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Kids

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By Ken Begley

Kids. You can’t beat them. At least not where it shows. Just joking.

Normally, kids, after a certain age, are embarrassed to be seen with their parents. It’s just a total lack of maturity on their part.

Take me, for instance.

What kid in their right mind wouldn’t want to be seen with me at their side out in public? Several adults, who will remain nameless, might not, but what kid? After all, they’re not as intelligent as you are due to their lack of years on this Earth.

Be that as it may, you kids sometimes embarrass the bejeevers out of your parents.

It generally ends up centering on their ability to make hair-trigger decisions with little or no forethought. Most times, the kid will take the fall for their actions and will eventually get a degree in the “school of hard knocks.” I, personally, being rather slowwitted, achieved a masters degree in this area.

Other times, the parents gets drawn into their webs and get eaten like a bug. I have numerous examples of my own kids’ tomfoolery right here in a locked filing cabinet by my knees.

Let’s see. I’ll just thumb through a few here and find one appropriate for this column.

Nope, can’t use that one. The statue of limitations hasn’t run out.

Better not use this one either. I’m going to use it to blackmail the little hooligans so I can get that luxury nursing home down in Florida when the time comes.

No-go on this one. I don’t want anyone reading this at the supper table losing their favorite desert on our account.

Well, here’s one from a few years back.

It was at a St. Dominic fall social, like the one they’re having in the new gym on Sept. 25. It’s that steak dinner affair they hold each year. You know. They have the bingo cards, Jar Co, face painting, and so on.

Yes, that story will do.

Cindy and I bring the kids to the dinner and then give them some money to play at the various booths. I always do my impression of an ATM machine and start spitting out what seems to be a never-ending stream of cash during these events.

Strange, I always tend to come out weighing less than when I went in, even though I eat heartily. I haven’t figured that out.

I have no desire to play any of the games, so I always sit there at a table guarding the loot while the kids and Cindy run around to the booths. That year, Alex Mann won a huge basket of toys in his first go at one of the booths. Fortunately for us, most of the toys were for little girls, and he generously gave them to my two youngest daughters.

By the way, junior woodchucks, you want to know how to pick out a middle-aged daddy with a bunch of daughters at one of these functions? He’s the guy with all that girlly stuff stacked up around him while he’s holding on to his wife’s purse. It’s not a pretty sight.

Anyway, Cindy has a weakness for the bingo peal off cards. You get a pack of cards and peal away on them until you get one that actually spells out BINGO in different colors. She had several green Bingo cards to redeem at the counter. These are the lowest level and generally you just sign them and they’re tossed into a bucket for a later drawing.

We sent Jenny, who was then nine years old, up to redeem the cards. Suddenly, Jenny showed back up about a minute later with a really nice framed picture of a vase.

“Wow,” I thought. “Not bad. I’ll hang that in the hall.”

Cindy looked puzzled.

“Are you sure they gave you that for the green cards? I didn’t think you got anything for green cards except a chance in another drawing later.”

“Nope, they said we won it,” Jenny replied.

I said, in a moment of generosity with a significant winning like this, “Here’re a couple of extra bucks. Go play a few more booths.”

She smiled and ran off as fast as she could.

I was admiring my artwork when the head bingo cop, Angela Young, came over to the table and looked down at the picture.

“Hey, where’d you get that, Begley?”

“Right here from....” but Jenny was gone.

I had a sinking feeling at that moment that I had been left the fall guy holding some hot merchandise while my money was being rapidly spent.

It turned out Jenny had snatched up the picture thinking they said she won it, while the true owner was looking at something else. At least that was story she gave me.

The owner got her picture back.

I didn’t get back the extra money I gave Jenny.