I have a dear friend at work who has the most delightfully quirky elderly relatives. They are, by and large, aunts and uncles in their 80’s and 90’s, all who speak in thick, German-Hungarian accents with very local idioms. My friend, I will call her Donna, can relate their conversations with great accuracy, even down to the accent. She recently had two priceless conversations.
The first was with an uncle who told her “Sweetie, I have to tell you, I’m not doing so good”. He apparently had some sort of “spell” and totaled his car after running into three others after going into reverse when he meant to go forward. He didn’t go to the doctor since he had just been there two weeks before. He then told Donna “Don’t be surprised if you get a call one of these days to tell you that I woke up dead”. ” Waking up dead” happens a lot out here. It is a one of my favorite phrases.
The other conversation was equally serious. Donna sent out a short, humorous Christmas letter this year letting people know that her oldest son and his wife had another child. Donna put photos of the two grandchildren on the page, and ended her letter with “I never thought I would be sleeping with a grandpa!” referring, of course to her husband.
Donna got a phone call from a very elderly aunt and uncle, both in their 90’s, after she sent out the letter.
Her aunt told her “We got that Christmas letter, then. That was pretty dirty. You shouldn’t talk like that. We prayed for you.”
Donna realized that her aunt and uncle missed entirely the news that she and her husband were grandparents, and thought she was bragging about sexual exploits. She patiently told them about the new grandchildren and that she was referring to her husband in the last sentence. She told them, “You know, I’m not one of them runaround girls “, another lovely local phrase. Her uncle then said:
“That is pretty funny! Oh!! You!!” accompanied by a quick, sharp, wave of the hand to emphasize the silliness and loving exasperation he felt. As Donna always says, you can’t make this stuff up.
When have you been misunderstood?