“Do it again!!!… Do it again!!!…” the four year old me would shriek as Uncle Ray took off his finger, then plonked it back on again. This week’s Gould’s “Family History Through the Alphabet” challenge I dedicate to all our Ancestral “Jolly Jokesters” who filled the lives of family and friends with fun and laughter as they shared their Jokes, Japes and Jolliness.
Uncle Ray wasn’t “really” my Uncle but the husband of mum’s much loved cousin Patricia (Pat) Behenna. How I loved those Sunday “arvo” visits and waited with joyful anticipation, at the front fence, for Uncle Ray’s “ute” to pull up and the man himself to climb out. That was another exciting thing about Uncle Ray – his “ute”. No-one else had such a fun car which I so loved to go driving in.
To me Uncle Ray was truly a “giant of a man”… full of fun, laughter and jokes and never too busy “chinwagging”, with the “grown ups”, to get down on his knees and delight all the “tin-ribs” with his new Jokes and the patient re-telling of the old. Forever a curious child, I can still see and feel Uncle Ray’s rough, workman’s finger which he happily proffered for close in-spection. I finally came to the conclusion that the secret to his “magic finger” lay in the mole above the knuckle of his right fore-finger. Of course that was how he could take his finger off and put it back on again!!!
Then there’s Auntie Maggie and Auntie Hilda (my mum’s Aunts), who would often join us on our regular “Sunday drives” in the Adelaide Hills. They delighted in pointing out the cows who were born with legs shorter on one side so they could stand and graze of the hillsides, and the round concrete platforms where “the King and Queen danced” when they came to Australia. The gullble child in me believed all their “stories”. How well I remember mum chastising Auntie Maggie who loved to say “yum, yum, lamb chops!!!” when we’d see new born lambs frolicking in the paddocks so, behind mum’s back, she’d simply roll her eyes and lick her lips. We children would screech with laughter and Auntie Maggie would “act the innocent” which made us laugh all the more. I still wonder at the meaning of “A Wig Wam for a Gooses Bridle/Bridal” which was the Aunts’ reply when choosing not to answer a question.
Who could ever forget my beloved Grandpa’s “party trick”? He would cut up those thin “cigarette papers” fringe the edge, lick the “sticky side”, glue them to is eyelids and just sit quietly waiting for someone to comment. Everyone would ignore him and me, the ever observant/ “sticky beak” of a child would wait and watch to see which adult would finally give in and say, “Fred, take those off!!!”. Of course, he would “act the innocent”. Mmmh… whatever happened to all those coins we KNOW were in the “Chrissie Pud”? You can read about that here.
Last, but not least, is my mum‘s delight in “April Fool’s Day” jokes. She’d be the first up every morning, all “bright eyed and bushy tailed” and I, the proverbial “night owl” and a hopeless “sleepy head”, was “just ripe for the picking.” Every year mum would catch me out but one year, in particular, remains stuck in my “memory box”. Stumbling out to breakfast I took the plate off my cereal bowl, vaguely wondering why mum had put a plate there and in the bottom of the bowl sat the note “APRIL FOOL”. For years I kept reliving my teenage outrage and complaining, “but that’s not FAIR mum… it’s not even a JOKE!!!” My gorgeous mum would just smile, say not a word and continue on with whatever she was doing. Ahhh… luvya and still miss ya mum xxx.
I wonder who were the Jolly Jokesters in your Family line and what the Jokes are that remain part of your own family folk-lore?… Perhaps it’s you who is today’s family Jokester with Jolly Jokes, of your own, which will pass down through time?
SOURCES: Thankyou to Richard Lewis for the picture of the 1951-53 Holden FX Ute.
Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family