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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Vicarious Story telling

One of the many advantages of two generations of children is that family stories are re-hashed and regurgitated. There are obstacles to be overcome with such story telling. If one generation of children grew up in England and the newer generation grow up in the States then there are a great many discrepancies between the two factions. Their experiences differ greatly.

This becomes all too apparent one night at the dinner table when rowdiness rules the roost. She turns to me and rolls her eyes over the din. She slumps back in her chair to observe her younger siblings raucous, unbridled and ever so ever so loud shenanigans. “Hey!” she bellows with large accompanying arm movements.
“I want to tell you something.”
“When I was little……about your age,” she adds as she glares at each one of them in turn, “I used to be loud too.” None of them says a word, either because they find it hard to imagine that their big sister was ever their age or because they are all different ages or because they cannot imagine her being loud or all three.
“One day mum went to meet her friend at a pub for lunch and I went too.”
“Pub! Pub? Wot is it being ‘a pub’?”
“A pub is where you go to drink.”
They look at her in confusion so I nudge and whisper “that probably wasn’t terribly helpful.”
“Right. A pub is where you go to eat, and drink alcohol, a bit like a restaurant or a diner.” Three pairs of eyes widen at the trigger word ‘alcohol.’
“You are drink alcohol when you was being a kid?”
“No I drank orange juice but that’s not the point. The point….” Her tale is cut short as the conversation is now stuck firmly in the mire of ‘just say no.’ They would only be slightly more shocked to hear that she drank rat poison. The din grows louder as they perseverate over the evils of drink but she reins them in to pursue her tale.
They pause and return their attention to their big sister. “Anyway, as I was saying……we were in the pub……eating…….and I was being very naughty.”
“Naughty?” they chorus.
“Yes…..so mum’s friend told me a secret.”
“A secret?”
“Yes…….mum’s friend told me that she used to have noisy naughty children too, just like me…….” She pauses to brilliant effect.
“So what do you think happened to her children, those noisy naughty children?” I am suddenly more than a little worried where this is going as I am the one who will have to deal with the fall out, probably for some considerable period of time, but she’s on a roll and there’s no stopping her now.
“Well……mum’s friend told me that her children were so naughty and noisy that she left them in the pub, went home and she never saw them again.”
“She losted her children?”
“Yes she did.”
“Yur kidding right?”
“Dat is way bad.”
“England" is evil!”
They scatter to the four winds before she has the chance to finish.
“Great! Did you have to tell them that?”
“They didn’t give me a chance to finish.”
“You know we’re going to "England" in less than two months?”
“Well I was looking forward to the odd pub lunch here and there, maybe.”
“Do you think that’s going to be a problem? Just from what I said?”
“Believe you me, that little nugget of information is boring a hole into their brains to lodge there quite firmly until hell freezes over.”
“Better get some take out menus "then.”

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