David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families — Children, Christmas

Children

• A church-going young mother and her two young daughters were shopping in a health-food store when a tall, strong, white-robe-wearing elderly man with long, white hair and beard walked in. The younger daughter stared at the man until her older sister told her, “No, Regan, it’s not God.”

• The Reverend James Bence was visiting the family of the Reverend Ed Crandall when he asked Crandall’s young son, “Well, Steve, have you been a good boy lately?” Steve answered, “Yes.” The Reverend Bence then asked, “Are you good all of the time?” Young Steve answered, “Well, are you?”

• A prosthesis (an artificial limb) is a useful thing, but it can cause some strange phone calls. A mother once received this call from a camp for children with cancer: “Mrs. Anderson? Robin broke a leg on the trail. Could you please send up another one on a plane?”

• English entertainer Joyce Grenfell had an Uncle Buck who was a rolling stone. According to family lore, when his youngest child was being taught the prayer, “Our father which art in Heaven,” the child looked up and said, “Mama, where’s Papa gone now?”

• Art Linkletter used to interview very young children, and he had great success asking them what their parents had told them not to say on the show. A little girl once responded, “She told me not to announce that she was pregnant.”

• As a child, violinist Mischa Elman played Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata, which includes some long pauses, before some relatives. During one of the pauses, his aunt asked, “Why don’t you play something you know, Mischa?”

• As a child, Frida Kahlo was mischievous. Sometimes, she soaped the steps near where Mexican artist Diego Rivera was working, in the hope that he would slip on the stairs and fall. When she grew up, she married Mr. Rivera.

• Country comedian Jerry Clower has children who can make him laugh. When Katy Burns, his daughter, was four, she pulled off her gloves, then called, “Daddy! Daddy! If I had one more finger, I could count to 11.”

• Ballerina Anna Pavlova was made very happy when she received a copy of a child’s essay that began, “Once I saw a fairy. Her name was Anna Pavlova.”

Christmas

• Early in the 20th century, a custom in some parts of the United States was to tie presents to a Christmas tree at the church and have Santa Claus come to the church for a party and pass out all the presents. At one such Christmas Eve party, a little girl, the daughter of the richest and most miserly man in town, showed up for the party and the passing out of presents. (Her older brothers stayed away because they realized that their father was too stingy to put a present on the tree for them.) As the evening passed, the little girl’s name wasn’t called even once. Fortunately, Alyene Porter, the youngest daughter of the preacher, noticed what was happening. She told her mother, who re-wrapped Alyene’s present to her, a bottle of perfume, and put the little girl’s name on it, then surreptitiously hung it on the tree. When Santa Claus finally called her name, the little girl cried out, “He did call it! He did call it! I did get a present!”

• Christmases when religious writer Dale Hanson Bourke was a little girl were sometimes surprising. One Christmas the presents were placed in the shower stall. Her father explained that since their house didn’t have a fireplace, Santa Claus must have squeezed through the water pipes to come inside and leave presents. On one Christmas Eve, little Dale was allowed to choose one present to open, so she chose the biggest present. However, her parents had guessed that she would choose that present so they had filled it with nuts. Although everyone laughed, her parents knew that she was disappointed, so they let her open the rest of her presents.

• One Christmas, Pope John XXIII went to a children’s hospital to visit the patients. One child, Silvio Colagrande, had been blind, but could now see because a dying priest, Don Gnocchi, had willed his eyes to Silvio and the corneas had been transplanted. Upon seeing the Pope, Silvio called out, “I see you with Don Gnocchi’s eyes.” Another child, seven-year-old Carmine Gemma, had recently become blind as the result of an attack of meningitis. He told Pope John XXIII, “You’re the Pope, I know, but I can’t see you.” The Pope held Carmine’s hands for a while, then he murmured, “We are all blind, sometimes.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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