God's kids. After creating
heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing He said to them
"Don't what?", Adam replied.
"Don't eat the forbidden fruit.", God said.
We got forbidden fruit? Hey, Eve...we
got Forbidden Fruit!"
"Don't eat that fruit!" said God.
"Because I'm your Creator and I said so!", said God, wondering why he hadn't
stopped after making the elephants. A few minutes later God saw the kids having an
apple break and was angry.
"Didn't I tell you not to eat that fruit?", The
first parent asked.
"Uh huh," Adam replied.
"Then why did you?"
"I dunno," Eve answered.
"She started it!", Adam said.
Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was that
Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it has never
changed. But there is a reassurance in this story. If you have persistently and lovingly
tried to give them wisdom and they haven't taken it, don't be hard on yourself. If God had
trouble handling children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?
AFTER a series of once-a-week cleaning women, I was convinced
that I would never find anyone who could satisfy the scanty needs of our very casual
household. Then I discovered Maggie. At the end of her first day, our house
glistened, until our three boys and their pals came home from school. They trooped through
the house, strewing their books and sports paraphernalia everywhere, before settling in
the kitchen where they began making sandwiches, as well as a mess. Maggie was obviously
taken aback. I handed her her cheque and asked if she would come back the following week.
"I will," Maggie answered hesitantly, "if you promise not to tell anyone
who does your cleaning."
MY HUSBAND was delivering an old typewriter donated to our
local mission. Unable to open the door, he stepped back and saw a large sign that read:
DOOR STICKS. PULL HARD. Tugging energetically on the door handle, my husband still met
with no success so he placed his foot against the building and pulled with all his
strength. Just after the doorknob came off in his hand, he spotted a smaller sign: CLOSED
I WORKED in a city more than 100 kilometers from home. Rather
than commute every day, I frequently stayed over, then joined my wife at our home on the
weekends. One time, my wife decided to surprise me. She telephoned the hotel where I was
registered and asked the desk clerk to tell me she was coming to spend the night. She
would arrive in time for dinner. As luck would have it, we both reached the hotel entrance
at 5 p.m. After kissing and embracing, we headed arm in arm into the hotel. The desk clerk
ran up to me. "Get rid of that woman," she whispered frantically. "Your
wife is in town!"
"OUR child is first in his class," said the proud
mother. "I think a reward is due." "Certainly," said the father.
"What should it be?" "I'd like a diamond," she said.
WHEN my two sisters and I go out together, people often
remark how much we look alike, even though there's a year and a half between each of us.
We're used to the comments, but one day we were taken aback when the stewardess on
a plane we were boarding asked, "Are you three twins?"
WE HELD a large family reunion when my mother was 88 years
old, with grandchildren and great-grandchildren attending. The talk turned to
honey-moons, and my three daughters began to tell about their trips to Las Vegas, Chicago
and Niagara Falls. One of my daughters turned to my mother. "Grandma,
where did you go on your honeymoon?" she asked. Mother didn't hesitate.
"Upstairs!" she said.
I CALLED my daughter long-distance just to say hello. She had
had a particularly rough day with her two boys, then aged nine months and three years.
When I asked her how she was, she replied wearily, "I don't know, Mom. I
keep hoping I'm just the baby-sitter and that their parents will come home soon."
MY CHILDREN, who had forgotten to shop for Mother's Day,
presented me with a homemade card. The contrite message read: "We know you
deserve the very best, Mom. But we're glad you kept us anyway." It is a
card I will never throw away.
AFTER our two sons had showered and gone to bed, my wife went
into the bathroom to tidy it up. She came out shaking her head. "I just
don't understand it!" she complained. "The boys can throw a basketball
through a little hoop all day, but they can't hit the laundry hamper with their dirty
clothes." A protesting voice was heard from our sons' bedroom. "Mom, did
you ever try to dribble a pair of socks?"
OUR daughter was filling us in on her date the night before.
They had driven to a neighbouring city for dinner. When her father asked her where
the restaurant was located, she said, "You know, I really can't tell you. I was
enjoying the ride, the company and the scenery, and all of a sudden we were there."
"I understand perfectly," her father said. "That's exactly how your
mother and I arrived at middle age!"
AS a child, a friend of ours used to think how different his
parents were from married people in stories. They didn't say sweet things to each other,
and he never saw them kiss. "I used to feel pretty desolate about it," he said,
"until one spring when the dam broke and our little valley filled up. It was a
wild night, and I was put in the attic for safekeeping. Finally, I got so scared
that I just had to look out the window. I couldn't see anything until the lightning
split the dark. Then I saw my dad and my mom -- up to their thighs in swirling water
-- walking with their heads down against the wind, shoulder to shoulder. Mother had
an armful of frightened chicks she'd rescued from the hen house. Dad was carrying a
newborn lamb in his arms. That was the picture I saw for a fraction of a second.
