Flourish and Be…

Dear Reader:

One thing that has flourished under the pandemic quarantine (for me) has been the retrieval of personal memories…the ones tucked so far back…if not for the mandatory “stay at home” policy… would have been lost forever.

I finished  A Man Called Peter about 4:30 Saturday morning. I am one of those type of readers…once I get into my “zone” reading a book..it is all over. Nothing else matters… except turning the pages on the story I am reading.

Sometime early Saturday morning…probably around 2 a.m. I found myself laughing out loud. Catherine Marshall was describing the imaginative language games the “boys” created for fun.

Peter and “wee Peter” or Peter John could make up their own language and never blink an eye…conversing for long periods of time…both to Catherine and the maid’s smothered giggling in  the next room.

A game of nonsense conversation might go like this:

Peter…to his son: “What happened to you today?

“Oh nothing’ much.”

Peter: “Well, tell me…did the radiator get fixed, so that ballawags could get warmed up to the fuminas, when it bit the elephant?”

Wee Peter: (Grinning because daddy was ready to play the game)
“No daddy, but the rug scooted under the budgums, and the scheezechs ran into the big fat man.”

Peter: “Oh really!”

Wee Peter: ” Yes, that was the big red fire truck that run over the booky, and the boy went running down the street yelling “Blankybats!”

Peter pretended to draw back in horror.

“Peter, that just can’t be? Why would a little boy yell “Blankybats!” Do you mean to tell me that the pretzel, the marzipan, the football, and the apple dumpling didn’t try to stop the radiator when it sizzled the big fat man smack in the dockum-budgums?”

“No daddy, it was in the snookum-dookums he got sizzled,” corrected Wee Peter, and it never did stop the radiator.”

The game of nonsense conversation could go on and on and on…at least until Catherine called everyone to supper.

Don’t we all remember imaginary words we created as children, sometimes because we heard a word wrong or had difficulty saying the word and improvised with another?

Before “Wee” Peter was born…Peter Marshall never brought personal anecdotes into his sermons…thinking he was sparing the congregation a verbal ‘family album’ gathering. But, of course, that all changed after the baby was born.

Peter discovered that every time he made an alliteration to something little Peter had done or said the crowd loved it…they wanted more. Peter had a hard time remembering jokes…but there was one he heard after “Wee Peter” was born that he never forgot…he loved to tell it.

I remember my Aunt Lessie, my father’s youngest (and only) sister telling me stories about my daddy and me when we would go to Durham to visit them and Grandmother Barbour. I lived for those stories…since daddy died when I was five so I had few precious memories of him.

She assured me that he adored his “little princess” since I was the only girl surrounded by two brothers. But…that said..I drove him batty…I was the kid who never ate. I do have vague memories of mother and daddy, aunts and uncles, trying everything they could to get me to eat something…finally storming off in total frustration.

They obviously thought  (at the rate I was going ) I would never “Flourish and be.” 🙂

Aunt Lessie finally said my daddy gave in after months and years of futile attempts to get me to eat regular food and started disguising a little piece of meat or a vegetable in a potato chip…because, when all else failed, I was the “potato chip” princess.

I think it was this memory that was brought back when I read Peter Marshall’s one remembered joke which had me laughing again early Saturday morning.

It went like this:

A little boy in Aberdeen, Scotland, was disciplined by his mother, who used to say to him when he was naughty, “Now God won’t like that.” And when he was particularly unruly or disobedient, she would say, “God will be angry!’

Usually these admonitions were sufficient, but one night when she had prunes for his dessert at supper, he rebelled. He refused to finish the prunes on his plate. She pled. She coaxed. Finally…she said, “Now God won’t like this. God doesn’t like little boys to refuse to finish all their prunes.”

But the little fellow was quite unmoved. She went further to say, “God will be angry.” But for some reason or other, the little boy stubbornly refused to take the last two prunes which lay on his plate-dark blue, wrinkled tokens of his rebellion.

“Well,” said his mother, “you must now go to bed. You have been a very naughty boy, and God is very angry!” So she packed him upstairs and put him to bed.

No sooner had she come down, than a violent thunderstorm broke out. The lightning was more vivid than usual. The thunder clumped up and down the sky with shattering reverberations. 

Then suddenly angry wind threw handfuls of rain against the windows. It was a most violent storm, and she thought her little son would be terrified, and that she should go up and comfort him.

Quietly she opened his bedroom door, expecting to find him whimpering in fear, perhaps with the covers pulled over his head.

But to her surprise, he was not in bed at all, but he had gone over to the window.

With his face pressed against the windowpane, she heard him mutter,

“My, my sic a fuss to mak’ ower two prunes.”


So until tomorrow…Use the time we have been given to go back down memory lane and try to remember those precious bits and pieces of our childhoods …that once released from the ‘attics of our memories’… remind us of the little person we used to be. They are still there inside of us…just waiting for a chance to play Peek or Boo…I see you…I am you!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

I know I sound like a broken record about the beauty of this particular spring …but I never tire of looking at the amazing shade of blue in the skies…we must have very low humidity (a rarity in these parts)…because the blue is crystal clear….Here are some more pictures of the beauty found beneath the skies in the low country.


Anne’s hydrangea Oakleaf bush- so pretty…think I will add one if I can find some shade somewhere to plant it.


Ady is singing a solo  for our (Z00m) church service…one of my favorite songs…Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep.) I watch White Christmas just to hear that song every year. It will be beautiful Ady!








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.”
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Flourish and Be…

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    I may have to reread that book…it has been a long time. My niece who is 45 did not eat a lot of things when she was little so I always offered to fix her plate at family gatherings because I knew what she did like and I would make sure she got enough to eat.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      There is always one in every family who doesn’t eat…sadly Eva Cate got my non-eating genes…she has slowly pulled out of it in the last couple of years but prior to that she ate so little we all worried about her…(I am sure the way they worried about me as a tyke). Somehow non-eating children always manage to flourish and grow up.

      Sadly Eva Cate also inherited my bouts of homesickness I suffered so terribly from as a child and adolescent….Sorry Eva Cate…two strikes down from Grandmother Boo’s genes…but you will outgrow both I am happy to say!…I am now a huge eater and love traveling away from home. Life is an adventure!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.