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All aboard to Timbuktu.
I was walking home from having picked up my five year old step daughter Lily, at school. As usual, as we cut through the park, she wanted to stop and play on the swings and on the metal train. I agreed to take a train ride with her. She called all aboard and I boarded the train climbing up the several steps of the ladder. She asked where I would like to go and I very smartly replied "Timbuktu." She made all the appropriate train engine sounds and the trip was beginning to drag on a bit. I needed to get back to work and was trying to speed the journey up somewhat. Eventually I asked if we were at Timbuktu to which she very seriously replied that we were only at Timukone, thus extending our journey and time in the park some more. I burst into fits of laughter much to her dismay . Her reasoning was very sound, Timbukone came before Timbuktu.
Blushing at the Beach
On an unseasonably warm day in early June of 1996, our family decided to go on an adventure. We frequented Golden Sands and other nearby swimming holes, but on this day we decided to find something new. We travelled around the loop of the Burin Peninsula with the windows down and 80's rock blaring out the windows. When the heat eventually became unbearable, we pulled off at the next stop that promised sweet relief in the form of a lake to jump into. For the life of me, I cannot recall the name of this place, but I will always remember that beach!
The lake had a nice cool breeze coming off it and the beach was actually a mass of large rocks. It was a rather large body of water, surrounded by stones the size of your fist and enclosed with large evergreens, it was the perfect haven to explore. I had brought my new snorkeling set and was excited to see what I could find under the water. I set up my towel site, and stripped down to my swimsuit. The suit was a hand-me-down from an older cousin, in great condition and my 13-year old self thought it looked pretty good! It was an electric blue colour with black cut-ins at the sides and had a black zipper down the front. Now, even at thirteen, I was quite well-endowed, but I was very confident this zipper would keep me contained as I combed the bottom of the lake with my treasure bag.
I grabbed my gear and headed out into the water. If you don't know much about the climate in Newfoundland, I will tell you that early June is a tad chilly for swimming - even on a scorcher like that day was. The water felt ice cold and sent goose bumps tingling over every inch of me. I have since discovered that most children and youths don't mind any temperature water as long as they can be in it! I was no different of course, and splashed right in to that frigid water. You get used to it after a while anyway right? Or perhaps your body goes numb and you can't feel the cold as much. I soon found out the latter was truth.
I started out in the water just below where our family had set up camp, put my gear on and began to comb along the bottom of the shallow pool. I was about two meters from shore and the water was still less than knee-deep. I scoured along the bottom, breathing through my snorkel and unearthing rocks or stones that looked interesting. I had gone down the shoreline about half a mile when my freezing body wanted out. I emerged on the beach, and removed my gear. I noticed a group of about five older teenaged boys standing on the beach just a few meters from where I had surfaced. They were all staring at me - agape.
Oh no! I did a quick check and found that my zipper had only gone down about an inch - not so bad! As I stated before, I was already well-endowed and therefore can't see anything beyond my obtruding bust-line. What the heck were these guys staring at? Then my brand-new teenage ego piped up to inform me that they were staring at me! Oh yes! I was all that and a pack of chips - why wouldn't a group of boys stare in unadulterated, open-mouthed awe? I smiled to myself and batted my eyelashes at these guys, grabbed my gear and started to trek back to where most of my family was sunning themselves closer to the treeline. I turned back a couple times to see that the older boys were STILL staring and my over-inflated ego loved every minute of it- until I got back to my family.
I was standing in front of my mother and youngest brother, towel-drying the cold off me when my brother sat up, took one look at me, and began roaring with gales of laughter. I quizzically looked at him, but all he could do between the wheezing and snorting was point.
At my crotch. I bent the right way to see around my mountainous mammaries and looked down. I was so numb and frozen that I hadn't noticed one of those fist-size stones had somehow gotten into my swimsuit and settled itself firmly into the bikini area. There I stood with Double-D's and a brand new "package". The commotion brought the rest of the family upright to join in sniggering at the hilarity of my situation.
I however, was mortified when I came to the realization that the group of boys was not in fact agog because of me, but because of my new anatomy!
I grabbed my stuff and ran for the car; horrified and humiliated! At that point, I didn't much care about the heat - I needed to get out of there. It seems like the end of the world for a young teen when such an embarrassing event occurs, but trust me, you will be laughing about it in the years to come. Don't take yourself too seriously and try to see any situation from another perspective. Life is about finding joy - and joy is laughter.
When I was 26 (I'm 78 now), we bought our first home on two acres of land. I had plans to plant many trees and flowers. One day I planted a flowering tree and a neighbour suggested I put fish around the tree for fertilizer. We lived by a river, so I sent the kids down to catch some fish. When they returned I carefully placed the fish around the base of the tree. When my husband came home I proudly showed him my gardening skills. The first thing he asked was, "Why are there fish around the tree?" When I told him what the neighbour said, he burst out laughing and said, "You're supposed to dig the fish into the dirt around the tree, not just lay them on top!"