Never again did I worry about them not acting like loving couples in the movies.
I knew that what they had was something far stronger."
AFTER a long day at work, my friend and I drove 65 kilometres
to attend a swim meet with our teenage sons. On the way home our conversation was
constantly interrupted as the three boys became louder and sillier in the backseat.
"Stop it! You're driving me crazy!" I finally yelled at them.
"Why do you do that?" My 15-year-old instantly answered, "It's our
AFTER World War II, there were still food shortages and
rationed items in Britain, so my mother sent parcels of canned food to relatives in
England and Wales. After my parents' marriage in 1948, she also began to send
parcels at Christmas to my father's Uncle Harry. Twenty-one years later my mother
visited most of these relatives in the old country. While at Uncle Harry's she was
astonished when he proudly opened a cupboard in which was every Christmas food parcel she
had sent, still in its original wrapping. He said he was saving them in case they
were really needed!
AUNT KAREN is the mother of two high-spirited young girls.
When I called her one morning, our conversation was constantly interrupted by the
din of kids screaming and chasing each other. "Could you hold on for a
moment?" my aunt finally asked, putting the phone down. Within ten seconds all
I could hear was absolute silence. Then, "Okay, I'm back." "But
it's so quiet!" I exclaimed. "You must have complete control over those
two." "Not really," my aunt confessed wearily. "I'm in the
WHEN my parents and I moved to our new house, I chose to make
the basement my "apartment." I had just started a full-time job and most
of my waking hours were spent working, going out with friends, and relaxing in my basement
solitude. After one particularly brutal day, I drove home, muttered hello to my
mother and went downstairs to unwind. It never occurred to me that I was being
antisocial until, six hours later when I went to get a snack, my mother asked,
"Coming up for air?" "Food," I mumbled. "Is that 'for
here,' or 'to go'?" she asked.
SHE was ten years old. Her rabbit teeth had yet to be
straightened, her face had yet to become beautiful. She was so tiny she looked
younger than her age. Her brother, a year older, large, boisterous and frequently
exasperated with his dumb little sister, had taken her shopping. They burst in
shining and cold from the wintry weather rumbling with suppressed excitement.
"What did you buy, Erica?" I asked. She hugged a secret smile to her,
"I bought you a diamond, Mommy." "A what? A rhinestone, you
mean? Not a real diamond." "Oh it's real all right, it's got a
guarantee, and everything," burst out the brother. "Me and Neil had to
wait half an hour while she bought the dumb thing. She had to get the manager.
He acted like she was a queen, took her through the vault and showed her all the
diamonds." "But you only had three dollars." "No, I
didn't, Mommy. I took my savings - I had over eight dollars." "What
kind of diamond can you get for eight dollars?" The envelope was produced and
carefully unwrapped. There, protected by plastic, was the tiniest diamond I'd ever
seen and a receipt for $8.77. It took numerous jewellers and $72 before that diamond
chip was safely clasped in a ring. But it was worth it.
I WAS going away for a few days and left my husband a list of
chores. For fun, I put down as Item 5: Think about your wife a lot. After I
returned, my husband proudly reported that he had completed every job. When I saw
the list, however, each item except No. 5 had been crossed off. "What's
this!" I exclaimed. "Didn't you think about me while I was gone?"
My chagrin vanished when he replied cheerfully, "I started to, but just never
AFTER a very hectic day, my husband came up behind me, put
his arms around me and said, "Happiness is being married to you." Not
really paying attention, I muttered, "Okay, honey." Later he asked me if I
remembered what he had said, and was disappointed when I didn't. "All right,
then," I retorted, trying to get even. "What was the nicest thing I ever
said to you?" "I do," he answered without the slightest hesitation.
TELEPHONING my daughter one afternoon, I first got her
husband on the line. "What are you doing?" I asked. "Oh, just
cooking some spaghetti and making a salad," he replied. I told him what a prize
he was to help out around the house, and then asked to speak with my daughter. "Can
she call you back?" he said. "I hate to interrupt her." He
paused. "She's . . . uh . . mowing the lawn."
OVER the summer holidays, my sister-in- law asked her son to
"make do" with some hand-me-down sneakers which were slightly large for him.
However, as promised, just before school started, she bought him new running shoes.
When asked how they felt, his face beamed as he answered: "Just great, Mom.
When I walk, they walk right with me."
I WAS reading the letters-to-the-editor column in a sewing
magazine and couldn't resist exclaiming to my husband, "Listen to this! A man
writes in to say that his wife is the vice president of a local bank and he makes all her
clothes! Wouldn't you like to make me something?" After a moment's
thought, my husband said in a weak voice, "Would you like a cup of hot tea?"
WHILE baby-sitting his ten children, my brother-in-law became
frustrated at mealtime when his youngest child, still in the high chair, repeatedly threw
his food on the floor, bowl and all. But Mark solved the problem. He nailed a
plastic cereal bowl to the high-chair leaf.
