22 | Familyisms

May 15, 2008
Thursday, 2:00 p.m.
Letter #22: Familyisms

 

Dear Family,

Greetings! Beginning with this letter, I’m going to attempt to keep alive various “familyisms” I’ve grown to love over the years, but which I’m afraid will quickly fade with non-use into the abyss of my vast forgetfulness. Thus, I’ll try my best to salvage one per letter, as I’m able. If you catch yourselves speaking a long-ago gem—a treasure of speech from yesteryear, as it were, please do me the favor of re-living it for me.

For this issue, I bring you a piece of work nearly 18 years old. I just had to use it on my cellie (more about Jonathon in a subsequent letter, including why I chose to keep his identity unknown for nearly two weeks).

I’m standing at the foot portion at the side of my bunk, silent. I’m holding a pencil in hand, and a paper sits patiently beneath its tip as it receives my feelings put into words. The recipient? It could be any one of you, really, but this time, it was to Daddy in response to a letter I’d just received from him. My cellie (again—much more on him later) began talking. Well, words came out of the biggest hole in his head, anyway.

I paused my thought and information flow to “sip of the nectar” of his words. Unsure of their intent and direction, I decided to ignore the verbiage and press on with my letter writing. Not for long. Again, words. Again, I tried to assimilate them into meaningful strands, wanting desperately to either categorize them as pieces of conversation or discard them as mindless babble, but “caught betwixt the two.”

I responded to a question-like phrase with “I’m not sure.” The light came on. Jonathon recognized that I must be busy. Why, after nearly two weeks of living mere inches from me this was a surprise, I don’t know. He actually asked me, “Oh, are you writing?”

My response? “Nah. I’m making pancakes.”

Yep. Mark was around 2–3 years old when his “Michael dooning?” or “Tata dooning?” began to get that frustrated response to the obvious, instead of just saying, “I’m tying my shoes, Markie!”

Love ya all!

Christopher