One year, Floyd and I were homeschooling our cousin’s very smart and alert four year old son, T.J, in preschool lessons during the time our children were in the fifth grade. We had many days when Floyd and I would have to leave the room and just burst out laughing.
When T.J. first started coming to our home, Floyd would keep calling him Joel, our son’s name. Floyd was constantly calling T.J. the wrong name. One day, T.J. said, “What’s the matter Mr. Floyd? You forgot to take your medicine?”
That was FUNNY!!
Another day, T.J. And I were in the house alone. The rest of the family were doing some yard work. Floyd’s helper, Vic, had one of his arms amputated just below the elbow. Vic was strong and a hard worker. He could do as much work as two men with four arms between them.
The doorbell rang and T.J. ran to the open door before me. As I was coming, I yelled, “T.J., who is it?”
“MISS SHAR, IT’S THAT MAN THAT GOT HIS ARM CUT OFF WHEN THE TRAIN RAN OVER HIM ON THE RAILROAD TRACKS!”
That was true, embarrassing and FUNNY!!
I have also observed that kids do not have a monopoly on saying the “darnest things”. I’ll share a very infamous incident.
Now, some things come out of our mouths because we are under stress. Sometimes the stress is predictable, you see it coming, but you can’t do a thing to stop it. That is what happened to my Mom.
My sister, Laurie, who lives in California, often sent her daughter, Annette, to spend a week or two with my Mom in Detroit. At the time, I was living in the same four family flat. In New York City, it would be called a brownstone building. Floyd and I lived in the two flats upstairs and Mom lived in the two flats downstairs. We had both knocked out the adjoining wall of the two 6-room flats on each floor and then we each had a large 12-room flat.
Now, Annette was about 4 or 5 years old. She was fine during the day. She played and was in good spirits. But, as soon as Laurie called each night, Annette went into a crying fit to be with her mother. My Mom would have to console Annette for at least 30 minutes to get her to calm down.
One particular night, my Mom had reached her limit. Mom couldn’t take it anymore, her last nerve was shot, disintegrated, plum-gone.
That evening, Annette started crying and crying and crying. The conversation went something like,
“I want my Mommy! I want my Mommy!! I want ta see my Mommy!!!”
“Girl, you better be quiet. You’ll see your Mommy in two days. My Momma is dead, I’ll never see her again!”
That was honest, but shocking! At that point, I took Annette upstairs with me.
That scenario didn’t get to be FUNNY until Annette was grown!
Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. Benjamin Franklin