Mom often said she had three kids, not two. There was good reason for her statement.
Dad’s boyish face displayed a wide smile and twinkling eyes that matched his mischievous manner. Our home was always filled with laughter and jokes.
The Newcomb’s (family friends), lived down the road a ways. As a prank, Dad rang their doorbell while wearing red and white Purina checkerboard boxers, a checkerboard shirt, a snorkel and mask, and flippers. The joke was on Dad. Doug invited him inside to meet visiting friends.
Dad always looked young for his age, and at his current age of eighty-six can easily pass for a handsome seventy. His eternal youth gene was not always a good thing, at least not for Mom. A few months after getting married, before any children were thought of, Mom was in the hospital getting her tonsils out. A nurse gently knocked on the door and looked at Mom recovering in bed. Mom was very attractive, but did not look her best immediately after surgery. Mom tried to say hello, but her throat was too sore and swollen.
The nurse smiled, and announced, “Mrs. Norton, your son is here to see you.”
The nurse stepped aside and in walked Dad. His face was red. Not from embarrassment, but from choked back laughter. Mom bolted upright and croaked out a raspy correction. The nurse made a hasty exit. Mom never told this story, but it remains one of Dad’s favorites.
Another of Dad’s stories took place when he was young. He was treated to a submarine movie by his Aunt Mary and Uncle Clifford; a rare treat during the great depression. Dad was fascinated by the bubbles each time a submarine dove.
The following day, little Freddy (Dad) saw a baby chicken fall into a water bucket. He scooped it out, but not before it sent a spurt of bubbles to the surface. Dad dunked the poor chick in again and played submarine. He propelled his toy around the bucket until the bubbles stopped, then grabbed another chick to play with. His inventiveness did not go over well with Grandpa. Dad ran into the house and hid behind his Grandmother Pluma’s chair. Unaware that eight soggy chickens gave their lives so little Freddy could be a submarine captain, she begged Grandpa not to spank the poor boy. The poor boy got a whooping in the shed.
Back to the present: Dad bought David and me squirt guns. He bought one for himself, too. He should have bought one for Mom. Mom sat trying to read a book while the three of us chased each other around a circle created by two doorways between the kitchen and living room.
Dad and David ran out the back door, and lay in wait for my head to poke out. Mom picked a bad time to open the back door.
“That does it,” she yelled. Mom slammed the door shut, locked it, and wiped her face with a towel.
I ran to the living room and helpfully locked the front door. I had fun making faces through the window, until Dad and David stopped watching.
A half hour later, Dad convinced me to let David and him back inside. They were still laughing at the look on Mom’s face. I laughed at the shocked look on their faces when they saw their target wasn’t me. The only one not laughing a lot was Mom, but we hoped she was laughing on the inside.
Lesson learned: He who laughs last, laughs best. But it’s best when you’re all laughing last.
Now it’s your turn: What is something funny your father did?
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