My daughter insists that I come clean, and I suppose she’s right. OK, last week when I wrote about the unfortunate exploding black cherry Jell-O cola salad incident, I was wrong about her bringing the goofy-looking guy to the family get-together.
It turns out that nobody brought him. He apparently just wandered in off the street. But he was the only person there who would eat the Jell-O after it exploded, and I was just so grateful that I was willing to believe he might someday become a member of the family.
“I don’t date goofy-looking guys,” she sputtered indignantly.
I begged to differ, but I didn’t bring up her ex-husband in an effort to keep the peace.
It’s not the first time, she reminded me, that I have embarrassed her or her brother by writing about them in this space, but they do make good copy, and it is harder to find interesting subjects since my eccentric artist husband died.
He was always up to something. Like the time he drove down Carroll Boulevard with the bed of his pickup truck on fire. And the night he and his buddies spent partying and eventually sleeping in one of those kids’ blow-up jumping castles. (He blames the unsteady napping surface for throwing up in his boot at some point before morning.) And the popular family story of him driving the aforementioned truck through the closed door of the garage and rushing into the house to admonish his children, “Don’t tell your mother about this when she gets home!”
But he died more than 10 years ago, and since that time no one else will come near me for fear of becoming locally famous, so I’ve been depending on family to amuse you and myself.
I learned to be creative and amusing about the twins soon after they were born, and people started asking me about my boy-girl duo. “Oh,” they’d say. “They’re so cute. Are they identical?”
You recall, I’m sure, the time Christi became adhered to the mattress by an errant bedspring. She came home from a bachelorette party, flopped down and by morning was semi-permanently joined at the posterior to her bed. Paramedics arrived, took in the balloons on the ceiling, the nubile 19-year-old on the confetti-decorated sheets, and called for backup. As word spread through the fire department about the medical call, more and more units arrived at her apartment until neighbors thought a mass casualty incident had occurred on the second floor.
More recently, I wrote about our star-crossed trip to Fredericksburg from Irving using her GPS named Lucy for directions. We wound up in Lake Worth.
“Lucy, you got some ’splaining to do!”
Her brother is a little less good-natured about his occasional appearances here. Chris was aghast when he learned that I had written about the time he glued his under-the-sink cabinet door shut to keep a new girlfriend from finding the dirty dishes he’d hidden there. What was the big deal? I didn’t even reveal the place where he stowed his 190 pair of dirty socks.
He didn’t speak to me for a year and a half after I printed his cellphone number here and asked people to ring him with a reminder to call his mother.
You know how sons are after they’ve been away from home for a while and during periods when they don’t need money. They don’t call.
I tried everything. I sent a fax to his office, asking that it be placed on the bulletin board with the admonition, “Chris, call your mom.”
Nothing. Nada. Not even a text.
So I wrote the column. I explained that I hadn’t heard from him and that, before I notified police of a missing person, I wanted everyone to try to reason with him about checking in. And yes, I printed his number.
I heard from him once after that.
“Your readers are crazy!” he snarled. “Little old ladies call me all day crying. Drunks call me all night cursing and yelling at me to stop being a bad son. They’re nuts!”
It’s been years since that happened, and we’ve made up, and he does occasionally call and all is well.
But he hasn’t forgotten. His voicemail message still comes on loud and clear: “I can’t pick up the phone right now. But if you’re calling about my mother, get a life!”
DONNA FIELDER can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.