Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Gifts That Keep On Giving

The summer I turned nine, we moved into a house much closer to my mother's large extended family than I could remember ever living before. My mother was one of eleven children so we suddenly found ourselves spending lots of time with aunts, uncles and cousins who had very nearly been strangers up to that point. 

That first summer, we had a house-warming party, hosting at least thirty or forty people. My Aunt Joyce arrived a little late and wandered into the kitchen where my mother was arranging casserole dishes that others had brought.

My aunt looked over Mom's shoulder and said, "I didn't know we were supposed to bring a dish-to-pass."

Mom said, "We weren't expecting anything but your presence."

Aunt Joyce smirked and said, "We didn't bring you any of those either."

Presence. Presents. Heh.

Having not yet entered fourth grade, I doubt I had ever seen the word "presence" in print, though I might well have seen "presents." Either way, I not only got the joke, but loved the wordplay. It is one of many incidents that reinforced my interest in words, in reading and writing and, therefore, reinforced what has turned out to be a fundamental piece of my identity. 

T is for Thankful

7 comments:

  1. My mom was the middle of 12 kids.
    Coffee is on

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    1. My mom was seventh of eleven--seven girls, four boys.

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  2. My Dad was the middle child of seven (one died in infancy). He helped raise his youngest brother after his Mom died young. My Mom also came from a large family. On the other hand, I was an only child. Maybe that's why I'm such a poor punner. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. My father was an only child and my mom was seventh of eleven children. I am oldest of four so they kind of split the difference between eleven and 1, I guess. :)

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  3. A dish-to-pass, I'd not heard of that before. I like word play too and sometimes make up my own.

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    1. I think "dish-to-pass" must be a regional thing. I grew up hearing it, but have learned that potluck or covered dish supper are the much more common ways to indicate guests are expected to bring some food. :)

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