What with Thanksgiving approaching, it’s time once again to be thankful for those small things out of the mouths of babes, of adults, and adult babes:

Like the various fiascos and vacuous rebellions of Miley Cyrus and that Jackson girl at the superbowl, I’m writing about a specific day when our own Daddy had a serious malfunction with his mouth.    One might assume he was ahead of his time back in the mid-50’s, for he too couldn’t keep it closed in front of an audience.    Now Daddy wasn’t a rebel, but he certainly had his share of fiascos.

As I mentioned briefly before in a previous post about growing up in Edgewood Cottage, Sundays were especially nice as the whole family would eat in the flowery wallpapered dining room after church instead of eating in the old kitchen with its chips of paint hanging from the ceiling.    But unfortunately, those were also the times before  Daddy finally had his hernia operation.

His hernia took precedence over everything.    In particular, he would forget to, or choose not to, close or cover his mouth when sneezing, because both of his hands would be holding in what apparently was his prize hernia to keep it from popping out and taking a walk.

Gol Darnit…can’t you see I haf ‘ta hold in my hernia?

An excuse on most occasions. 

I remember like it was yesterday…that, in the midst of eating our dinner, he did one of those “ah – aH – AH…” thingy’s, with his nose arching towards the ceiling.    Not far below it was his open mouth displaying a very large number of peas.

In horror we could only gawk at the ascent of an inevitable and unavoidable volcanic crescendo.    We didn’t have time to duck or to brace ourselves.

UH-oh … here it comes … WAIT FOR IT…

“… ah – CHOO!”


Me and my siblings in the line of fire.    There was no time to duck and cover.

“Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold,
peas porridge out-o-the-pot,
(in this case)
half-chewed and old.”

                                                                                               (old nursery rhyme readapted)

Green peaballs spit-fired in the air, rained and rolled everywhere —- on the white tablecloth, in our plates, our hair, or bouncing in other serving dishes.    We were pick’n peas out of everything and trying to separate his from ours — except nobody could tell which peas in the mix were his or ours.

Of course afterwards Daddy’s hands were still holding in his side when, in self-defense, he whined that he couldn’t cover his mouth because he had to hold in his hernia.    PUL-LEEZE, how many hands does it take to hold in a hernia?    I mean, Daddy was the one who taught me the dexterity of how to rub my stomach with one hand and simultaneously pat my head with the other.    Why couldn’t he have applied that same principle to himself and barricaded his peas?

As Daddy surveyed the damage, I suggested (having been the closest to him in line of projectiles), that IF he could NOT keep his mouth shut when sneezing, he could AT LEAST use one hand to cover his mouth, and the other to hold himself in!    For all the logic I espoused, he still had a failure to register its simplicity.     I don’t know how that snafu could have occurred because he wasn’t deaf when I spoke it.

The peashooter’s embarrassment wasn’t over.     He had to watch us pick at our food while enduring a little further fire of verbal wisdom from Mom:

Just WHEN are you going to get this hernia thing taken care of L______d ?!    You CAN’T ignore the fact that you better get it fixed.   You’ve nursed it far TOO long.

Then there was another time one of my siblings didn’t know whether to laugh or swallow a mouth full of white rice mixed with a swig of tea. A word to the wise: to avoid nasty consequences, swallow.

And get your hernia fixed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *