Thursday, September 5, 2013


Everyone has their baby stories. Fortunately for me, I lack the good sense to be embarrassed by mine so I'm going to tell you one. I am a LEGEND where I come from because of this.

First I've got to tell you about people and places, since you're not from around here and all that.

The family land is eighty acres divided by a road. My dad's dad got half, and my dad's dad's brother got the other half. My dad's dad gave my dad's dad's brother's son an acre of land on my dad's dad's side facing my dad's dad's brother's house. My dad's dad's brother reciprocated by giving my dad (just my dad this time) an acre of land on my dad's dad's brother's side facing my dad's dad's house. Then, in a time barely remembered by my dad's daughter, my dad's dad's dad (Pa) and his wife (Ma) died. They had lived catty corner to us next to my dad's dad on my dad's dad's land. Since they had a house and my dad's dad had an old trailer parked behind a concrete porch, my dad's dad and his wife (Granny) moved into the house. Since there was now a concrete porch across the road from us, we eventually parked a trailer behind it because we were on our third porch, all of which were made of wood.

So now, tell me, why did the chicken cross the road? Because he was movin' on up; that's why. Concrete porch, baby!

Y'know, if my dad read this, he might think the family revolves around him.

Oh, I forgot to tell you, my dad's dad's brother also reciprocated with my dad's sister-- with the land gifting. My dad's sister married Uncle Mickey, and they had my first cousin. Then Uncle Mickey exited stage left, and I had an Uncle Timmy. Then, Uncle Timmy and my dad's sister and my first cousin got run into by a drunk guy. My dad's sister valiantly threw herself over my first cousin, and he was the only survivor.

So we were going to this church called Faith Chapel which is now located behind a trailer functioning as a karaoke bar. *le gasp!*

Karaoke? --for Baptists??!??

Hold on! It's okay. They only serve tea and cokes.

So guess who Uncle Mickey's dad was?

No, really. Guess.


PLuuuuuurrrreeeeeezzzzz GUUuuuuuueeeeeeesssss.....

Mickey was Faith Chapel's red-faced preacher-man's son. I wasn't too much a fan of men or red-faced preacher-men, but his wife was really nice. Her name was Miss JoAnn.

So my first cousin called Miss JoAnn Mamaw and lived with her and the red-faced preacher-man. Oh, get this: The red-faced preacher-man had really high blood pressure, and years later his doctor prescribed a beer a day for him so he had to take back every thing he ever said about alcohol being sinful.

There. That ties everyone together neatly; I think!

So if I was being good and my first cousin was being good, they'd let us sit together in church because, obviously, we needed an opportunity to stop being good. One time, he was chewing some gum in church (Is that allowed?) and stuffed a handful of my hair in his mouth. Little booger. We were the kind of friends who fought all the time.

*sigh* Now, we need to agree on something: Potty training is HARD, guys. REALLY....




Not only did I go through my potty training, but I went through my brother's potty training. If you were an only child, you missed out on so much good learnin'.

I was at this... transitional we'll call it... stage of potty training. I was going to make this work, though! So I had to go to the bathroom during the sermon. I still needed my mom to walk me to the bathroom, which she did. Then, there was the decision: Do I go in alone or with her? I went in alone. "Are you sure?" she asked. "Yes," and like the willful little brat I was, I shut and locked the door.

Things were going great! Until they weren't. I didn't know I had to poo! Shock! A little warning next time, body?

I quickly got frustrated with the mess. "Momma, come wipe me off!"
"I can't. You locked the door. Unlock the door."
"But I can't! I'm on the potty!"
"Well, you'll just have to wipe yourself off."
I tried, but I was a cranky baby. Finally, I waddled over to the door. "It's unlocked."
"No, it's not."

Now, I was a cranky dirty baby frustrated with a doorknob above my head. I fiddled. She faddled. Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle, but that door wouldn't open. So I started wailing at the top of my longs, "Moooooommmmmaaaaaa! Moooooommmmmaaaa! Dadddddddyyyyyyyy! Come wipe me off!!! Pleeeaaaaaseee.... *sob* *sob*" Gosh, I know I made 'em proud that day!

"Be quiet! I'm gonna go get Daddy. Be quiet! Hush! They're tryin' to have a service."
"Doooon't leeeeaaaaave meeeee!"
"Quiet. I'll be right back. Stop hollering."

"Doooon't leeeeaaaaave meeeee!"
"I have to leave you to get Daddy. I'll just be gone a minute."

After a moment's consideration, "Doooon't leeeeaaaaave meeeee! You can't leeeeaaaaave meeeeeeee! Nooooooooo, Momma! Noooooo! *sob* *sob*" Now I was a dirty cranky baby all alone, locked in a bathroom. I waddled back and hopped up on the toilet to cry some more. After a moment, I knew they'd forgotten me. Everyone would go home, and they wouldn't find me until next week. So, I screamed bloody murder, "I'm IN HERE! Don't GO HOME! Dooooonn't leeeeeeeave meeeeee alooooone!" I promise; it all made perfect sense at the time.

