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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)

TITLE: The Expense of Collecting Recollections
By Glenn A. Hascall
07/22/07


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“You … clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30:11 – NIV).

My sister hadn’t seen my son in several years yet she kept staring at him as we visited. She would often smile and sometimes outright guffaw at his antics. Of course, this only served to fuel his class clown mentality.

My daughter looked at me with limpid pools of pain as if to say, “Please would you stop him – he is ruining my life.”

Being a father of impeccable clarity of thought I simply ignored her pre-teen visual soliloquy.

My sister finally looked at me and said, “Your son reminds me so much of you.” She redirected her conversation to my wife, “If your children ever think that a slap fight is a good idea it’s a genetic malfunction from their father.”

Just then something tickled my son’s funny bone and he started to laugh. His laughter is one of those things that can’t be described, but is infectious and invites, nay insists, that others join in. The only holdout is my daughter who sees her brother as the most childish and embarrassing creature on the planet.

I’m glad my sister can remember what I was like because I don’t. Honestly I have no recollection of life prior to Junior High. Just bits and fragments of memories that I sometimes think are based on the memories others have shared. I’m not sure why this is the case, but my wife considers the link between my son’s behavior and my apparent class clown activity as a child to be valuable proof of – something.

About three years ago my family visited a favorite pizza place and consumed our fill. My children were trying their hand at one of those claw games when a lady came up to me and spoke my name. I turned to face the woman, but had no idea who she was. Then she said, “I was your Sunday school teacher many years ago.” I smiled in oblivion thinking that this must have given her a great memory to see one of her former students so many years later. Perhaps I shouldn’t have smiled.

She looked at my wife and said, “He was a brat.” Then the woman left the restaurant as the word ‘brat’ echoed through the establishment and everybody began to look at me and consider what I had done to this poor woman. If I knew I would apologize.

We left the restaurant.

My parents simply refer to my childhood as one that involved the word rambunctious. They never seem to indicate I was a handful. My wife thinks they simply got used to me.

Today my daughter, whom I am certain is meant to be a lawyer when she grows up, is convinced that the evidence points to a genetic predisposition to stupidity in the male line of children. She revealed an altogether fail-proof plan, “When I have children they are never going to act the way my brother does. They will not be allowed to have fun in public and they will not be allowed to do anything that would make people look at me funny.”

In one of my more brilliant responses as a parent I looked at her and said, “Good luck with that.”

At this point my daughter firmly believes she wants 12 children. She even knows that she would like one set of triplets and two sets of twins. Everything is clear-cut, black and white, without flexibility, and filled with unbending justice in her thought process at the moment.

My son is sort of a go-with-the-flow guy and doesn’t really worry about much of anything except how much milk we have left in the fridge.

So, it was a visit with my sister that convinced my family that I was, in fact, an embarrassment to them and that my son has apparently received an early inheritance.

“This explains so much,” my wife will say as she casts a devious grin at our son and me as we wrestle on the floor.

And if I look closely enough my daughter will be watching with a look that says, “I wonder if he will ever grow up.”

Not if I can help it.


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This article has been read 896 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/26/07
This was a "fun" read.
Marilee Alvey07/26/07
Thanks for sharing this story with us. Many of us have suffered under such. I had a brother, myself! I'd worry about your son, if I were you: sin visits to the sixth generation! LOL! You two sound a lot like the Three Stooges. Hopefully, they're on your forbidden viewing list and your wife has locked you out! Great story!
Dee Yoder 07/26/07
Yes, that Peter Pan gene seems to be dominant among the males of the species, for some reason. (Insert wry smile). I know many wives, daughters, and other women who would like to see it's influence become more recessive! (FYI, it draws us to the males, but after we get there, the magnetism of that gene wanes!)
Dixie Phillips 07/26/07
Oh yes, could I relate to your piece...... Thanks for the smiles you brought to me through your story.
Joanne Sher 07/27/07
Delightful writing - love the voice especially. I had quite a few giggles throughout.
Melanie Kerr 07/27/07
I also have a very faulty memory when it comes to childhood so I can sympathise with the not remembering what you did to the Sunday School teacher. I enjoyed the article.
Janice Cartwright07/27/07
Perhaps in SS you licked interesting patterns onto the windowpane glass, Swindoll style. Your teacher was my kinda' woman!
Benjamin Graber07/27/07
"She looked at my wife and said, “He was a brat.” "

Ha, that would be very embarrassing. I have to say that I am glad that's never happened to me... :-)
Enjoyable read!
Loren T. Lowery07/30/07
There was one or two things in this that I could identify with. Very amusing and enjoyable to read.
Sharlyn Guthrie07/30/07
Very humorous and fun account of family dynamics!
Betty Castleberry07/31/07
So she thinks she wants twelve children? She'll change her mind after the firt one.
This reminds of the long running column in Better Homes and Gardens. The author was a male and wrote about his family. I never missed it. Thank you for this very well done and entertaining read.
Jan Ackerson 08/01/07
I love the writing style here--a little bit quirky, and unpredictable. Lots of fun to read.
Sara Harricharan 08/01/07
Cute story! I like the daughter best of all, she reminds me...of me. lol. Good job with this. ^_^
Patty Wysong08/01/07
Having 3 sons that are carbon copies of their dad, I chuckled all through this!! Make sure your daughter talks to Mid about those 12 perfect children. lol. I really enjoyed this!! :-)
Kristen Hester08/01/07
My husband has few memories of his childhood also. I am always asking him if he acted like our son does now when he was younger. I think it's denial!

I enjoyed your story. I could relate. You voice and characters were real. Good job.