I Love My Samsonite

I came from a funny family, in every sense of the word. I grew up at a time when fathers went to work, and mothers stayed home to do motherly and wifely things all day. Yea, that was not my house.

My mother went to work when I was 7, and my father was most likely the first stay at home dad in the United States. A role model or instruction manual would have been nice, really really nice. 

I’m pretty sure squirting the Jehovah Witnesses off the front porch with a garden hose would have been frowned upon in the instruction manual. Hey, at least he didn’t ask us to be accomplices, he just told us to”watch this.” In his defense, they were warned and clearly weren’t used to people following through with their threats.

Mother & I preparing a cake for the church bake sale.

Our family already stuck out like sore thumbs amongst the Ward & June Cleaver types on our block. My parents were 20 years apart; I have (2) siblings old enough to be my parents, another sister who is 15 months older than me, who was no doubt the, oops, leaving me to be the WTF shock. Honestly, the only thing drawing more attention would be a third eye or tentacles. 

This dynamic was much harder on the older siblings. They grew up in an era where families were portrayed as “perfect.” The white picket fence father knows best era. I never trusted those homes, everyone has some Samsonite, and those people locked it in the closet.

My sister and I really had an advantage. Our examples were more realistic with an integrated family like The Brady Bunch surfacing along with the All In The Family crew that made us look downright acceptable. We were way ahead of the Modern Family times. 

When you’re born into crazy, there is only one thing to do…LAUGH. Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We all walked away with quick wits and the ability to find humor in just about any occasion.

Over the weekend my hubby turned the BIG 50. The whole family gathered at a local restaurant for dinner to celebrate.

Soon after arriving it was clear that either the air conditioning wasn’t working up to par or we were all having a unison heat flash. Not good in close quarters when it’s already close to 100 outside. 

One of my sisters came back from the restroom and claimed “Omg! I look like a freaking rice cake with lipstick!” The best part about this is we all “got it” and could quickly respond with a confirmed “Omg! You do, you need some peanut butter girl.”  

It’s official folks … RiceKake will now be included on the list of other famous sayings within our family circle. The new spelling was given the next day by the creator, just to give it edge…so badass.

Yesterday my husband referred to me as a RiceKake when I surfaced from a public restroom dripping with sweat after suffering stomach pains. Nothing says love quite like..Are you alright you look like a RiceKake? I quickly responded with…Seriously, I need some Nutella!

Our parents used crazy expressions all the time that have been embedded in us, but we tweaked them over the years. The list is very long, but I chose (2) that are most commonly used.

My mother was famous for the term “crazy as a hoot owl.” Throughout the years it has been altered to a simple “hooty” and for extreme situations “hooty in the highest.” This is a reference given to those people who are either crazy in a good way or a notch away from insanity. Please do not confuse this with “suits of skin” which is in a separate category. 

All of the women in our family, including the offspring, use the term “he/she has a hair.” This originated from “he/she has a bug up their ass.” Over the years, depending on the level of attitude, we have all tweaked this to meet our individual needs.

It started out with a hair, which led to a ponytail that soon graduated into a braid and ended with a dread, which is short for dreadlocks. Oh yes, we all know it’s bad when one of us says “dam, he/she has a freaking dread!” You haven’t seen attitude until you’ve seen someone with a dread! 

Example of use:  Daughter: Mom, my boss had the biggest hair today.

Me: How bad?

Daughter: Oh, at least a braid!

Me: Well, he was probably just having a bad day, don’t worry about it.

My upbringing made me who I am today, complete with my own set of Samsonite to bring with me into adulthood. Recently I recognized the importance of working through the unpleasant moments by embracing the flaws in my baggage and sorting through all the good things that I safely tucked away in those little secret compartments. That’s where All the good stuff is.

Our families give us character, some more colorful than others, but ultimately all the same. The more we all except who we are, the easier it is to …. Enjoy the Ride!

40 responses

  1. If there were a love button, I would click it on this one. I can feel the love and joy and hear the laughter. Thank you for a fun glimpse inside your suitcases! 🙂

    1. Thank you News! It was a fun night indeed.

  2. So funny! I’m gonna have to borrow Ricecake for sure. Especially when it’s 3 am & I wake up from my nightly hot flash from hell! 🙂

  3. I just hide from the JWs when they show up… like, within the last 15 minutes… I may have to write a blog about it.

    1. Now Mondays aren’t even safe..dear lord!

  4. Your post gave me a huge laugh, thanks. Newsofthetimes is right, someone needs to get a loves button!

  5. To be easily amused…definitely a gift! Thanks!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Margarita! I am very easily amused..sometime too easy.

