What was so funny about that

“Sometimes I amaze myself, other times I can’t remember what day it is.”

— I don’t remember who said that.

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A perfect storm of a three-person office with one out sick during the biggest community festival of the year last week robbed me of column writing time.

Funny how somedays, even a 65-hour work week just isn’t enough.

So, I did just what I do on such occasions. I reached into my stash of columns dating to 1980 and freshen up one of my favorites from several years ago.

“You rerun old columns,” a friend asked in disbelief? “What do your reader’s think about that.”

My answer was simple. “I’d wager fair money many of my readers are like me. They don’t remember columns they read 10-20 years or more ago any more than I remember writing them.”

Pondering what I had just said, I was certain there are advantages to growing older. I’m sure one of them will come to mind any minute now.

Sort of reminds me of that time years ago when Tem Morrison in Center asked if I wanted to take a look at some old car parts. For me, that’s like asking my dog if he wants to take a look at a pork chop, so we agreed on a time. Hours after it had passed, the light came on. I had forgotten the conversation. I went straight to Tem’s office, and apologized profusely about my memory lapse.

With that, I related to Tem the story of successful Mount Pleasant businessman, Cortez Boatner, who owned a furniture store when I was a youngster. He always wore a white dress shirt and a tie when he came into Perry Brothers to visit with my father, and I noticed the ever present small spiral notebook and pen in his shirt pocket. As conversation progressed, out came the notebook and Mr. Boatner was busy making notes.

“I used to think that was funny,” I told Tem. But you know, as I’ve gotten older, I’m finding it hard to remember exactly what I thought was so funny about it.”

As grade schoolers, my sisters and I teased our mother about her memory. Actually, it probably wasn’t that bad, but she had this uncanny, comical way of forgetting where she left things. Two classic moments, she never lived down as long as she was with us because we teased about them.

Banana pudding was my dad’s favorite and mom made it often. That was during an ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ time when the whole family sat down together for supper. About three bites into dessert one evening, dad stared into the pudding bowl stirring it with his spoon. “I don’t think there’s any bananas in mine.”

On cue, the rest of us did the same search to discover that there were no bananas in any of our bowls either, just pudding with vanilla wafers.

“Oh no,” mom said on the verge of tears. “I forgot to put the bananas in it.” Sure enough, unpeeled bananas were still lying on the kitchen countertop. We consoled her, however, eating every morsel and praising the pudding trying to make her feel better.

But then the next day, her sewing scissors went missing. “They were right here,” she said, frustration building in her voice. “I just had them in my hand. Did one of you get my good scissors,” she quizzed us kids?

“No,” we chimed in unison. “Besides, mom. You said you just had them.” As she searched, I was conducting my own search. For leftover dessert in the refrigerator. Some of that banana-less pudding. And there, right behind her big plastic bag of ironing bag, lay her good scissors.

Now if you aren’t familiar with an “ironing bag,” then you can’t properly appreciate today’s no-iron world. There was a day when everything was ironed as part of the weekly laundry ritual because laundry was dried hanging on a clothesline and the result was wrinkled clothes. That was also in that same day before wrinkled clothes were fashionable.

My mother ironed school clothes, she ironed church clothes, she ironed play clothes, she ironed my father’s work clothes, she ironed sheets and pillowcases.

And ironing that wasn’t completed in one afternoon session of “As the World Turns” or “Queen for a Day” on our new black-and-white television was sprinkled with water, rolled up and stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until the next scheduled ironing time.

“Mom,” I called out snickering at her forgetfulness. “Were you ironing before you were sewing?” We giggled as she retrieved the lost scissors from the refrigerator.

Over the years, like good children, we smiled every time we teased our mother about her forgetfulness. And like the loving mother she was, she graciously smiled as we had fun at her expense.  

But you know, as I think about it these days, I’m trying to remember what it was that we thought was so dad-gum funny?

—Leon Aldridge

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Aldridge columns are published in these Texas newspapers: The Center Light and Champion, the Mount Pleasant Tribune,  the Rosenberg Fort Bend Herald, the Taylor Press, the Alpine Avalanche, The Fort Stockton Pioneer, and The Monitor in Naples.

© Leon Aldridge and A Story Worth Telling 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full and clear credit is given to Leon Aldridge and ‘A Story Worth Telling’ with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.

2 thoughts on “What was so funny about that

    1. Hi Mike, I have two sisters, both younger than me. Leslie is three years younger and graduated in 1969. Sylvia is five years younger and graduated in 1971. They both skated a lot back then and that’s probably where you would have seen them. Hope all is well in Tyler. I enjoy seeing the places you take your cars on Facebook.


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