Background Item #1: Emeril Lagasse is a chef who is famous for shouting "Bam!" while tossing a spicy ingredient into a dish on his cooking show. Having seen his show, our daughters know this. In fact, today in church as one of the pastors poured the last of the wine from a cruet into a chalice, Suzanna leaned over and whispered to me a punctuative "Bam!" We stifled giggles and proceeded with communion.
Background Item #2: When I was growing up, my parents often sang at home with my sisters and me--perhaps while walking across the yard to do a chore or while tucking us in before bed or as we cleared the table after supper or at any time for any reason. Sometimes we used words, sometimes we hummed, sometimes we beat out the rhythm of a song with our fingers on the kitchen counter, and sometimes we sang nonsense syllables to the melody of a song (e.g., if you know the tune to "Shave and a haircut, two bits," you can imagine our using that melody but singing "Bum chicka dum dum, bonk bonk"). Susan and I do that with our kids, too, who have even gotten into the habit of adding a nonsense syllable to indicate the end of a song--as a band might have its bass drum provide the final beat or its tuba give the concluding blat (e.g., "hi ho the derry oh, the farmer in the dell . . . bonk!").
After church today we came home and ate dinner, having conversation as a family (as we are wont to do) while sitting at the table. Joking around, I made up silly lyrics to some song that made the girls giggle; and meaning to participate in the fun, Suzanna piped up to provide the concluding "bonk" on the last beat of the song.
Because she already had "Bam!" on her mind from earlier in the morning (see Background Item #1 above), Suzanna opened her mouth to say that word when the last beat rolled around. Instead, what she shouted was "Damn!"
It was right on the beat, mind you; she couldn't be faulted there. But silence hung in the air as it sunk in to all of us--Suzanna included--just exactly what word she had said.
And then we all broke out in peals of laughter. She apologized and turned red and explained what she had meant to say and could barely breathe for all the giggling, and the rest of us guffawed right along with her and had tears running down our cheeks. There were several minutes of very healthy deep laughter as we enjoyed the humor of the situation. I may or may not have egged on further laughter with my subsequent comments about her salty language, the nature of her character, the kind of parents who would raise such a child, etc.
There may come a day when we don't find it nearly so funny to have a daughter who curses at the dinner table on a Sunday afternoon, but in the meantime, it was too hilarious an incident not to share with you, Faithful Reader.
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