When Conversations Turn Into Charades

Dear Reader:

I read somewhere recently that the first thing to go (in our memory) in conversations is proper nouns. Oh…how true!

Lately I feel like I play a game of charades in normal conversation trying to detour around the loss of memory for a particular name while sending out clues to my (undoubtedly bored listeners) to help me pull it out.

Recently…I had seen a ‘special’ with a favorite actress of mine (I hadn’t seen in quite awhile) …and for the life of me I could not remember her name…but I kept remembering parts/roles she had played in different movies … all completely disconnected.

So the conversation went something like this….”Oh you know who it is? She talked about her hair looking like a football in that sweet movie made in the south…and then she had a romantic relationship with an older man ….oh what was that actor’s name… I loved him…he died fairly recently with a bad heart…and oh…when she was younger she could fly?”

I was met with blank stares and shaking heads…until finally one listener yelled out “The Flying Nun”  and suddenly everyone started remembering…”the football hairdo came from Steel Magnolias and James Garner was the romantic interest in Murphy’s Romance.

It is truly exhausting what we have to do to get back to that one proper name that remains elusive. SALLY FIELD!!! Whew! ‘Good Grief Charlie Brown!

If the Ya’s are at the beach and one of us is struggling with a lost name…we just reassure each other that the name (inside an aging neuron) will circle back around about 2 a.m. in the morning and bingo…the name comes back…more often than not.

Yesterday I had two more memories associated with the beauty/fun and usefulness of falling leaves… but I completely forgot to add them to yesterday’s post.

In the south…where we rarely get snow…we  can’t make snow angels…but we can make leaf angels. At this time of the year all it takes is a heavy-layered yard filled with leaves and the leaf angels appear bringing much fun and joy.

This brought back another memory….my Aunt Eva married into the Peden family…around Simpsonville…the Pedens were known for having all boys…and lots of them…but fortunately by the next generation I got a Peden girl cousin named Dianne.

When we would go to visit Aunt Eva in autumn Dianne would come over with wax paper and a huge cookie sheet pan which she promptly waxed until that cookie sheet could fly.

We would get at the top of a piney hill…push off…the two of us fitting snugly on the cookie sheet… holding on for dear life. We flew over those pine needles…the bad part was that the conclusion of the ride usually ended with a crash into a pine tree that sent us tumbling for yards farther down the hill…but oh what fun! Necessity is the mother of invention…no snow…no problem!

Grandmother always had a southern cedar tree for her Christmas tree and all the ornaments on it were homemade….like seen in the title photos….acorn and leaf angels and pine cone angels. She always made a centerpiece from one small piece of wood cut  like a yule log…with added berries, cypress sprays, cones, and candles.

Cypress trees smell really piney (so good!)…like the outside has come in. I still associate that smell with grandmother’s house at Christmas. Yet…as a child it was hard to decorate because of its bushiness and prickliness. It didn’t have individual branches like other trees. I remember my fingers were always sticky from decorating.

Isn’t it strange how I can remember childhood Christmas memories so well and go nuts trying to remember Sally Field’s name? Such is life! 🙂

*One last connection…this time it is the relationship between God and Santa Claus at Christmas. Last evening I got stuck in ( an almost immobile car line) at the outside pharmacy window at CVS. I had to pick up two prescriptions I had run out of and couldn’t put off a day longer.

Suddenly Elvis comes on the radio singing ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’… all jazzed up. I found myself snapping my fingers and bopping my head around.

Suddenly on the last two stanzas I heard Elvis make a connection between God, the Light, and Santa. Don’t ever remember hearing those two verses? But it made me so happy…another reassuring connection between Santa’s role of benevolence… with God’s blessings.

The last two stanzas go:

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus
Riding down Santa Claus Lane

He doesn’t care if you’re a rich or poor boy
He loves you just the same
Santa knows that we’re God’s children
That makes everything right
Fill your hearts with Christmas cheer
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight


Well, here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus
Riding down Santa Claus Lane

He’ll come around when the chimes ring out
It’s Christmas morn again
Peace on Earth will come to all
If we just follow the light
Let’s give thanks to the Lord above
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight

‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight

So until tomorrow…As long as I can still make connections…especially with God…everything is all right in the world.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Yesterday I wore my green and gold to honor Coach McKissick. I ran into Belk later in the afternoon and Betty, one of the Belk managers, asked me if I taught in Dorchester Two since she knew Joe Pye, our superintendent, had asked employees to wear green and gold for our winning-est coach in America and the amazing legacy of mentoring so many generations… behind upon his recent death.

I told Betty I was a retired school teacher and neighbor of the McKissicks and wanted to honor his legacy by wearing green and gold. Betty said she had just seen Joan the week before and had asked about Coach McKissick..she loved Joan and all the family.

So we ended up taking a picture (including the Belk gals with a sweet note to Joan from all the Belk employees) thinking of her. I love it when Summerville still retains its small town flavor amid all the growth population.

***Today is my younger brother, David’s birthday. He died way too young (21) but I will always remember his gentleness and kindness and how I loved him then, now, and forever. I miss you David! Happy Birthday!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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