Soup from Scratch
My sister Bridget, who was only 12 at the time, always wanted to make soup, but my mother wouldn't let her because she was afraid she'd burn herself on the wood stove. One day while Mom was gone to the hospital, Bridget decided to go ahead and put on a pot of soup. When Mom got back she was a little miffed with Miss Bridget. But when we sat down for our soup, it was delicious. After a few spoonfuls, though, Mom said, "Bridget, there's peel on this turnip. You must have not peeled this slice of turnip." She looked at Mom and said, "You have to peel turnip" Good soup, but none of the vegetables were peeled.
The debate team
My husband Rick, who is originally from McCallum, NL was having a discussion with my brother and his girlfriend about arguing with the grocery store over a mispriced item. She asked my husband if he had ever been on the school debate team. My brother replied "no, but he was on de bait team!" As he used to go fishing with his Dad Karl.
I asked a friend for the identity of the person I should contact for historical information on a church he had pastored. He gave me the name of a women who had a wealth of information. I then asked if she had "e-mail." "E-mail!" he exclaimed. "She doesn't even have a "He-mail." Her husband died many years ago!
The American Colonel
Air Traffic Control Centre operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That means that some have to work during the wee hours of the morning. Some people do strange things on mid-night shifts - particularly near Christmas. When some people work from twelve at night to eight the next morning, something gets loose in their cranium; and, well, do you remember the comedian who used to use the line "the devil made me do it"? It's something like him! It usually happened around 5 a.m. The following incident happened in the Gander Area Control Centre in the early 1960s when the Centre was located in the present Terminal Building. It was the low point of the night with regard to traffic. Everyone had been "flat out" and by now were getting a chance to get a coffee. The overlapping crew that had been in for the busy period of 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. were gone home. Somebody would tell a story - usually lies. Some other guy would tell about the size of the salmon he almost caught last summer - more lies. Well, we had one controller who liked to put on a bit of a show - especially if we had a new chap join our crew, and more especially if he was a mainlander. As a matter of fact, there may be former crew members who will read this and discover for the first time that this chap wasn't the "real thing." For the sake of this article and to protect his identity, I'll call him "Wilbur." On the particular nights when he would decide to put on a performance, he would wait until he was cleared for a coffee break. He would then get "dressed up." His usual and funniest garb consisted of things that only he could think of. There were purple drapes that surrounded the "black" radar to shade it from the light of other parts of the Operations Room. He'd get a section of this down and wrap it around himself so that it resembled a long flowing robe. Teletype paper came with round tin metal pieces about one inch in diameter that were placed at the end of the spools to keep the paper from being bent under the pressure of other rolls in the case. He'd take two of these and fit them in his eye sockets. There was a small hole in the centre large enough to enable him to see where he was going. He'd then get a piece of teletype paper, fashioned it in a circle, tape it together and place in on his head in the shape of a bishop's mitre. Lastly, he'd take a coat stand, turn it upside down and carry it over his shoulder. The coat stand with its four curved legs was much more impressive upside down than right-side-up. It was getting close to Christmas; we had this brand spanking young trainee from Moncton who had just arrived from the training school. It was just too much for Wilbur - he sprang into action! His preparation, of course, was all done out of sight of the other staff, and he would always wait for an opportune moment to make his grand appearance. Normally he would wait until there was no one on the phones or transmitting to aircraft. The timing of when to come back into the Operations Room was co-ordinated with a cohort who would sneak out in the hall and give him a wave that the timing was right. He'd then proceed through the Operations Room making various crossing signs with his hand and uttering "Latin" phrases. The inevitable happened, of course. Just before his grand appearance, a U.S. Air Force Colonel came in unannounced. He must have brought an aircraft in the day before and decided that he was going to get away at this ungodly hour of the morning. No one knew he was handy to the place until he marched unceremoniously in. Not much security then - not that it would have mattered to this fellow, I suppose, because he seemed pretty important. We always had a few war vets on shift who would eventually put those "important" fellows in their place. The chap who was co-ordinating the appearance of Wilbur made a dash out to give him a "red alert". Wilbur, stationed by the other door in the hall, spotted his buddy coming out of the other door, saw him silently waving, mistook the meaning and marched in the Operations Room. He started his routine, "Dominos Scantify-ess, Lassey puddin' Chrmosos, Diddlewicks ..." - He was half way through the Operations Room - you could say at the point of no return - when he spotted the U.S. Colonel. He was likewise through his usual spiel of Dominos Santifiyess Lassey Puddin, so a panicky "Oh my Blessed Jayus!" was immediately injected into that point of his nonsensical babblings. There was nothing left for him to do but to continue on through the room. He didn't miss a beat! The Colonel had been