Thursday, July 21, 2011


(This blog was from last Sept. '10)

I hate to admit it but I love embarrassing moments. Yours. Not so much mine. We all have them. Like warts, they grow on us with time. Hopefully we can eventually laugh at ourselves. But still, it's more fun to laugh at yours!

So I'll start with Doug's. It was homecoming day at Bethel Church in Kinston, NC, and we had over 500 there.
He led the congregational singing with verve! He gestured for them to stand then enthusiastically announced, "Turn in your hymnals to page 25 as we sing JESUS SHAVES!"

He did not.

My big brother, Bert, sang with his college quartet and years ago another enthusiastic member misspoke the song title, "Let's all sing I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMETH LIVER!"

My family never lets me forget our reunion song fest when I sang fortissimo, "Soon our harpy hats* will quiver..." (*happy hearts) Spoonerisms plagued me all my life!
Another musical low point for me was during a Fourth of July service. Singing the familiar words to God, Bless America, I heard myself sing,

From the mountains,
To the oceans

(Frantic thoughts in 3 beats: Uh-oh, that shoulda been prairies...can't reverse them...prairies aren't white with foam! Whattodo? Whattodo? Well, we DO have Atlantic and Pacific, so I repeated)

White with foam.
God, bless America, my home, sweet home!

Those pesky spoonerims spawned in my young brain years earlier. I sat next to my new boyfriend, Sandy Goodfellow, in church one evening. The children (I was 14, no longer a child) stood in front of the congregation, looking up Bible verses as fast as they could. This was commonly called a Sword Drill. Wanting to appear spiritual to Sandy, I raced the children to the Bible verses. Mine was an old Bible, the hard cover held on by a few threads. My zeal towards Zephaniah caused the binding to fall off and plop onto my lap.

In my most mature voice, I exclaimed, "Oh my goodness! My Bible's palling afart!"

A fart? Did I just say a FART? In church? In front of Sandy? Maybe he didn't hear me. . .

I dared not move a muscle, except my eyes. My peripheral vision clearly saw his shoulders shaking. Yes, he was laughing at me. AT me! I was NOT laughing. But his family and our church youth group heard about it, and laughed for the next 50 years! OK. It has wart status now. I can laugh at myself.

Those spoonerisms still sneak up on me occasionally. I recently assigned a student another week to work on her challenging piano piece with, "Karen, let's take another geek and wet it."

"Mrs. Henderson, do you know what you just said?" Usually not.

Even as a kid, according to Mom, I watched her read "mazagines" and played hopscotch on the "widesalk." Sometimes I'd ask for a "picktooth."

Still though, I'd rather laugh at others. Especially preachers. One Sunday morning our pastor, Tag Kilgore, made a simple sermon point and drove it in with, "Now, folks! It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to get this!" Good thing. I never met one of those. And brain scientists scare me! I have seen them in sci-fi movies! Did Tag realize what he'd said? Like me, probably not. . .until now.

Neither did another preacher, our beloved David Paramore, as he expounded on Moses standing before the burning bush.
In his biggest echo-chamber, Godlike voice, he boomed, "MOSES! Take off your FEET! You're standing on holy ground. And he obeyed."

Ouch! Bet that was painful.

One day I may write a book on all those funny things we. . .you say. I doubt Thomas Nelson could publish it uncensored though!

Embarrassing moments are not limited to what we say. Actions spiel louder than words.

Like the Sunday in Cofers Chapel vestibule as we were about to head home. Doug and I were filing out as I was talking to someone (imagine that.) Slightly behind me, he moved away to talk to someone too but I didn't know that. So without turning my head, I wrapped my arm into the familiar crook of his. I continued conversing, facing the opposite direction. Only when I turned, it wasn't HIS arm I clung to! Dr. Robert Picirilli, my college Bible professor, just grinned, waiting for me to notice and release my grip on him.

"AK-KKKK!" I squawked. Clara Picirilli and Doug grinned too.

Worse than a wrong arm though was my most embarrassing Canadian moment. We were visiting our daughter, Katy and her hubby, Dave, for the birth of their first son, Andrew.
Out on errands, it began to snow. Hard. One last stop.

"Kat, we'll park and wait right here in the store loading zone while you run in, rather than get Katy and the baby out," Doug wisely advised. Good idea. The burgundy van stopped at the curb and I hopped out. By the time I'd checked out, it was almost a whiteout.

So glad the van's right here by the door. I won't even bother with my coat since I can jump right in.

Shaking the snow off my hair and shoulders, I flopped into the front seat, lugged in my purse and shopping bag then slammed my door. "Man! It's really coming down, Doug!" Then I turned and saw a gray-bearded man in his 60's behind the wheel, and a wide-eyed, young boy in the seat behind him.

"Oh-hhh! You're not Doug!" I started apologizing all over the place, gathering up my bags.

The Burl Ives look-alike belly laughed, "No, but it's OK. I've not had a pretty girl hop in my van since the 60's! I enjoyed it! Anytime, eh?!"

Pretty girl? I'm a grandmother for Pete's sake! Crazy hippie! Get me outta here!

Doug had moved the OTHER burgundy van to a parking place. You don't want to know what I said to him when I explained my embarrassing predicament. But as he drove past the old-hippie van, they both rolled down their windows. Doug hollered through the storm, "Thanks for taking in my wife!"

"Sure! I told her anytime!" They laughed AT me. Not WITH me. Again. These things must simmer awhile in order to bubble into my funny bone.

I could tell you more, like taking my newborn daughter, Katy, to the vet by accident. Or I could reveal the time in Cuba, getting out of the pool when I was given a helping hand by a man, when my bathing suit top flopped down. He gripped both my hands so there was no retrieving it as he hoisted me up. The fact that I was 11 and had nothing to really be embarrassed about was precisely what was so embarrassing!

Embarrassing moments. I'm funny all right, but looks aren't everything. I showed you mine. Now show me yours!

Laughing at myself,
(If you read last week's blog on Thurs.-Sun., you may want to scroll back down to the end of it again. I added an UPDATE on Sunday when Doug set me up. . .AGAIN! When will I become more observant?)


  1. Judy Combs Puckett wrote:

    Loved's another one for you. I heard about a single lady in a church with a single pastor. Everyone knew she had a slight crush on him, but was surprised to have her announce it during a testimony service. She stood and said, "Brother Lord, I sure do love Larry."

  2. From Tag Kilgore (after I outed him here):
    You're forgiven. Loved the blog--it made me laugh out loud and remember some of my own. Good job!

  3. June Picirilli McVaySeptember 16, 2010 at 6:57pm
    Subject: From my Dad

    I sent the paragraph that you wrote about embarrassing things that had to do with my Dad...and this was his response:

    Tell Kathy that I remember it well. That wasn’t the only time such a thing happened to me. Billie Sexton (Don Sexton’s wife) did the same thing one night (in Hixon, TN). I did something even worse. . . I thought I was standing next to Clara and patted _____ on her fanny and said, “Let’s go.” You know how red _____’s face can get!

    Tell Kathy that Clara and I really do intend, some time when we’re in Florence, to get in touch and have lunch with her and Doug. It just seems like the short time we’re there fills up so fast that we never get around to it.
    Kathy here--I blanked out the name in Pic's story, at her request!