You know what they say....

Sitting in the living room, watching an episode of sunsets out the large, west facing picture window, my mom and I pinkie-promised over a nearly-finished crochet project that I mailed to her from Maryland over a year ago. "Alright, a month. I'll have it done, washed, blocked, and back here on the table by May 1st." The project smells sour, like spilled milk, a result of it being the centerpiece of a table that people of all ages use. Our littlest fingers interlock and we bounce our hands up and down. "Deal. A month"


My nine year old brother walks in with a blue elastic band, the kind typically around bunches of broccoli, wrapped tightly around his face. It digs into his cheeks and runs under his nose, above his upper lip. His top lip is puffed out with blood, shoved forward by the pressure, and somewhat resembles a reconstructed cleft. His arms are held tightly at his sides, shoulders raised in box-like form. He looks like a martian.

"Look at me." He laughs.

Mom: "What are you doing?"
Whit: "Look at me!"
Mom: "Why are your arms like that?"

He drops his shoulders and shakes his shirt back into place. And I begin laughing, "look at his face! He's got an elastic around his face!"

Laughter. So much laughter that I have a hard time getting the words out... the words that were still forming and then interrupted

Mandy: "You know what they say, Whit...."
Whit: "Yeah, yeah. I know." He starts walking away, defeated.

Mom and I burst out laughing, tears begin forming in the corners of our creased eyes, and I poke fun at Whit for knowing what "they say," when I had not even finished my own thought. What do they say? I wasn't sure... but I had a few ideas.

Mom: "Whit, what do they say?"
Whit: "Uhhh, ummm, like that if you make a funny face or something it will stick like that."
Mandy: "Not what I was thinking. I was going to say that if you wrap an elastic band around a bull's balls..." awkward...murmuring.... "Ah nevermind. I was just going to say your face might get cut in half."

Mom tries to add to the point, explaining the same idea about an elastic band with the example of wrapping one around a lamb's tail... perhaps an example more appropriate for a clueless nine year old.

Whit's face looks very, very confused at this point and both my mom and I can't find the breath to get out any more words between the gasps of air we both need to laugh. We are laughing and crying, and alligator tears are running down my face. This kind of happiness is good on a Sunday evening. The taught muscles of my gut, the pain in my diaphragm from struggling for air, it's too much and I jump up trying to stretch out my middle. And then I fall to the floor, rolling, laughing,crying, all while Whit is pressing my mom to finish the thought I left behind... the thought about the bull's balls.

Whit: "Mom, tell me. What, do they like snap them off?"

We are all laughing too hard to answer and Mom tells him to ask me, and he comes to find me in the hallway, pressing for an explanation. And so my Sunday goes, telling my youngest sibling how to neuter a bull.


  1. Hey that kid was me, I am Whit.Well I still remember that moment in time! Its like it was Yesterday! Wait a minute! That was Today! Well bye Mandy.


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