Irrepressible Jim Bob
Mom was never comfortable "entertaining." If people - usually members of the U of M faculty - were to come over to our house on Third Street, she would fret all day in anticipation of such an ordeal. There were some who might "drop in" such as "Uncle Jess and Aunt Nellie" Thornton (Engineering English professor) and Mr. Beeler from next door. That was all right, but any kind of a formal gathering made her very nervous.
© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008
Once, when I was four or five years old, a group of faculty was invited over for the evening. Mom told me that I could stay with "the company" until my 8:00 bedtime. One proviso: I must be QUIET "or I will take you down cellar and spank you!"
She did not have to worry about Orlando, because, being shy, he would retreat after the introductions to his little room at the top of the stairs and not be heard from again. But, as I said elsewhere, being the "gregarious and garrulous type," I loved being with everybody.
When they all gathered, I was on my best behavior and was, for me, quiet and did not intrude into the conversation. Mom kept giving me warning looks when I started to blurt out some comment.
As the evening wore on, I became like a kettle with a lid on and struggled valiantly to be still. Finally I had "had it," and burst out, "Well, Mama, you had better take me down to the cellar and spank me because I can't be quiet any more!"
I would gladly report the sensation that my announcement made, but, alas, I do not remember. You can imagine for yourself: Mom going through the floor; guests hiding giggles; Dad embarrassed, and all eyes centered on Jim Bob.
Composed 6 October 2008; Transcribed by Lucky
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