The stuff that’s finally funny on a golden anniversary

Posted by GT on October 9th, 2008 — Posted in Newspaper columns, Personal favorites

Originally published in December 2005, The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colo.

For my parents, these are the years of looking back and laughing.

Sue and Joe Powell have lived under the same roof without strangling each other for 50 years this month. They’ve spent all but 11 months of that time as parents, proof that whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

Between the three of us, my sisters and I put them through plenty they can be happy to remember even though the actual experiences ranged from harrying to unpleasant.

The best of it would make others laugh too … but I can’t have that stuff getting out. In fact, if my folks wanted to, they could probably fund part of their retirement by blackmailing me into paying them “hush” money over some of the stuff I did when I was young.

But to give them some grins and a couple of eye-rolls for their golden anniversary, I’ll throw out some quick reminders of things they can enjoy knowing they survived:

  • Firecrackers – two of them in the same night! – blowing up in the boy’s hand because he took too long to toss them away.
  • Two daughters getting engaged in their late teens.
  • The camper door stuck closed, a son and two friends trapped inside, desperate to get out. Kicking the door fails to open it but does manage to turn a temporary problem into a permanent one.
  • A boy’s broken bedroom window in a practically brand-new house.
  • The saga of the son’s blue Plymouth Duster. First a vandal throws a hammer through a side window. Then the teen driver loses control of it on a steep, icy road and crumples the door on a late-model Thunderbird’s fender. Miraculously, the T-Bird isn’t damaged. Weeks later, a school bus driver loses control on another steep, icy road and crashes into the Duster, which was parked. So much for the Duster.
  • A camping trip, and a little girl who manages to slide from the tent trailer’s bed and land outside.
  • Dealing with some disgusting illness on virtually every family vacation.
  • Discussions about the injustice of requiring wearing T-shirts and carrying hankies.
  • Battles over hair length.
  • Battles over cough syrup.
  • Report-card shame.
  • Weird-looking friends.
  • Countless runny noses.
  • A trip to the emergency room with the boy who busted his chin on the porch step. The scar on his chin where the stitches were sewn.
  • A trip to emergency room with the boy who woke up with stomach cramps.
  • A trip to the emergency room with the girl who crashed a mo-ped.
  • A trip to the emergency room with the boy who shook a glass Pepsi bottle until it exploded in his face. The scar on his forehead where the stitches were sewn.
  • Karate lessons. Piano lessons. Roller-rink excursions.
  • Fights between the boy and younger girl. Fights between the boy and older girl. Fights between the boy and both girls.
  • Bullies.
  • Tattling.
  • These are also the days of Mom and Dad getting last laughs. Particularly, it seems, with me.

    Mom in particular loves it when I tell her about some irritant involving my girls. She greets my complaints with glee and reminds me that what goes around comes around. I can practically hear her sticking her tongue out at me on the other end of the line when I tell her about my 2-year-old’s continuing inability to master this whole “sleep” thing.

    Yuk it up, Mom and Dad, you’ve earned it. Happy anniversary, I love you both.

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