Opening Night for the Elves and the Shoemaker is tonight!
The following days will be--hectic.
So for the next few days, Husby will be taking over this blog.
With stories of his dad.
And I'll see you soon with stories of my Elves.
Part One was here.
Today, Part Two:
Paddles: Dad was a master tormentor, a genius at little so-called 'Chinese torture' games that you didn't really realize he was using on you until all of a sudden you would notice something terribly annoying and wish it would go away - and then you would realize that it was Dad that was pestering you in some way, and had been doing it for ten minutes or so. One of his favorite things was to lean on you, ever so gently, and gradually increase his angle of incline until you felt totally uncomfortable but couldn't figure out the reason for it. And when you finally did figure out that you had the weight of the world leaning on you, so to speak, and ask him to move, he would just snicker and grin his mischievous grin, and would comply with your request - until about ten minutes later, when he would commence the whole process all over again. Anyway, we all inherited a goodly portion of Dad's ability to torment each other - and justice claimed its own when we were able to turn the tide by discovering something that really annoyed Dad. One such little trick was to sneak your feet up in front of his face while he was lying on the floor (he had a bad back; the floor made it feel better), trying to watch television, rest, or just plain relax. He would often lie there with his eyes closed, and you could see the discomfort on his face when your feet, usually
not in the most sanitary state, approached his sensitive nose. He would open his eyes, take a swat at your feet, and declare: "Move those paddles!", or "Get those smelly paddles out of here". We, of course, always complied - for a few minutes.
Pnoggin: pronounced just as it looks, without a silent ‘p'. This was a word in the same category as 'phizzog', and was used to mean 'the head'. Example: "I fell off my bicycle and now I have a goose-egg on my pnoggin." Or, to really keep it colloquial: "Cogitate that one in your pnoggin for a while - but be careful your phizzog doesn't fall off".
Dad some favorite phrases that always tickled our funny bones when he used them: "Well, if that's supper, I guess I've had it!"
Whenever we would go out for dinner where a bean salad was served, Dad never failed to ask someone (if not everyone!): "Well if it's bean [been] salad, what is it now?"
Dad had a favorite riddle he always liked to ask any poor unsuspecting soul that he knew he could get the best of. It went something like this: “Would you rather be dumber than you look, or look dumber than you are?" Invariably, the poor unsuspecting soul would agonize over which would be worse - to be dumber than one looks, or to look dumber than one is. After what was usually a valiant struggle with one's very inner being, an answer was given. It really didn't matter to Dad which answer was given - his reply was the same no matter what the poor unsuspecting soul said: "How could you be?" (followed by a grin and a snicker)
Think about it.
Dad also had a favorite trick or two that he liked to pull on his kids. One was his famous hat trick, which is difficult to imagine without seeing it done, so I won't attempt to describe it here. The other, however, was his belt trick, and as I write this I can't believe how many times he suckered me on that one before I caught on that he was actually cheating! The belt trick used - oddly enough - a belt. Dad would take the belt, double it in half so that the two ends were together, and then start rolling it from the other closed end. Try it. You will find that as the belt rolls, there are two definite 'holes' in the middle of the belt. Dad would then issue the unsuspecting sucker with a nail or a pencil or some other such thin instrument, with instructions that the object of the game was to stick the nail through the loop that you thought would be the 'inside'loop, or the loop that the nail would catch as the doubled belt unrolled (since one loop is 'inside' the doubled belt, and the other is a false loop created only by rolling the doubled belt.) For literally YEARS, I was unable to get the right loop. Dad would just laugh his dry laugh, and then usually tell you that you played like a sausage, or you were a dumb ezzle, or something else that was equally appropriate under the circumstances. Oh, his remarks were always kind and made lovingly - but he delighted to no end in knowing that he had gotten another one over on you. Well, as time went on, and I grew somewhat older and a little bit wiser, I began to notice that sometimes when Dad unrolled the belt, the inside leather (which was usually a different color or texture) of the belt sometimes ended up on the OUTSIDE when he unrolled it. It took me another year or two to figure out not only what he had done, but HOW he had done it - after all, you can only unroll a belt one way when it is doubled and rolled up, can't you? Or can you?? Finally, one day I got smart and watched his other hand, the one pulling the two belt ends. Here all these years, the old smartie would watch to see which loop you chose. If you chose the wrong one, well, no problem - he would simply unroll the belt normally and then give you his snicker and grin since you were playing like a sausage. But! If you chose the RIGHT loop, there were dark dealings going on in that other hand! Dad would very quietly, in this instance, let one of the belt ends slip around the circle of rolled belt, which has the ultimate effect of making the RIGHT loop the WRONG one. Try it. It isn't easy to do, but Dad had it down to an art. He had his laugh down to an art, too. But I was and still am glad that I had been suckered by my Dad.
Now it's my turn with MY kids . . .
Now it's my turn with MY kids . . .