bent over a desk and going over his Flight Plan with the supervisor when he first heard our friend uttering his spiel. He quickly turned to see what was happening. He spotted what looked something like a Greek Orthodox Archbishop. His jaw dropped, he quickly looked at the supervisor (the supervisor was determined he wasn't going to look at either Wilbur or the Colonel). He then looked back at the "Bishop", dropping his jaw farther. Unable to get the supervisor's eye, he jerked his head around at the other controllers. In every case the controllers were intently studying non-existent aircraft strips or shoving a telephone to their ear making believe they had important calls to make or listen to. All except our mainland friend - who was looking just as perplexed as the Colonel felt! Not a sound was made as Wilbur exited the room from the other end and escaped in the hall where he ran to a nearby closet to get rid of the now embarrassing costume. Our mainland buddy, for whom the show had been planned, probably saved the day. He, of course, was just as amazed as the Colonel and didn't have a clue that this was going to happen. As Wilbur walked out the door, he turned to the supervisor and said, "What the hell was that?" Our supervisor had not gone through six years of war in the RAF for nothing. He looked at the young fellow from Moncton and said, "My son go out and see if that fellow is all right. That's two or three times he's been in here this year. I think he gets lost. Lock the door, too, when you come back, will you. You never know who'll come in here if you don't keep it locked." The young trainee looked at the supervisor, "Er "yes, sir!" The supervisor turned to the Colonel and calmly said, "You were saying something about your flight plan?" The Colonel's jaw dropped back in place and he took another strange look around. He finished his flight plan and walked to the door. He hesitated as if he wanted to ask a question, shook his head, and went on. He's probably still telling the story to unbelieving audiences. I think Wilbur put his "costume" into "cold-storage" after that incident.
Out of the mouths of babes
One day, when my daughter, Alyssa, was three years old, we were playing with her Fisher Price farm, complete with the animals, farmer, hay and sounds. She loved her farm and was starting to show love and affection for animals and making the connection from farm to table. During our playtime Alyssa started talking.
"Mom", said Alyssa, "Milk comes from cows".
"Yes, it does", I said. "Very good".
A few seconds later, "Mom, eggs come from chickens".
"Very good", I said.
Another few seconds later, "Mom, bacon comes from pigs".
"Yes, it does Alyssa", I said. ```You are so smart``.
"And Mom, said Alyssa, "Water comes from hills".
I was taken aback by this comment. &"Well", I said, "Water comes from the ocean, lakes, ponds and rivers", I said. "And it comes out of our taps in the kitchen and bathrooms".
"No", said Alyssa, "Water comes from hills!".
Hmm, I was pondering how to answer this one. "Alyssa, when I pour you some water to drink, it comes from our kitchen tap". We go swimming in swimming pools and lakes and I took you to the ocean last summer. Water comes from all those places".
"NO, NO, NO!", said Alyssa. "WATER COMES FROM HILLS!"
Quite perplexed by now, I said, "Okay, Alyssa", I said. "Why does water comes from hills"?
Very determinedly, Alyssa said, "Because, that`s where Jack and Jill get their water!"
My 8 year old granddaughter Amelia always loved to visit Lester's Farm on Brookfield Road to feed the animals, and of course to buy ice cream. When she was 3 1/2 years old it was her poppy's and my turn to spend Christmas with her family. The house was nicely decorated for Christmas and her mom had a nativity scene on the hearth. Amelia and I sat by the fireplace and I began to tell her the real meaning of Christmas. I picked up each piece of the nativity scene and explained to her the meaning of each piece. When I picked up the baby Jesus, I told her that he was born in a manager where the animals were. She quickly replied, "Yes, up on Lester's Farm."
what goes around comes around
I reminisce with a chuckle being put in my place and told to stay there by my eleven year old grandson, Liam. On a recent visit I went out for breakfast with him and his mom. After we finished our meal my daughter allowed him to pay his bill as a learning experience. She went to the ladies room and I stayed behind with him. Feeling a little overheated I said, "Liam, I am going outside for some fresh air." He said, "No nana, you stay right here, I don't want you wandering off somewhere."
Ties are cheap
Soon after our minister returned from a visit to Thailand, our missionary in that country spoke in our church. She began her presentation by asking, âWhat has your pastor already told you about Thailand?â Several people answered. Then, a young woman said, âHe told us that ties are cheap there.â The missionaryâs mouth dropped open as she responded, âThais are cheap?â An uncomfortable silence followed, until understanding finally dawned on her. âOh, yes,â she exclaimed, her face creasing into a smile, âties are cheap in Thailand!â
Foot in Mouth
I thought I'd share a story with you about a time my husband put his "foot in his mouth." One day we were visiting a parishioner in hospital, as she had just had her leg amputated below the knee. During the visit my husband prayed with her and as he was concluding his prayer he said, "And God we pray that it won't be long until she is back on her feet again...doing the things she loves." As soon as the words "back on her feet" were out of his mouth, there was an awkward pause, when he realized what he'd just said. There was nothing he could say to correct it, but just continue on with the prayer. It was a prayer we will never forget. Major Dena Hepditch Corps Officer (Pastor) Bermuda Division The Salvation Army