See a 'What' Skin!
That fulsome summer in the island cottage
Was full of interesting 'stuff'
For a curious eight-year-old.
I came home from school one autumn day
And dumped my books at the doorway.
'In the bathroom.' chorused my three younger sisters.
Well, nothing unusual about that,
And I plopped down to rest.
Her voice carried clearly out the door.
'Do you want to see a bear skin?'
And we surged inside.
I sort of wondered, 'Where did she get a bear skin?'
But not doubting it for a second.
She threw open the bathroom door
And waltzed out, pirouetting around the lounge,
A sight I had never seen before.
My sisters hooted, getting the joke immediately.
But I was miffed.
It WAS funny, but I just couldn't laugh yet.
My only thought: 'How could I be so STUPID!'
Mum enjoyed herself hugely.
'GOT YOU!' she whooped, meaning ME.
And she danced away to put on some clothes.
As a 'wake-up call' to the power of words
It could hardly be equalled.
My mum was a quintessential 'lady'.
But that streak of Irish ribaldry
Can never be totally quashed,
Especially with language.
I often feel the leprechauns laughing
Even in myself.
And it keeps my kids on their toes too.
'The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!'
Cynthia Buell Thomas, April 2020