VAL, my daughter, and her husband, Don, were house-sitting at
her aunt's while she was away. Val arrived at the house late one day after her classes,
intending to meet Don. Although her key unlocked the dead bolt, she discovered the
door knob lock was pushed in, and she didn't have the key for that one. Two hours
and $40 later, a locksmith opened the door. Finally, after all the hubbub, Val walked in -
and found Don asleep on the sofa.
MY MOTHER had forgotten to take her medicine to her bedroom.
The next morning she called to my father, who was downstairs at the time, to please
bring her a pill and water. Dad looked extremely puzzled as he dutifully carried up
a pail of water.
MY MOTHER was cleaning house for some soon-to-arrive guests
and was trying to get a little help from the kids. She turned to my 12-year-old brother
and asked, "Would you like to A: take out the garbage; B: take out the dog; or C:
vacuum the dining room?" Without skipping a beat, my brother replied, "D:
none of the above."
THE generation gap seems to come up often in this day and
age. We notice it in our house, especially with a teenager learning metric while his
father and I still use the "old-fashioned way." This was most evident one
evening at our summer cabin. My husband and I were sitting on the deck overlooking
the lake watching our son trying to catch a fish. After about an hour, he landed
one. Calling out, my husband asked how large it was. There was dead silence, and
just as I was about to ask the same question, our son replied: "About as big as a
size seven running shoe!"
EVERY Sunday my sister calls long-distance from California to
talk to our 79-year-old parents. Once when she asked how Dad was, Mother said,
casually, "I think something's wrong with him. He's sitting in the living room
without anything on." "Nothing on?" my sister repeated, concerned.
"Yes," Mother replied. "He's got the TV off, the radio off and
the record player off."
I LIVED at home before I was married, and got along just fine
with my parents. They took an interest in my social life and always welcomed my
friends into their home. Mother, however, occasionally had trouble sleeping, so one
morning after I had been out particularly late the night before, I asked her if the noise
I made coming in had disturbed her. "No," she replied. "The
noise didn't bother me last night, but the silence did."
A LONG line of cars was ahead of us at the drive-in window of
the bank, and my 18-month-old daughter, tired of waiting, began to fuss and cry. All
my efforts to quiet her failed. At last it was our turn and I drove up to the
window. "Hello," the teller called out cheerfully. "May I help
you?" My daughter stopped crying and piped up hopefully, "Fries?"
WHEN my wife and I want to discuss treats in front of our
three-year-old son, we often spell out words to avoid a confrontation. A friend
commented that this was an admission of being unable to say no to the child. I felt
duly chastised until he dropped by with his child, our son's playmate, and asked,
"Would your first born care to accompany my offspring to our abode for the purpose of
DURING a visit to my parents, my mother began to quiz me on
my current boyfriends. "Just what kind of man are you interested in?" she
finally asked. I pointed to my father and said, "Like him -- with a few minor
modifications." Dad grinned triumphantly. "It's taken me thirty
years to modify that one," Mom responded. "It doesn't come in a twenty-six
MY HUSBAND and I once lived in the Yukon with our two very
boisterous small children. We were there when the territory was rocked by an
earthquake in 1958. My husband was working in the basement, and watched in utter
astonishment when he saw the huge wooden beams that supported the house actually moving.
His immediate reaction was to yell up the stairs: "What are those two kids
A WIDOWER was courting a friend of mine. His
daughter-in-law phoned him weekly, always asking, "Well, how are things going?"
And he would always say, "I had dinner at Marge's last night, and she had
dinner at my house the night before." During one such call, the daughter-in-law
said, "Well, Dad, I've heard of platonic affairs, and I've heard of illicit affairs.
But until now I have never heard of a culinary affair."
FOR several years my husband and I have made a conscientious
effort to get our family to eat more - healthful meals and snacks. The children often
express their discontent with this. One day I returned from grocery shopping and our
17-year-old son started to unpack the bags. "Oh, no!" he exclaimed, pulling out
paper towels in a new earth-tone shade. "Whole-wheat towels!"
SEAN, my 25-year-old son, was riding his bicycle when he was
hit by a car and injured. At the hospital, X rays showed a fractured cheekbone and a
badly broken wrist, which could not be set without an operation. He was heavily
sedated and temporarily settled in bed. Shortly, a pretty young nurse came into his
room with a three-page form to fill out. My son answered her questions as best he
could under the circumstances. Finally the nurse asked, "Sean, is there
anything else we should know about you that would be important?" He turned
slowly to look at her out of his one good eye and mumbled, "Yes, I'm single."
WHILE going through some of my children's old scrapbooks, I
came across a passage on King Arthur written by my son. One sentence caught my eye:
"Guinevere was married to King Arthur but she ran away and made love to Sir Lance