Terry Talbert: Time for some potpourri

September 13, 1997

It's Antietam Battlefield re-enactment time. I'm sitting in the office and my mind is being blitzed by traffic snarl information coming from two police scanners.

In the best of times, I have trouble thinking coherently. I attribute that to hormonal imbalance complicated by brain death incurred as a direct result of working at a newspaper.

Therefore ... potpourri.

* The following are among recent quotable quotes uttered by 8-year-old Sam, a friend's precocious daughter.

- "Girls are smarter than boys and more attractive and we don't drink from the toilet."

- After playing with crayons: "Mom, my fingers are all black, and I just took a bath last month!" (Mom insists that Sam in fact had just bathed the night before. She just wants to set the record straight).


- "Mom, maybe this summer I'll get a job. I'm going to dance in the streets so people will throw coins - at least it will put bread on the table."

Sam then went into her room and reappeared with a red boot. She stuck it in her mom's face. (She sticks things in her mom's face a lot and her mom detests it.) "Put all your coins in it," Sam ordered. Her mom rolled her eyes and dropped a couple pennies in the boot.

Sam carried the boot into the living room, where her 4-year-old brother Ryan sat. "Look, I have coins in this boot," Sam announced.

"Where did you get them?" Ryan asked.

Sam was heading into her bedroom with her cache. She was clearly insulted by her brother's question. "For your information, I earned them," she spat, as she glared at him over her shoulder.

* My brother Ralph, his family and I were at my mom's house during my last visit. We were watching the Ohio lottery game drawings. "One of the winners' names was ... Well, I'll call her Vetta, which is, believe it or not, very close to her actual name.

Ralph was sitting in dad's old easy chair, chuckling.

"Look at her!" he said, pointing to the TV screen. He was laughing that evil laugh of his. "Vetta looks like she could chew the head off a railroad spike," he said. HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

"Ralph, that's not nice," mom said. "She's probably a very nice person."


* Mom came to visit me in Hagerstown a few weeks ago. It was deja vu, at least as far as sleeping was concerned. Mom had the bed. I took the couch. I reminded her that during her last visit she seemed to have an uncontrollable urge to wake me up when SHE got up - usually around 6 a.m. I pointed out that this disturbed me deeply and made me want to kill her. She promised me it wouldn't happen this time.


Mom got in Friday. She went to bed about 9 p.m. I was up until around midnight. Saturday morning arrived. From the depths of sleep, I heard a voice from above my prone body on the couch. It belonged to my mother.

"Terry, you're dreaming, aren't you?"

I'm a light sleeper. "What, mom?" I mumbled.

"You're dreaming, aren't you?"

"No, mom, I'm sleeping." My eyes were still closed.

"No you're not," she argued. "You aren't sleeping. You're talking to me."

"Mom, believe me. I'm sleeping."

"No you're not," she insisted. "You must be awake, because you're talking to me. So let's go to breakfast. I'm hungry."

"Mom, what time is it?"

"It's time to get up," she said.

"WHAT TIME IS IT, MOM???" I demanded.

"It's 6:30," she said.

At that point I opened my eyes. Wide.

"Don't glare at me like that," my mother said.

I did not know until then that it was possible for a laid-back human being to be completely irate upon awakening.

It just goes to show ... you're never too old to learn from your parents.

Terry Talbert is a Herald-Mail staff writer.

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