Escaping the ever-present effects on our lives from “the virus” – that viral one in the atmosphere and the other one in the White House, my mind has taken respite in all sorts of humor-eliciting matter – cartoons, satirical writing and viewing performers whose perspective on daily life often reveals a bizarre point of view reminding me of just how crazy life can be.
Also, crossing my mind are recollections of laugh worthy events or circumstances I’ve experienced. I am reminded of stories generations share that are unique to each family contributing to the special bonds to one another we feel.
My mother shared a few tales from her early nineteen hundred’s young life that titillated our family. We were still primarily an agrarian society just beginning to give way to becoming industrialized. Small farmers prospered as did her father. Homes were gradually becoming modernized with electricity, telephones, outhouses giving way to indoor plumbing, likewise well water pumps were placed inside the kitchen.
My maternal grandfather was considered progressive, so his neighbor farmers sometimes razzed him by asking when he was going to get one of those new-fangled automobiles. He would respond that he was waiting to get an airplane.
Mother would relate neighborhood tales that aroused her community at the time, such as one Halloween some enterprising young farm boys thought it would be hilarious to upset one farmer’s outhouse, so they did. What they hadn’t counted on, was that someone was in it at the time.
Then, there was the young niece who took great delight in explaining to all who would listen who the relatives were that were pictured on the wall. All would wait to hear her say, “And that is Grandpa Hall’s Hyde!”
One of mother’s favored tales was about her father when their rural farm community finally had a telephone system – one with party lines shared with a few neighbors. Each person’s phone line had a different ring, such as one short and two long rings, or one long, a short and another long ring, for example. The caller cranked their phone accordingly to reach the party they wanted. If one party was on the phone, none of the others could make a call.
One day, some sort of problem came up for my Grandfather who felt he needed to make a call post haste. He kept picking up the phone to find the same neighbor lady, known for using the line a lot, was on the line talking to another woman. Considerable time passed and each time my Grandfather picked up the phone she was still on the line.
Phone users on the line could tell if someone picked up the phone as there would be a click when they picked up their phone and another click when they hung up so this would discourage eves-droppers. Also, it would indicate to the phone line user that someone else wanted to use the line, so as a matter of courtesy the user typically would make an effort to end their call quickly.
On the occasion of my Grandfather’s call effort, considerable time elapsed and she remained on the line. Quite contrary to his character, my grandfather became quite exasperated. Finally he picked up the phone once more, heard the woman say, “...so I washed down as far as possible and then ....” to which my grandfather interrupted by saying, “Well, why don’t you go wash possible and get off this line so I can make a call!”
I still chuckle to myself, picturing that scene, though I never knew my grandfather since he had died years before I was born.
Are there stories unique to your family that are shared with great relish with one another?