When I was a young and impressionable Scott, my dad had a habit of breaking out in song.
“Tiny bubbles in the wine,” he’d sing and stop there. Maybe he didn’t know the rest of the words, or maybe he didn’t care to bother.
“Hey, good-lookin’, whatcha got cookin? How’s about cookin’ somethin’ up with me?” was another one of his favorites.
He’d sing from the couch on Saturday morning, or on Tuesday night during the drive home from day care. He’d do it anytime, really.
In general, his singing signaled a good mood. I don’t recall specific causes or any patterns.
And it wasn’t always singing. Sometimes, out the clearest blue, he’d say, “Life is a bowl full of cherries.”
As mentioned earlier, I was young and impressionable. Now, I’m not quite as young and I’ve got two kids of my own.
“Hey, good-lookin’” is one I copied from Dad. I often give it a countrified-bluegrass take, adding as many syllables as possible to set it apart, in my mind at least, from Dad’s version.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say, but you want to give your own spin.
Toward that end, I’m inclined here and there to let loose a little Pink Floyd: “When I was a child, I caught a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look but it was gone. I cannot put my finger on it now. The child is grown, the dream is gone.”
On occasion, I’ll add, “I have become comfortably numb,” but not often because it’s a lyric about burying past experiences and feelings with drugs and alcohol. I’m sort of conflicted about singing that to the kids.
I don’t always sing. I’ll say, “Did I ever tell you about the time I caught that fleeting glimpse?”
Evan and Olivia reply with, “Was it out of the corner of your eye?”
“Yes. Yes, it was.”
As I write all this down, it’s beginning to seem strange to me, like people are out there thinking, I always knew those Morrises were crazy.
But it’s too late to change now. I’m pretty sure I’ve infected the kids with the practice. A song from a Mel Brooks movie has been one of our favorites.
They’re likely to start: “Hey, Torquemada, What do you say?”
My response is, “I just got back from the auto-da-fé.”
“Auto-da-fé? What’s the auto-da-fé?”
“It’s what you oughtn’t to do but you do anyway.”
It’s weird, wacky stuff. No doubt about it. But it’s our weird, wacky stuff.
For sanity’s sake, I have to assume other families have their own oddities that don’t mean much, but maybe add up over time.
Eccentricities, we’ll call them – certainly not the cake, not even the icing, but the colorful sprinkles on top.
Or, if you prefer, tiny bubbles in the wine.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.