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What are you thinking of?

For every family there are things that happen that are remembered for a lifetime. I would venture to say that every one of us has done something, maybe as a child, that was surprisingly unacceptable to others, or was so funny that it will likely never be forgotten.

In my family, whenever we get together we re-live those events in our minds, and it provides lots of laughter for us. Most of the events were not necessarily humorous when they happened, like the time I etched the Brownie Scout Promise into the surface of our dining room table. Daddy has brought that story up about 100 times throughout my life. It must have been a very special memory to him. That etching was still on that table until about 40 years after it happened. He did finally sand down the surface of that old oak table so that the Brownie Promise was no longer visible.

When I was about four years old, some of our relatives came to visit us while we were living in Iowa. Among the visitors were my grandmother, Uncle Ray and Aunt Katherine, and two of my cousins, Herbert and David. Uncle Ray had just purchased a new car. It was a light green Chevrolet. I remember to this day just what it looked like.

My cousin, David, and I were born the same year, but my birthday is in January and his is in December, so he is almost a year younger. I’m not sure who’s idea this was, but the two of us got our heads together and we began exploring the area and found some tree roots that had just recently been pulled from the ground, and the dirt around the roots were still moist. David and I dragged the tree roots onto the roof of Uncle Ray’s brand new car. When the family came out to see what we were doing, for some reason someone started yelling.

Uncle Ray will be 100 years old in October, and to this day, every time he sees me he thinks I have to be reminded of the time I ruined his new car with the tree roots. We always have a big laugh about it, and David and I “argue” about whose idea it was.

Families are funny about their recall of events, and I am blessed that our family takes such joy in remembering incidents in such a loving way.

And now I need to tell a story about my Daddy, who has been a wonderful father to us and who is amazing in every way. Daddy was a chemical engineer, so he possesses some intelligence and common sense. However, he has performed a few “experiments” in his day that have not exactly panned out as he had planned. (Excuse the pun.)

One day when we were all teenagers, Daddy went to a thrift store and purchased some old iron frying pans. The pans were caked with grease, and Daddy tried to clean them, but to no avail. He decided that he could apply oil to the frying pans to remove the grease, but the oil had to be heated. Then, he could clean off the oil and the grease together. The only oil he had at the time was motor oil, so he coated the pans with the motor oil. He then put the pans in the oven.

Soon the kitchen was filled with a thick, black smoke. The smoke was asphyxiating. We could not breathe in the kitchen, so my brother and I opened the swinging door that led to the dining room, and we began fanning the smoke into the dining room to clear the thick smoke from the kitchen. Daddy turned to us in a fit, and said, “Close that door! What are you thinking of??”

We have never let him hear the end of it.

Love your family, and laugh at what is funny.

— My love to all,


• • •

“He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”

— Job 8:21


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