I’m about to reveal a deep dark family secret.
Just about everyone in our family does an imitation of my mother. Back in the day, a comedian couldn’t make it without impressions of Ed Sullivan, Richard Nixon and Howard Cosell. At our family events, you need to have Grandmom Barbara in your repertoire.
My Mom taught kindergarten for more than 35 years, and she has never lost the cadence of a kindergarten teacher sharing a fascinating lesson with five-year-olds.
A typical phone message to us will start, “Kids?” Pause. “It’s Mom.” Pause. “I just wanted to make sure everyone is safe in the snow.” Pause. All said with a sing-song intonation that is a tad too loud. Mom, if you are reading this, you should know that the imitations are done with great affection.
Clay may be the only one who doesn’t have a Grandmom Barbara impression down. But that didn’t stop him from joining the fun over the holidays.
About an hour into a visit by my parents on Christmas aftenoon, while we sat in the living room in front of a roaring fire, my wife asked Clay if he had anything he wanted to type on the keyboard he uses to communicate. Clay had been circling the room, repeating words, clearly soaking in the conversation.
“Grandma is silly,” he typed.
“What do you mean by silly?”
“She is funny.”
My mother, clearly confused, typed back, “Grandpop is the funny one.” My father’s legendary wisecracks are also imitated, although mostly by his grandsons.
“So true,” Clay responded, but then added. “Your voice is funny.”
Clay managed to get into the act, too. In his own way.