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Charles W. Dowdy


Toothpick stabbings and stinky suits
by Charles W. Dowdy



We went to Jackson last weekend for a family wedding.

There was a slight mix up when we checked into the hotel. My mother, who prides herself on her organization and planning skills, made the reservations about a year ago. The six people in my family were supposed to get a two-bedroom unit with a small kitchenette. We ended up in a room no bigger than a comma.

Still, we could and did survive, sleeping three to a bed and living by a rule that no more than three of us could be standing at the same time.

There was also a slight problem with the shower. If we flushed the toilet, the water turned scalding hot. Between my wife and my oldest two children, someone must use the bathroom every one hundred fifty two seconds or every three point two miles. Then there are the twins, who are not potty trained but like to pretend to go to the bathroom and practice their flushing. Let’s just say these two will never leave anything behind them in the bathroom as they are both very aggressive flushers.

It was after my shower that I remembered that mental note to get my suit dry-cleaned. Well, actually I remembered it when I opened the hanging bag containing the suit. I would have passed out if there had been enough room to fall down. The last time I wore that suit had been at another wedding, when this weaving behemoth of a man bumped into me and spilled half a beer down my front. The suit had been sitting in that bag for a month. I smelled like Eau De Budweiser.

The wedding itself went fine. I did my part to make sure the marriage started on a positive note by taking my eldest son and one of the twins outside before the ceremony started. My wife was under the mistaken impression she could sit through the wedding with the other twin. “It will be good for him,” she told me. “He will have to learn to behave in such situations.”

He behaved fine. He told my wife, “Momma, I LOVE this song!” when the wedding procession began and then yelled as loud as he could at the mother of the groom as she was escorted to her seat. Truth be told, these two (the twins) don’t get out in public much.

Perhaps it should have served as a clue earlier in the day when we took the twins to the Natural Science Museum. Upon seeing catfish in water tanks both twins clenched their fists and yelled, “WOW!” They also did it when they saw the stuffed cougar, and the snakes and the turtles. We were a loud procession of WOWS through the entire museum. (They also yelled "WOW!" when they went into the breakfast buffet at the hotel.)

But it was the reception where the real trouble started. Not that anyone knows the full extent of the trouble.

There are two types of parents at weddings. The first are those who try to control their kids and limit the breakage and disruption of the festivities. The second type are the kinds of parents who turn their kids loose and turn a blind eye to the spilled punch bowl and the finger-smudged groom's cake.

We try our best to be the first kind of parents. That is why my wife and I did not look relaxed at the reception. Invariably, someone will come up and say, “So your son just goosed the bride and tried to give her an Atomic Weggie. Relax. All kids do that kind of thing.” Usually the people saying this are older parents who have allowed time or prescription drugs to help them forget what young parents go through.

And the very nature of kids creates a problem too, because kids are always moving. Maybe that older parent only saw the bride trying to pull her underwear back down to a manageable level. What that person didn’t see was my kid moving, scurrying on and stabbing a woman in the rear end with a toothpick. And it’s not the toothpick stabbing that bothers me so much. It’s not like the thing penetrated the skin or anything. It was the look on my kid’s face just before he jabbed her with the toothpick.

Frankly, if you accidentally stab someone once, then that’s one thing; if you accidentally stab them seventeen times, then you might have some explaining to do.

So perhaps it was the kids that prompted people to keep us at arm’s length at the reception. Then again, it could have been my suit.

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Charles Dowdy lives in south Mississippi with his beautiful wife, four kids, and a menagerie of furry things. He’s in the radio business, but also writes a weekly column for several newspapers. He loves to hear from editors. Write him at cwdowdyjr@yahoo.com -- especially if you’re an editor.

Want to read more of Dowdy’s stories? Check out the USADS HUMOR SECTION for a long list of hilarious articles. Or try these:

Whatcha Doin’?
Pregnancy Books
Double Trouble: cross-eyed twins

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