The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Jewels is just a 'chimp off the old block'


August 10, 2017 | View PDF

Having grown up in a family that lived for practical jokes, you might guess that I have always been a bit hesitant when someone tells me something, or wants to show me how they caught a rabid coon in a box. Those things tend to have you jumping backward and squealing like a bad actor on television.

And, they usually lead to someone busting out in laughter at your expense … which is OK with me. As soon as I recovered, I’d probably roll on the floor with them. Ask anyone in my family. I deserve almost every practical joke that has been pulled on me. Karma, you know.

However, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Made-Mad didn’t come from a family of jokers … or, at least, with as many clowns as the Big Jokester in the Sky put in our pod. Things tend to be exactly what they seem with SWMNBMM. Green is green and anything but green in a story about green isn’t tolerated.

With that in mind, SWMNBMM had a wild introduction to our prank-loving universe. Honestly, the first time she met my father, he asked her why she had said his feet stank. Sometime just ask her about the time my older brother Danny told her a story about a squirrel that ended up being a discussion of her being an Elvis fan and a jalapeno growing in a pot. Or about the time when our oldest daughter, Whitney, was a baby and being fussy while we ate in a restaurant during a trip to East Texas.

“Give her a cracker,” I said, pointing to a basket of saltines on the table. “She’ll calm down.”

She gave Whitter a cracker and … BAM! … she calmed right down.

“Just put a handful of those crackers in your purse. That way when she gets fussy again, you can give them to her.”

So she did. Just five or six crackers, you know.

When we went to pay out I simply couldn’t resist embarrassing her. It’s funny how guys are like that, don’t you think.

As we stood at the counter, I dug out my money and looked the waitress straight in the eye.

“Ma’am, I want to pay for those crackers that my wife is trying to steal,” I said. “She’s put some of them in her purse to give to the baby.”

I’m not going to say SWMNBMM turned red, but I’m pretty sure the Crayola company based their rose color off her face.

“You told me to take them,” she blurted. “I’m not stealing them!”

Listen, it was funny as heck. The waitress burst out laughing so hard I thought she was going to faint. She looked at SWMNBMM with sympathy and offered to give her some more if she wanted them.

However, let me assure you that SWMNBMM isn’t the one most likely to fall for a joke in our family. Not by a long shot. That honor belongs to our youngest daughter, Kayme Brooke (she was born in Texas so of course she has two first names).

Once when she was in the ninth grade, one of her teachers told her that he was going to go home that night and cut some potatoes into French fries.

“French fries are made out of potatoes?” she asked with eyes wide open in shock.

To be fair, SWMNBMM did not allow any of our four children in the kitchen when they were younger—it kept our house insurance bill low. So, in reality, she hadn’t been exposed to too many transforming potatoes.

That didn’t prevent Kayme Brooke from racing into the school cafeteria (where her mother worked) and yelling, “Momma! Did you know French fries are made out of potatoes?”

To this day, every time she learns something new, everyone says she just had a “potato moment.”

Later that same year, she was sitting in class as the teacher was discussing the theory of evolution. When the theory about man evolving from apes was broached, her mouth worked a bit faster than her brain.

“You mean we are related to gorillas?” she blurted.

Jeff Braun, the teacher, delicately explained the theory to her, waiting for the light of comprehension to come on. I’m not sure the switch ever got flipped.

As fate would have it, the class had scheduled a trip to the Fort Worth zoo a few weeks later. And, of course, Jeff (who has been a friend of mine far longer than either of us care to admit … I actually worked with him in the early 1990s while doing my student teaching) had to tell her that she was going to get a chance to meet her cousins.

To this day, if we pass a zoo, everyone asks Kayme Brooke is she wants to stop and visit the relatives.

We’re just hoping her daughter, Jewels, takes after the male parental unit.

By the way, if we really are related to the apes that could mean I’m Tarzan and SWMNBMM is Jane.

And Kayme … well, she is Cheetah.

(Tommy Wells is the editor of the Seward Phoenix LOG. Everything in this column is true, except for the parts that have been fabricated, exaggerated or are just plain lies.)


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