Not that my dad didn’t have a sense of humor. He laughed at funny things, particularly at his favorite shows, like Hee Haw. But he didn’t tell many jokes or make many wise cracks.
Mom, on the other hand, would be in the kitchen and say stuff like “Lord have mercy!” I’d look to see what the emergency was and she’d say “This water is never going to boil. The faucet’s colder than a well digger’s butt.”
I remember being a passenger one time when she pulled the car out of the driveway. After adjusting her mirror, she looked past me to the right rear view mirror and said “I can’t see anything out of that mirror. Change it.”
“Which way?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she said, “I can’t see anything.”
“Can you see the glass of the mirror?”
“Then what’s reflecting off the glass?” I asked.
“Nothing. I can’t see anything.”
“Well is it gray, like a road? Or blue, like the sky?” I pressed on, being a bit of a jerk, I admit.
“It’s nothing. There’s nothing in the mirror.”
“It can’t be nothing,” I insisted. “Light waves are reflecting off of the surface of the mirror, bouncing into your eyeballs and hitting your optic nerves, so you must be seeing something.”
“Oh, yes,” she said. “Now I see something. I see me putting the car in park, leaning over and wringing your neck.”
“How about now?” I asked after moving the mirror to where I thought it should be.
I remember a time years earlier when I was in grade school and my friend, Ducky, and I were with my parents driving back from the city dump. It was a hot, summer day and the windows were rolled down. We had our arms out our windows, pretending our hands were airplanes climbing up and swooping down.
We asked if we could play outside when we got home. Mom said, with a completely deadpan expression, “Nope. Too windy.”
She put her arm out the window, catching the 60-mph air and demonstrated to us how windy it was.
“But that’s because we’re driving,” we said, with half a question mark at the end. I mean, was she serious? Even we kids, who only had the benefit of two years of schooling could figure out the it wasn’t the air, but the car that was creating the wind.
“Nope. Too windy.”
Our shoulders dropped and we slumped down, overtaken by our disappointment in her misunderstanding of the physics of air and a car moving through it at 60 mph.
She got me plenty of other times. I grew to anticipate these games and got her back on occasion as well. I miss those exchanges with her, but I’ve got my memories that I guard like heirlooms.