I got my love of words honestly, it seems, and passed them down the same way.
We surprised my parents yesterday with some nice farm-stand tomatoes and basil (the herb, although Basil the husband came along for the ride, too) with which to make a quick summer pasta dish. (Also in tow was a half-batch of sorta intact home-baked chocolate donuts for dessert. Read about their evolution here).
About 5 minutes away, we called from the car to tell them we were coming, and my mother in her excitement used an off-color expression.
When we hung up, Catherine was in the backseat having a good laugh, saying: “I never heard Grandma swear before.”
Oh, yea, Grandma swears.
Sadly, so do we. It seems in spite of ourselves, George Carlin‘s list of words you can never say on television makes a regular appearance in our daily conversation. Ironic for someone as wrapped up in vocabulary as I am, right?
We kept ourselves in check when Catherine was little. Or we thought we did.
Imagine our horror and embarrassment to be pulled aside by the lovely women running the afterschool program at Catherine’s elementary school and told that another couple asked if Catherine (then 6) always used the F word because their little girl had announced it at their dinner table.
Oh yes, it was one of my stellar Mother-of-the-Year moments. In the 10 years since, I don’t think I’ve been able to look those other parents in the eye.
Yesterday, it all came full circle, in the telling of a story I’d long forgotten, but which tickled Catherine no end:
When I was 2, we were barbecuing with our then next-door neighbors, wonderful people with whom my parents had a longtime friendship. Betty and Mike insisted that I was old enough for a hot dog, and I guess Mom wasn’t thinking CHOKING HAZARD like parents of today are, so she handed me a hot dog in a bun as I sat in my high chair.
As I tried to take a bite, I squeezed so tightly that the hot dog shot out of the bun and across the yard.
Mom says that as I watched it go, I said (to the laugh-until-they-cried entertainment of the grownups): “Som a bitch.”
See, it’s true you live what you learn!