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James R. Stout

Magnets In Their Mouths

            I was recently speaking with a good friend about how things were when we were growing up. We talked about the candies we had then, the toys, television advertisements, cars, and a myriad of different things as they were during the late 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. One of the things that came up while we were talking included the things that we were each known for within our family for having said that became family folklore. It happens to everyone and it certainly happened to me. We’re all known for saying some funny something and it is seemingly never forgotten within the family.

            An example would be such as the time when my son was about 18 months old. It was a Saturday morning and I noticed he was staring out the sliding glass door of our house very intently. I went over to check it out and he was pointing at something excitedly and trying to find words for what he was seeing. I looked out and what I saw was several hot air balloons in the air that had just gotten off the ground. I later learned that a club had leased a pasture to use to lift off in their balloons. I must admit that it was a cool thing to see. The balloons were various colors with different artistic designs.

            I squatted down next to my son and said, “Those are balloons!”

            He looked at me and then at the balloons and then he pointed at them and said, “Buhdoons!”

            Well, I had to laugh. Over the next couple of years whenever we saw any kind of balloon, hot air, birthday, or just plain old helium filled, he would excitedly point and say, “Buhdoons!” To this day I call balloons “buhdoons” and think of my son. These kinds of things are endearing to us and they stay with us for life.

            I had more than a few of these kinds of utterances growing-up. One in particular came to mind when I was having the conversation with my friend. What lead to it was when we were talking about the candies that we had back then and the advertisements for some of them. One in particular was for Tootsie Rolls candy. It was an advertisement that came out sometime in the mid-60’s when I was about 8-10 years-old. It shows a little boy who was about the same age that I was at the time and he starts eating a Tootsie Roll while watching a western movie in a theater. The commercial explains that the candy lasts a long-long time – through the cavalry charge, through the Indian attack, and even through the “love” scene which shows a cavalry officer kissing a pretty girl. The little boy hides his eyes during that scene. That little boy could have been me at the time. I certainly knew how he felt.

          So, as family folklore goes, one night our family was watching a movie on TV. It was a western and it pretty much was what we used to call an “oater” referring to the horses eating oats. In those days Mom and Dad each had their chairs. Dad had his recliner, a sacred place that mere mortals rarely were allowed, Mom had a nice comfortable chair and an ottoman that was also a storage container for her sewing, needlepoint, and crochet items, and my two sisters usually commanded the couch. That left the oval braided rug on the living room hardwood floor for me. But that was OK back then. I didn’t need a crane to get back up off the floor and I had my pillow to keep me company as well as our dog Rex and our cat Sylvester. Things were going along great in the movie until the dreaded love scene. The two smitten pioneers looked into each other’s eyes, embraced each other, and then I provided a commentary.

            I suddenly just blurted out, “Oh no! They’ve got magnets in their mouths!”

            Well, Mom and Dad burst out laughing and my sisters chimed in as well. I wasn’t sure for a few seconds what was so funny, but once my mother calmed down enough, she said, “Magnets in their mouths?” Which started the laughter up all over again.

            To my credit, I seized the day and realized that I had inadvertently come up with a good one. For quite some months after that I would utter those same words when a similar scene was about to unfold on the old black and white television. But after a few months, I decided that was enough of that. However, my parents were not ever going to let me live that one down. For years to come if we were together and watching TV and such a scene came on one of them would say, “Don’t look, Randy. They’ve got magnets in their mouths!”

            Well, the years passed, and new funny sayings came around and then I was grown and had kids and my kids had their own funny sayings as do my grandchildren now. But that particular one of mine had what they call in show business “legs”. About a year before my mother passed away and about 6 months after Dad had died, I went over to my mother’s house and we watched a movie on her favorite channel, The Hallmark Channel. I was just happy to be with her and enjoying time together and I really didn’t care what we watched. It turned out to be one of those “Love’s Enduring Promise” movies about the pioneers and how each generation had their trials and tribulations, but their love for each other and trust in God saw them through.

            It got to a point in the movie where the young couple were about to kiss for the first time and all the sudden my mother pipes up and says, “Watch out, Randy. They’ve got magnets in their mouths!”

            There I was 62-years-old and that old line of mine from 50+ years before was something that my 88-year-old mother remembered and still loved. I must tell you that thinking about it makes me feel great. I can’t talk to my parents anymore and my oldest sister is gone too. I only have one sister left and she’s the only person left that was there when I said it the first time. Someday, I pray many years from now, one of us will pass away and then there will just be the one of us left. It makes me realize that those warm and wonderful memories from our earlier years don’t last any longer than the last person who was there remains and is standing alone. That’s one of the reasons I write my blog and why I am compiling a book of these memories that will be called, “Souvenirs from a Life”. Those memories won’t die when I am gone or when the last of my generation within my family is gone. My children, grandchildren, and generations to follow will have a chance to know something about me and my family. All that said, three cheers to all the ladies with magnets in their mouths!

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