On the eve of what would have been (if my math is correct) my father’s 79th birthday, I offer a little ditty my father sang to me once when I was a child. He only had to sing it once, and it was instantly memorized, even though, seeing my mother’s chagrinned face (not quite suppressing her own amusement) and hearing her declaim “Oh, Bill!” he followed it with the caveat that I must never repeat it at school. Right.
The farmer went out to milk the cow, parlez-vous
the farmer went out to milk the cow, parlez-vous
He missed the tit and pulled the tail and all the shit went into the pail.
To this day, I cannot repeat it without laughing. Shamelessly. My father, a serious PhD’d linguist, had an impish scatalogical streak, a funny bone that responded to the most dry and sophisticated humor and sometimes the just plain silly. It was unpredictable, and to the end, one of the most disarming rewards was making him laugh.
In the 1980’s my father wore a tee-shirt that read All the world loves M&M’s! This was an inside joke, and a delightful puzzlement for those who knew him as a health nut, knowledgeable and stringent with matters of body ecology, and through whose lips chocolate did not pass; who did not consume coffee…orally. However, for decades, after a rigorous alternative health regimen that had sent his cancer into remission, my father relied on enemas, for which“M&M’s” was a code word in mixed company, yes, and, most decidedly, a term of endearment.
To this day, a bowl of M&M’s, especially now that they come in electric blue, looks unnatural to me, like a strangely enticing basket of plastic fruit, but it also invokes a secret world. And every child loves to know a secret, especially if she can’t eat M&M’s, and she doesn’t consume coffee …orally.