Have you ever felt like you were the only one marching to the drummer you hear in your head? You know the one I mean, the one that tempts you with what could be considered inappropriate actions. Now I’m not talking about really bad stuff. Well, if you gave in and decided to finally streak thirty years after the craze ended and you are showing the whole world your older, less than buff body, that would be bad. No, I mean things like joining your daughter at her Zumba class in your 1980’s Jane Fonda work out gear you bought to use the last time you took an exercise class (bonus points if it was Jazzercise). Or trying out Karoke with your version of Walk on the Wild Side (the only one I will do and it still takes more than one or twelve beers to get me to do it, but when I do, I ROCK). Just the tame things that made your children and now your grandchildren roll their eyes and play like they don’t know you.
By now we should be used to making young ones wish the floor would swallow them up. If you were a typical parent, you embarrassed your children on a regular basis. Not that the little precious ones EVER did that to you. When Amanda was just a wee child, maybe twoish, I took her to see the Easter Bunny at Central Mall and have her picture taken. She was so darn cute and dressed in ruffles like we did back then. She was so excited and I could just envision the great photo I would have. We stood in line and she was perfect. Then, we got up to EB himself and she had a complete and total melt down. Jumping up and down and screaming. She was not scared, she was not shy, she had seen other kids cry and get fussed over so she just thought she would do it to.
Well my mother had certainly taught me better so I grabbed her little hand and removed us from the area. Boy, did that piss her off! Her audience was gone so the tantrum just got a little bit worse. There we were with people walking by and glaring at me (we did that back then because parents were supposed to control their children not like today but that is a whole ‘nother thing). By now she was laying on the floor doing the classic whirling around in circle fit and shrieking like a banshee. I stepped into an open store and sort of hid from her. Of course I kept an eye on her but no one in their right mind would have grabbed her, most people just moved by a little quicker. When my darling daughter noticed I was no longer standing there ready to give her what her heart desired, she got real quiet and still. I came out, picked her up and we went home. That was the last fit she threw in public. I am still mortified thinking about it. Oh the condemnation of other mothers. Humiliating!
Luke was no better. I took him with me to buy groceries. He was so darn cute. I had dressed him in his hillbilly best, flannel shirt (must have been winter), overhauls and the cutest little work boots you had ever seen. Now this grocery store was in Fort Smith, the big city, not the little store in Mulberry. I had a fully loaded cart and was in the check out line unloading. I can’t remember what I put on the conveyor belt now, but Luke asked what that was for. Why, it’s such and such for dinner tonight. In a very loud and clear voice he complained, “But I want ‘possum for dinner AGAIN!” Every head turned, looked at him, then at me and kind of shrugged. I know they went home and told their families that there was a woman in the store who routinely feed her family ‘possum. Cringe.
Children only can really embarrass us when they are really young and we are young and unsure of ourselves and our ability to be adults. You will notice that grandparents are never embarrassed, they just look on in amusement. That’s because they have seen it all before. Fortunately, kids eventually lose the ability to embarrass their parents and they become the victims. I had a friend who loved to juggle and was quite proud of his skills. Anytime he took his daughter to the grocery store he would have to get vegetables or fruit of some sort. Did he really want to buy it? No. Did she really want to go to the produce section with him? No. Did she have a choice? Again no. You do see where this is going don’t you? Look he would say, I can juggle two oranges! And watch this! I can juggle three potatoes. Wait! I’m going to try four onions! I don’t know if she has recovered yet, or if she has taken up juggling produce for her daughters now.
Those of us who were impressed by Monty Python and some of their skits would sometimes engage in Silly Walks (no I never did this) when out in public. You would see some Adult Who Should Know Better with a pre-teen or teenager trapped with a parent in public (the worse fate ever) and said parent would be taking huge, high steps or waddling like a duck. And if the poor kid was really unlucky, the supposed adult would use a really bad fake accent.
Now what you might ask brought these fun memories on? I’ll tell you. I was in Winn-Dixie hunting and gathering and minding my own business. You might have noticed now that grocery stores (not Wal-Mart, but actual grocery stores) have the best piped in music. I usually sing along but just to myself. But not that day. The oldie goldie Gale Garnett song We’ll Sing in the Sunshine was playing. Now how long has it been since you’ve heard that? Ages and ages. Do you remember every word? Well of course you do. So here I was, happily strolling down the beans & rice aisle, singing out loud,
I will never love you
The cost of love’s too dear
But though I’ll never love you
I’ll live with you one year
When I was joined by another female voice chiming in,
And we will sing in the sunshine
We’ll laugh every day
We’ll sing in the sunshine
And I’ll be on my way
And even better, a deep male voice joined us,
I’ll sing to you each morning
I’ll kiss you every night
But darlin’, don’t cling to me
I’ll soon be out of sight.
Yes, we had a trio! We were singing out loud in public! In a grocery store! You can be sure that in other aisle grandparents were singing along also and mortifying a grandchild or two. I can’t wait to take Maddie back to Winn-Dixie, preferably with one of her friends. I bet there will be a song I can sing along to and just watch her play like she doesn’t know me. So who wants to join me? Or can you think of something equally fun? Share!