Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Peas and Onions -- jcarolek

When we were kids, WAY back in the 60's, and early 70's, we always went on family vacations by car. Our family of of eight loaded into first the 1958 Chevy Station Wagon, and later, the 1972 (I think) Chevy Station Wagon. Long trips and short trips alike were filled with the driver (always Dad) leading the passengers (well, Mom was "excused") in song. We sang songs Dad had taught us and we harmonized. And, for the most part, this kept general squabbling to a minimum.

As we got a little older, the singing did not necessarily occur as consistently, conversation being a viable option.....

As with conversation or dialog of any nature, interpretation by the receiving party is not always quite in sync with the intended message of the delivering party....and challenges occur....(nicer word than "arguments.") Dad resolved ALL "challenges" with "THE EYE" which he displayed to all warring factions, in a glare through the rear view mirror.

One day, as we traveled to our destination, telling jokes and generally engaging in "conversation", from the back, back seat came the whimper of a "loser" of a challenge. Those of us in the back seat joined in the challenge currently in progress in the back, back seat, and the "whimperer" swallowed his tears for a moment and repeated his message....with similar response from "our group." This made him burst into a full meltdown, and, naturally, brought our "discussion" to the attention of the driver...and THE EYE.

We all clammed up as the glare from the rear view mirror alerted us to the impending doom.
"What's wrong, Ray?" Dad asked.

Ray, through his tears, explained...."they won't laugh at my JOKE!!" he cried.

Dad, ever the diplomat, said, "OK, Ray, tell us your joke." and we all waited to see Dad and Mom's response to the little comedian's offering.

Ray, happy as a lark now, projected his little voice and with the delivery style of a pro said, "Peas and Onions!"

There was silence as we awaited the response from the front seat....

"That's IT?" Dad asked?

Ray was once, again in tears, "well, YOU would think it was pretty funny if YOU had to eat PEAS and ONIONS together!!!" he declared.

Well, needless to say, Ray remained an unhappy camper that trip, but his jokes have gotten much better over the years. When we meet at family gatherings now, 35 years later, no rear view mirror glare from Dad is required to "cue the audience" to laugh at Ray's jokes. As he told his wife this past New Year's Eve, "these guys ARE my best audience!" Funny....I still recall that first, sad little "joke."

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