Wow! How do I determine what is funny to me …versus what might be funny to others? I really had to rack my brain over this one! This story takes me back more than 25 years, but I think that it’s worth recalling it. I was in my early 30’s and by that time, my husband and I had 5 beautiful children. Our youngest was about 2 and the oldest was almost 11.
It all began one Friday evening, when we had a young married couple over for dinner. They were dear friends of ours. His name was Phil and his wife’s name was Julie and they were a great couple. They were regulars at our place, so much so that to our neighbors, they seemed to have been a part of our family. They had no children of their own and maybe that’s why they loved our 5 little ones so much. To our kids, he was Uncle Phil and she was Aunt Julie.
Now on the one hand, Phil sort of fancied himself as a strict disciplinarian, yet on the other, he really loved being with our children and they loved him as well. The kids always enjoyed listening to his thick north jersey accent in everything he described, and to his credit, he purposely took the time to personally engage the children in ways that made each of them feel important. His visits were always very special to them as evidenced by the way that they would gleefully climb all over him like squirrels scrambling up and down a big old tree.
It was after dinner when our story really began. After the meal, we cleaned up and then all sat back down in the dining room to play cards. The kids on the other hand, had their own thing going on. As I remember it, the children were especially active that night. They were being loud, rammy and even a bit silly, and quite apparently the unusual noise level was drawing Phil in. It didn’t take long before he seemed to lose all interest in playing cards with the grownups.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he heard coming from the living room, a series of “thump, thump, thump, thumping,” in unison with at least 3 children yelling at the top of their lungs! This happened while they were sliding backwards on their bellies all the way down the long staircase from upstairs. Then, after finally reaching the bottom, they exploded into uncontrollable laughter, as they wrestled and climbed over one another while racing back up to the top of the staircase.
Though unspoken, from an adult perspective things were beginning to get a bit out of hand. The first response came from Phil. I remember vividly, his pushing back his chair, quickly standing up and sternly announcing to the rest of us, “I’ll take care of this!”