David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families — Fathers, Food

Fathers

• Joe Garagiola led a very busy life in broadcasting for a long time. How busy was he? He walked into the door of his house one day, and his wife told their three-year-old daughter, “It’s Daddy!” His daughter asked, “What channel?” Mr. Garagiola says, “When your own kids only recognize you when you’re on TV, it’s time to do some thinking.”

• Meredith Willson’s father, whose favorite movie actress was Anita Stewart, was as stubborn as only a person from Iowa can be. Mr. Willson’s father referred to her as “An-eye-ta,” and when Mr. Willson told him that she called herself “An-ee-ta,” he replied, “She’s mistaken.”

• A good father had a bad son who gave him trouble and heartbreak. The son even abandoned God. When the father complained to the founder of Hasidism, the Baal Shem Tov, and asked what he should do, the Baal Shem Tov replied, “Love him more than ever.”

• A contestant on the old TV show Name That Tune was trying to guess a song that was titled “Christopher Columbus.” The host of the show gave her a hint: “If he didn’t do what he did, you wouldn’t be here today.” The contestant answered, “My father.”

• Comedian Sam Kinison’s father was a preacher. Whenever word of Sam’s often wild and crazy lifestyle came back home, his father would tell his congregation, “I’ve been praying for your children for years. Now it’s time for you to pray for one of mine.”

Food

• This is a story told by Irving Cramer, the Executive Director of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. A kindergarten teacher once asked her students how many of them had eaten breakfast that morning. About half had, so the teacher asked those who hadn’t eaten, why not. Some didn’t eat breakfast because they didn’t like what was served or because they had gotten up late, but one child said, “It wasn’t my turn.” The teacher asked the child to explain, and he said, “There are five kids in my family. But we don’t have enough money to buy enough food so that everybody can eat breakfast every day. We take turns eating breakfast, and today, it wasn’t my turn.”

• In 1994, ice dancers Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh competed at the World Championships, finishing a respectable 13th. However, the next year this married couple had trouble finding enough food to eat and enough training time in their native Russia and so finished 15th at the 1995 World Championships. Therefore, they moved to Delaware in the United States where they found plenty of food and training time, enabling them to finish 6th at the 1996 World Championships. They kept improving and finally got on the medals stand by finishing 3rd at the 2001 World Championships.

• When Aung San Suu Kyi was a little girl in Burma, she was afraid of the dark, but she wanted to overcome her fear. Each evening, her mother made hot milk for each of the children to drink, but Suu Kyi didn’t like her milk hot, so she would leave it to cool, and later each evening, she would drink the milk alone in the dark. She says, “The first few days my heart would go ‘thump, thump, thump,’ but after five or six days I got quite used to it.” In 1991, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to bring freedom to the people of Burma.

• Actor Walter Matthau’s mother didn’t know to cook. One of the things she didn’t know how to cook was meat loaf — which she steamed along with assorted vegetables. One day, Mr. Matthau and Jennie, his nine-year-old daughter, went to her house for dinner. After dinner, Mr. Matthau noticed that Jennie’s back pocket had a large wet spot, and he asked her about it. She answered, ”Don’t tell grandma. Please, don’t tell grandma.” She had stuffed the meatloaf and steamed vegetables in her back pocket.

• A large family — with seven children between age three to age 13 — walked into a restaurant. Because so many young children were in the family, the waitresses and management were worried that they would be rowdy and disturb the other patrons of the restaurant. However, the children knew their manners and behaved correctly — no yelling, no fighting, no playing. When the family had finished eating, the waitress presented them with their bill — with 10 percent deducted for good behavior!

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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