Family holidays and clogger memories

Published 9:46 pm Wednesday, November 20, 2013

By Frank Roberts

It’s a seasonal dilemma. You want to spend Christmas with your non-dysfunctional family, but not all of them live within a few miles of your abode.

My children and great-grandchildren live nearby and I see them often — sometimes too often. Just kidding!

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Most of my grandchildren also live nearby, with the exception of Steven and Sara, who live in Arkansas. When we can, we fly them to North Carolina but, now and then, we go to the lovely town of Beebe and visit them.

They are grown now, but I have memories of one summer in that beautiful state. Steven was a first-grader; Sarah is two years older.

To begin at the end — I recall what happened when it was time for us to return home. He looked away from us, then quietly exited, coming back a few moments later. He had gone to get something — anything — that we could take back with us, to remind us of our happy vacation time.

Steven returned with a paper filled with a lot of small drawings. “You wanna take this with you?” he asked. “Hey,” his sister said, “they’re mine.” Then, she grasped the situation, smiled and said, “You can have it.”

Before we left, Steven said, “I wish North Carolina was in Arkansas, so we could be one family.” That was followed by our appreciative sniffles.

That particular visit marked the first time in our family history we didn’t have a family seasonal dinner — as we say in the South — ‘ta home.

It would have been difficult, anyway. David, my oldest, came to Virginia to visit his girlfriend’s family; Jennifer, my youngest, went to Florida to stay with her boyfriend’s family. (By the way, neither romance lasted very long). Clay, my middle one, was with us, since Steven and Sara are his’n.

While we were in Beebe, we stayed in a motel and, every night, Steven stayed with us, finding every excuse not to stay home.

When he got home he said, “I need to go back. I left some of my stuff there.”

A couple of Steven-isms:

  • He saw a film logo on television and noted, “that’s Warner Brothers. There’s a Warner sister, too.”
  • He is a talker and told us once, “When my thoughts run out, more come in.”
  • ”When you dial the operator, you have to use your pinky” (old-time stuff).
  • ”I wish I could fly, so I could get a star.”
  • ”If the moon were a cookie I’d fly up and get it. The holes in the moon are chocolate chips.”
  • Finally, he was walking backward one time, explaining, “I’m rewinding.”

And that winds up the fuzzy puppy stuff.

I see the Peanut City Cloggers are celebrating their 30th anniversary. I spent many happy times with them, and the Western Branch Cloggers. Got two good trips following them around — one to the New Orleans World’s Fair (a bummer, but the city was more interesting) — and another to Busch Gardens.

The youngsters are talented and have as much fun as their many fans.

Here is a gem from Henny Youngman, a big name in comedy in the good, old days: “Just think,” he said. “If it weren’t for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all.”

Finally, this baddie: Did you hear about the farmer who worked in a candy factory? He used to milk chocolate. Aargh!

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at