      1. Naahhh, no such thing as “too easy” when it comes to amusement! Life is short – let’s laugh our way through it! 🙂

  6. I wonder sometimes who the people are who came from those picket fence houses. It wasn’t you, and it damn sure wasn’t me.

    1. Hahahaha..I always imagine them to be all uptight from brushing things under the rug.

      1. I’ve had some experiences in those houses…some troubling ones..

  7. Wonderful post. Whatever the impetus, having quick wit is a true blessing. You are right, sifting through the Samsonite can lead to some treasures and much needed light bulb moments.

  8. free penny press | Reply

    Too funny.. Thinking back my Dad was the one who had a nickname or word twist for so many things I can’t even keep count.. yes, I have adopted that tradition as well..
    ex#1- We grew up with a nosy neighbor, Mrs Payne.. So now when someone is being nosy (Like me)..My brothers say, “Oh, pulling a Mrs Payne I see”..:-)

  9. Deliberately Delicious | Reply

    Thank you for the good laugh! I love the stories about your dad! And I think I’m adopting “hooty in the highest” into my personal lexicon…

    1. Feel free to use Hooty…hahaha My sister and I use it every day. She has a co-worker she calls Hooty to the point I forgot his real name.

  10. That’s one of best Jehovah Witness deterrents I’ve ever heard of. The Jehovah Witness’ paid us a visit the other day. Benny looked at them through the screen door and growled. They didn’t stay long or ask to come in. Good dog!

  11. RiceKake, I love it! Your family does sound perfect, even without the white picket fence 🙂

    1. Thank you! My sister had dubbed RiceKake her rapper name, if she ever may need one. lol

  12. Another funny piece and the pictures are priceless. It makes perfect sense you came from a nutty house – all great comedic writers do – it’s the upside. Your husband is only 50? He’s a baby.

    1. Thank you! I wish I saw the pay off for the insanity 20 years ago. I was laughing so hard at the pictures…I couldn’t have asked for better finds.

      1. I like the aliens. So hilarious.

  13. What! We were separated at birth, into very similar families. No picket fence and Dad at home. My brother used to let JWs in and then leave, though. Sticking us with them. Revenge will be hell.

    1. Hahaha! Glad to know I’m in such good company. Of course a brother would let them in and leave..ugh.

      1. Yes. He often did incredibly mean things like that but they were always so funny I never got mad. He’s never mean any more and I still don’t get mad.

  14. Thanks! Your post made me feel much more normal. I don’t think anyone lived in those Cleaver households. They were populated by actors who went home at night.

    1. Your welcome, seems like I’m in really good company.

  15. Michelle Gillies | Reply

    I think there were a lot more of the non Cleaver, Father Knows Best families than people were willing to admit. We sure weren’t. Our family was a total mish mash and pretty off the wall too. Yeah, maybe even hooty. But, I bet we had a lot more fun than those Stepford families. Great post!

    1. Always something interesting going on in the Hooty house!

  16. Love the insight into your childhood and the humor that you gleaned from how you were brought up. Good times, eh? 🙂

  17. Crazy as a hoot owl…that’s a good one! Are hoot owls really crazy?- You know, they just might be – the one on your blog post looks a little twisted and if you look real close has got some RiceKake going on.

  18. That’s a freaking riot! I was the only in my family like yours, think that’s why I have an inner-weirdness-complex. Would your family want to adopt another kid? Already house broken 🙂

    1. Just come over you’ll blend right in…no paperwork necessary.

  19. love, love, love this… sounds like my family. BTW only 50??? mere children. Thanks for making me smile a big smile today, it was a great post.

  20. This piece had me laughing from the first picture of the cat all the way to the end. Well done! Your family sounds awesome.

  21. and “he/she has a hair” might become a phrase that I use a time or two as well. I don’t know why, but I like it.

  22. Watch this… funny as hell… I would have liked your dad!

    I enjoyed this post… very clever.

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