Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dad reading

Liz's mom gave me Huckleberry Finn on CD for christmas this year (very good choice). Got me remembering all the nights when me, Renae, Mom and Dad all sat (i remember laying more) in the living room while Dad read to us. Mark Twain is what I remember him reading most to us. That and poetry. He was always reading more adult level books outloud to Mom, but that was always in the kitchen. In the living room he read stuff for us all. Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, A Conneticut Yankee in King Authur's Court. We loved it, or at least I did. He did all the voices and dialects. If you have ever read Huck Finn you know the whole book is written in at least 4 distinct types of slang and reading the book out loud forces you to do the voices- but even so Dad is a voices kinda guy. (if you haven't read Huck Finn see me, I'll make you.) A standing joke was that if the phone ran while Dad was in full swing, he would get up and answer it in Nigger Jim's voice: "Wah hello dah! How is you dis fahn ev nin?". Got some good reactions. Dad also read Uncle Remus to us alot, and we always liked that.

It's getting less and less PC to answer the phone that way, but my Dad doesn't know it yet.

The Ghost of Windy Hill was another book he read to us. It's a kids ghost story, but Dad one night couldn't keep himself from reading the whole thing in this Lon Chaney Dracula accent, where everything was drastic and scary and doom filled. It was driving us all crazy, Mom included but he just couldn't stop (except to laugh at himself and at us). Finally Mom suddenly jumped up and said something to the effect of John pleeeeeeease cut it out we are all going mad here! and then, striking this deranged hunchback pose she screeched out a line from the book that we had just passed- a very bland line: "I ate the cookies."- but she used this amazing utterly indiscribable gothic monster voice and it came out:


It doesn't come out in print right, but it seemed like about the funniest thing I had ever heard in my life and the 4 of us had this amazing laugh attack for seriously it seemed like half an hour. Fot years after we could convulse each other by reminding each other of that line and the way Mom delivered it.


Lon Chaney said...

That accent you're referring to is Bela Lugosi's, not mine, as I never played Dracula.

Anonymous said...

yeah well you are dead too i bet so get over yourself. I reckon I know what it sounded like being as I was there and you werent.


timpani76 said...

Hah! Your mom was just telling book club about how your dad used to read to her in the kitchen. I thought that was just about the coolest husband thing ever!

Renae said...

Holy dang! I had kind of given up on this blog. To think that you posted almost a week ago and I just now saw it. Yes that was great fun! I loved the way Dad read! Sadly, I don't do voices very much when I read to my kids. At least I don't think I do. I do get silly though by replacing key words now and then for the duration of the book turning the prince into say an evil slime face or something like that. Every now and then, if the kids have behaved badly, and ticked me off thoroughly, I'll keep on reading, but I can't help but do it in a really mad voice till I explode and say something like "...and he fell in a hole and DIED!!" or (here's my wonderful style of parenting, I know, I'm bad) "...and he FARTED!!!" Then they all laugh, and I can't help but laugh too. Then there's that sappy I'll Love You Forever book! I know, I know, many people may linch me for saying so, but HORKEY!!! And, come on, that crazy bat of a mother drives across town with a ladder, and climbes into his room?! Psycho! I can't read that story straight! We always, at the least, have the boy, when he's a grown up and standing at the top of the stairs, he invariably falls down the stairs backwards in our version. And when he rocks his baby, it's always some crazy heavy metal rock way to crazy and fast kind of a rock.

timpani76 said...


Anonymous said...

Huh...your dad never struck me as a voices kinda guy. That's pretty silly. I'd like to call sometime when he's feeling a bit "Uncle Remus-y." I think that would be hilarious!


Anonymous said...

::LOL:: Renae! I always thought that was psycho of his mother too! HA! I never thought I'd hear another living soul say that!