Grandkids Say The Darndest Things!
BY BOB CAIRNS
I don’t want to go total Art Linkletter GrandKids Say the Darndest Things, but now that I’m a grandparent and when one of our grands, Jack or Julia, entertains us with a funny line, I not only write them down, I recall the days when my parents shared lines that our kids, their grandkids, said.
Elizabeth, our youngest, was a gold mine of material and invariably she’d save her one-liners for our parents.
One evening while being babysat by my parents, she pulled every trick in the book to keep from going to bed. We had gone to the theater to see the traveling company of the Broadway show Cats. And when Liz had exhausted everything from “I need a drink” to “Please one more story,” she announced that she had to have a word with our dog, Augie. She “knew” that Augie was upset because it was late and her parents weren’t home yet. “Okay,” my mother said, “But that’s it. One word with Augie and then off to bed.” So, Liz knelt in front of the Weimaraner and said, “It’s okay, your parents will be home soon, they’ve gone to see a play!” And then she paused and kindly said, “It’s called Dogs!”
Nice grandkid, nice try, off to bed.
As parents and certainly, grands we do our very best to watch our language. And this one again features our daughter who was about eight years at the time. There were two little neighborhood boys whom I’d caught giving Liz a vocabulary lesson. I called them The Brothers Grimm! They had taught her to cuss and she, like a parrot, frankly put Alyce and me on tenterhooks when her grandparents came to visit.
Liz’s favorite book was The Berenstain Bears, and as many of us grands know, that’s the one where the mother gently disciplines her baby bears by giving them chores when they misbehave.
“…with a table full of teetotaling relatives, says, “I can carry two twelve packs of Budweiser, I guess I can carry this!”
So, Elizabeth very innocently drew her own version of the Berenstain Bears and presented it to her grandmother Cairns. When my mother opened the piece of paper with the little artistic presentation the mother bear was passing out assignments to her baby bears with the following copy, “Say S@@t! Clean your room! Say d@@m! Sweep the floor!” And then the grand finale, “Say f@@@! Wash the dishes!”
When my mother gasped and said, “Elizabeth!” Liz realized that what she had done was somehow wrong and cried her tiny eyes out. Her grandmother consoled her as she didn’t know what she’d done. We actually kept that work of art as a souvenir of child-raising. Now, here we are, grandparenting.
Matt, who was about five, had spent a few days with his grandparents. Matt’s grandad, whom he called Bob-Bob, drove a Chevy Van and so for fun he made Matt an exact model of the vehicle. When Matt returned from his visit he was playing with the little replica of the van on our couch and as I watched he was busy trying to park it between two pillows! Finally, after several attempts at the parking, Matt looked up at me and said, “Bob-Bob says s@@t!” I never told my dad because he would have been upset. But I could just see my father trying to wedge that van of his into a tight parking place and slipping in front of a little pitcher with big ears!
One more Elizabeth. Thanksgiving dinner was about to be served at my mother’s home in Maryland and Elizabeth (about seven) came staggering to a Norman Rockwell-like table lugging the 30-pound turkey. My mother was right behind her saying, “Oh, Elizabeth, can you carry that? Elizabeth, with a table full of teetotaling relatives, says, “I can carry two twelve packs of Budweiser, I guess I can carry this!”
Those are just a few of the little gems that our kids shared with their grandparents. Now that Alyce and I have Julia, four, and Jack, eight, we are collecting our Grandkids Say the Darndest Things!
Like the time Julia, three, (begat by Elizabeth), flying down the driveway on her trike shouted, in front of two neighbor ladies walking their dogs, “Look, Momma, I’m going hell-bent for election!”
Now that Alyce and I have Julia, four, and Jack, eight, we are collecting our Grandkids Say the Darndest Things!
So, again, my suggestion will always be to watch our language. But never fail to make a note or two when these little laugh lines come, they are Grand History!
In addition to being a proud and creative granddad. Bob Cairns is the creator of the new website, Stories by Grumps where Cairns showcases his best stories for grandkids and inspires other grandparents to share theirs. Bob has been a published writer for many years. His books include the novel, The Comeback Kids and the Pen Men: Baseball’s Greatest Bullpen Stories by the Men Who Brought the Game Relief. He also wrote numerous pieces for Sports Illustrated and SI for Kids. For 34 years Bob wrote for North Carolina State University.