Queen Winabel’s Parade

My friend Sara has tagged me to list seven random facts about myself.  Since I enjoyed reading hers so much, I thought I’d play along.  So, at the risk of revealing just how odd I am, here goes:

1.  I learned to ride a unicycle before I learned to ride a bike.  And, in fact, I still own a battered Schwinn unicycle.  I had not ridden it for some time when, last summer, my children coerced me into getting back on the thing.  It probably wasn’t such a good idea to do cross-country with it across our yard.  Let me just say that flying through the air and hitting the ground hard is a lot different when you’re almost fifty than when you’re seven.

2.   Writing about my life as a unicyclist brings back the memory of the first time my Mama ever embarrassed me.  I was seven years old and riding my unicycle in the Greensboro Christmas parade, dressed, appropriately enough, as a clown.   Mama didn’t want me to ride that day because I had asthma and the temperature was in the teens, but I was a stubborn little cuss.  I loved the crowd adulation and waving like I was famous or something.  About halfway through, I was feeling a little wheezy-not-to-mention-woozy, when I saw my parents on the sidelines.   My mother was hollering something, but I just waved and rode on.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that she was striding towards me, and I realized, to my horror, that Mama was coming to take me out of the parade. So, as she drew near, I suddenly banked to the right in a clever evasive maneuver and began to ride circles around her.  She was not amused…but neither was she deterred.  Mama walked along with me, turning in circles herself, watching me (as Daddy used to say) like a hawk watching a chicken.  The crowd went wild, alternately laughing and cheering.  I knew when I was whipped, so I surrendered and dismounted from my unicycle—a sad and defeated clown.  Mama grabbed me with one hand and my unicycle with the other and walked regally and with great dignity back to where Daddy was—our own little absurd miniature reverse parade.  My mother told me later that she took me out because my face was purple, which I reckon was red from exertion and the blue from the cold. 

3.   I wish I were as bold as Mama was.   The parade incident was definitely not the last time she embarrassed me.  When we ate in restaurants, if the food or the service was not up to her standards, she’d summon the manager to her table.  (Notice I said, summon the manager to her table.  She didn’t feel she should have to seek him out).  And by the time Queen Winabel was done with the hapless manager, even the ones who’d started out cocky would practically be kissing her royal feet. 

4.  My daughter Ariel (aka Lucky Pennies) is just like Queen Winabel (the Grandma she never knew) in that way.  Even when she was younger, Ariel would return something to a store when it didn’t live up to her expectations, even when she was so small she couldn’t see over the customer service counter.

5.   My son Benjamin has grown to be like his Grandma, too, as though her spirit lives on in him, emboldening him, convicting him of the certainty that he deserves nothing but the best, as the beloved grandson of Queen Winabel.

6.   I am really, really bad about going off on tangents.  I start out with one thought, which triggers another, then another, until my thoughts are taking off like a runaway circus train.     Perhaps you have noticed this.

7.   When I was young, I saw fairies.  Since my home life was a little tumultuous (at least until my brother got sent to reform school and my sister married at eighteen), I spent a lot of time outdoors.  I talked to trees and birds and squirrels and saw fairies.  They did not look like Tinkerbell and did not talk to me.  They were little beings of light going about their fairy business.  Sadly, I do not see fairies now.

Well, if you didn’t think I was weird before, I’m sure you do now.  That’s okay….some of my best friends are weird.

I think I’m supposed to tag others now, so you are hereby tagged.  Come on, it’s really kind of fun. 

Tell us who you really are. 

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7 Responses to “Queen Winabel’s Parade”

  1. luckypennies Says:

    I’m your weirdest best friend! :D

    I love this post. Your writing is particularly lucid in this. And it’s really nice to see the memories that you’ve passed down to us by mouth written out. Nice.

  2. June Says:

    I wish blogging had been around when my mom was living…maybe I’d have been lucky enough to have had her write out some history like you have/you do here. Thanks for your well wishes. This cold is a real beast… I hardly have enough energy to care about anything…lost days in my life!

  3. colleen Says:

    The universal kid. We all looked so much alike. My mother used to embarrass us by talking to strangers in what we thought was a loud voice. I do it now, myself. The unicycle scene is a funny one to visualize.

  4. Bonnie Jacobs Says:

    When I got this meme it asked for SIX odd or quirky things. As you can see, I went with QUIRKY and used lots of Qs to write about myself, here:
    http://bonniesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/01/im-quirky-like-that.html

    Thanks for sharing. I discovered even riding a bicycle in my sixties was a different kind of experience. I didn’t fall down, but my center of gravity has definitely shifted since I was a young’un.

  5. Benjamin Says:

    This reads very nicely. I appreciate the humor of your stories, and your boldness in riding the unicycle after thirty-some odd years with no practice! There’s nothing like a unicycle to generate some old-fashioned good times.

  6. Sara Says:

    Have you read Elisabeth Kubler Ross’s book about her own illness and impending death?. In it she talks about her relationship with fairies and with her spirit guide. I’m still not sure, but maybe that’s just ignorance talking.

  7. eemilla Says:

    After I saw Fantasia for the first time, I wanted so badly to grow up and be a faery, but I’ve never had the pleasure of an actual sighting.

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