Chip off the ol' block

Tonight Lucille ran down the driveway with cottonwood sap in her hair and mud all over the rest of her.

“Bye Mama, I’m going to Portlandia,” she said.

“Drive safely,” I told her as she ran toward her new (read sister’s hand-me-down) bike. I stopped myself before I blurted out one of my dad’s favorite turns of phrase, it’s a jungle out there.

My dad has always had a way with words. He’s an accountant by trade but in our family his currency is the well-placed one liner that roots us out of a funk, usually makes us laugh and almost always makes us roll our eyes. Sometimes these zingers are original lines he’s created out of thin air. Others he’s picked up from god knows where and filed them away for just the right moment. And since my daughters were born, his sayings pop into my head and sometimes tumble out of my mouth with alarming regularity.

Eliza wasn’t two days old before I was whispering to my newborn about lip sugar, something I’ve heard for as long as I can remember. In those early days I took full mother prerogative to kiss her on the mouth and brush my cheek across her lips when she was sleeping. I think my dad picked up the term lip sugar up from his mother or his sister but I heard it in high school leaving for dates out the back door, “Don’t be handing out any lip sugar,” he’d say. Those were also the years when he would tell me every morning to “wake up and meet the day” with a little too much chipper in his voice. No teenager wants to hear that first thing in the morning but evidently he hasn’t learned his lesson because he still says the same thing to my sister. She’s a senior in high school and I’m sure she’s thrilled beyond words to hear that coming at her before the sun comes up.

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