So then the doorknob started rattling, which was really scary. I mean, they were coming to get me! "Who is that?!?" No answer. "Who are you?! Go AWAY! Daaaaadddddyyyyy!!!!" Babies are so rational.
"It's Daddy. Now be quiet!" And like that, the storm passed. No more tears. No more hollering. I had complete confidence that Dad would fix everything. He always had.

So I just listened to the whispering: I can't... it's not... Is the key somewhere? No. I'll go see if someone has a screwdriver in their truck.



"Are you still there, Daddy?"
"No, Daddy went to get a screwdriver."


"Daddy's here now."

You won't believe this, but the only person in the whole church who has a screwdriver is Bro. Red-Faced Preacher-Man (RFPM)... No... I know, just our luck... He stopped the sermon and asked the congregation. It kinda caught me off guard. I didn't expect him to do that. Everyone just looked at me.... He said, Well I do so I'll go take care of it. He's going out to his truck.... It's gonna be okay. This has to happen to other parents, too. All of those people in there have raised kids so they know. Don't cry. Here, don't cry. Here come some folks.

'This has to happen to other parents, too.' LOL Wishful thinking, Dad. Wishful thinking.


"Are you still there, Daddy?"
"No, but I'm here... with a few people."
"Who? Who's there?"
She named a few ladies names... "and some other people." I liked them all so I said, "Hi!" They said, "Hi!" I said, "Thanks for coming. I'm locked in the bathroom, and I need Momma in here to help me. Daddy's gonna get me out."

These ladies reassured Mom and possibly drew the rest of the crowd back there. Dad had gone to RFPM because he was so embarrassed to try to convince him to let him take care of it so RFPM could finish his sermon.

RFPM: So she locked herself in there? She can lock it, but she can't unlock it? Tina, come unlock this door right now.
Tina: I tried. I can't.
RFPM: Well, you locked it; didn't you? Try again.
Tina: I can't!
RFPM: You come unlock this door, or I'm gonna come in there and get you.

That spurred some action but no success.

RFPM: Well, what're we gonna do? Lemme try this.
*fiddle* *fiddle* *fiddle*
Dad: Can I help?
RFPM: This isn't working. I'm trying to see if it's going to be easier to take the doorknob off or the hinges. I guess the doorknob.
*fiddle* *fiddle* *fiddle*

Mom: We're going to take the doorknob off, Tina.
Tina: Don't let the men see me! Mom, when they take the doorknob off, you come in and tell them to look away and close their eyes.
*laughter from outside, laughter by many*
Mom: You better be covered up, because they're coming in, and there's nothin' I can do about it. The whole church is out here, and they're all waiting to see you.

"Ok. Give me a minute! Don't come in yet!" Never has a child completed a potty training transition so quickly. *flush* I even climbed up onto the sink to wash my hands and make sure I looked okay, "I'm ready!"

The doorknob fell on the floor. "Pee-pie! I see you!" said RFPM. "Hey! Can I come out now?!" I clasped my hands in front of my chest, so full of hope. "Jus' a minute. I gotta get one more thing out.... Alright. You can come out!"
They were lining the walls down the hallway to the bathroom. A cheer rose up. I received applause. How about that for some positive reinforcement???

Meanwhile, my parents, especially my mom, were apologizing to RFPM, "I'm so sorry. We didn't expect you to end the service. I'm sorry we had to pull you away in the middle of the sermon. We should have waited until the end. Do you want to restart your sermon?"

RFPM: Nah... We could never get everyone back in there, and it's dinner time. (<--SEE? Food. Nom.)
Mom: I am so sorry. This will never happen again. I'll always stand in the doorway so she can't lock it.
RFPM: Don't you worry about it. It's like scripture says: there was an ox in a ditch. Do you know the story?
Mom shook her head. Dad nodded, "Go on..."
RFPM: There was a sick man that the Pharisees wouldn't heal. Jesus asked them why not. He said even if there was only an ox in a ditch, every one of them would get it out on a Sunday so why not heal this man. A man is worth more than an ox. So when somethin' needs to get done, you do it. God understands where your heart is. Some things are more important than church, or my sermons. Getting a little girl out of a locked bathroom was more important.

At this point, they were kinda relieved, perceiving they might not be social outcasts for the remainder of their lives.

RFPM: Besides, no one could hear my sermon over all her hollering!

Their hearts went *kerplunk*, and they were doomed to exile.

RFPM didn't see any sense in putting the knob back on until I grew up a bit, either. Months or years I don't remember, but I affected every person's bathroom experience in that church. Eventually someone taped some paper over the hole. When he did reinstall the knob, he made me demonstrate locking and unlocking it and promise that I'd never lock myself in the bathroom again.

I only tell you this so that if your kid locks him/herself in the bathroom during church and starts screaming at the whole congregation for someone to come wipe them off, you know they're not the first. They're the second.

May this missive reduce if not eliminate any shame you've ever felt regarding children, bathrooms, and churches,

A Chick Who Not Only is Potty-Trained But Can Work a Doorknob (on a good day at least)

PS: This is one story that I can out-tell Dad on.


  1. PS: RFPM and I, through other incidences involving adults and said demonstration discovered the knob was faulty. He was a fair guy. I ended up making him lock himself in there-- with his tools, though. lol He wasn't dumb.

  2. Replies
    1. Hello, nice to meet you! Alex said you're the current matushka.