My mother, like her mother before her, is the Queen of Clichés. I, on the other hand, while growing up was the Princess of Literal. The Amelia Bedelia of Mellette Elementary, if you will. It led to a lot of confusion and misunderstandings around our house. Me thinking my mother was crazy and she, in turn, thinking I had special needs. I walked around scowling and mystified most of the time, while she was walking around betting dollars to doughnuts and taking stitches in time.
I never knew what on God’s green earth she was talking about!
“Well, if you can’t see the forest for the trees, Rebecca, I don’t know what to tell you!”
Ummm, clearly! We lived on the plains of South Dakota ... what trees?! What forest? What was I missing?!
“Pretty is as Pretty does, young lady!”
Who is Pretty and what the hell does she keep doing to get me into so much trouble?
It was baffling!
As I wandered across the street one sunny afternoon, I heard “REBECCA ANNE!” screeching across the airways.
“You didn’t look for cars any more than the man in the moon!”
Well, honestly, I probably was looking for the man in the moon which was why I didn’t see the car that nearly hit me!
My eyes were always bigger than my stomach and I was biting off more than I could chew. I was always looking a gift horse in the mouth, telling cock and bull stories, barking up the wrong trees and crying wolf ... although I have no recollection of doing any of these things.
I loved to draw when I was little and I remember asking my mother to join me.
“The only thing I can draw is a bath.”
I was fine with that, although while I never saw her actually do it, I couldn’t figure out why she could draw this (according to her):
but not this:
I was a curious child, although usually too frightened to ask questions. Mostly because the answers were always so cryptic and confusing. When I did venture to ask a well-thought out and provocative question, my mother would simply roll her eyes and say, “Heavenly Nose, Rebecca.”
I won’t even tell you how old I was when I figured out she was saying, “Heaven Only Knows”, which, while still not answering the questions, would have at least made more sense!
And my grandmother, in addition to her entirely different set of clichés, simply said bizarre things. She was weird.
“Grandma?” I once asked. “There are no chairs left at the table, where should I sit?”
“You could always sit on my thumb.”
For the life of me I still don’t know what that meant!