You may have read that headline and wondered if my keyboard was stuck.  Or maybe I had started counting with a lousy German accent and was hesitant on continuing (Vonnnn….Two….Tsree……)

Actually, that elongated word was pulled from deep in my memory bank because of a mini-family reunion coming up this weekend.  Victoria and I are going to get together with my folks, my two sisters and a pair of nieces for a whirlwind weekend.  Friday, we’re planning on doing a pirate dinner, but the bulk of our time there will be spent reminiscing about younger days.

When I was younger, go figure, I was impish at times.  I cut my comic teeth in front of my two sisters during meals, when I would get them to laugh and choke on their food or what they were drinking.  That flustered Mom and she couldn’t get their names out fast enough, usually switching their first letters:  “Derri!  Tebbie! Stop it!”

Mom also coined a catch phrase in the kitchen.  Whenever we got out one of those 2-liter bottles of Springfield soda and were pouring ourselves a glass, she’d remind us, “Don’t plop!”  She didn’t want her clean kitchen counters tainted with this imitation soda, so at the “PSSST” of a bottle being opened, that phrase was usually right behind it.

Which brings us to the Vonnnnnnnnnnn.  Anyone can do this, with only a brief amount of practice.  First, find a subject with neatly brushed hair.  Quietly sneak up behind them, raise your hands above their head and then lay your hands on their hair and “Vonnnnnnnnnn”.  You rub your hands back and forth real quickly to rat up their hair, while saying “Vonnnnnnnn” like a race car.

It sounds silly, but it was the routine for a while in our home while growing up.  We even have a chunk of home movies of an Easter from long ago, when I “vonnnnnnnnnned” Terri’s hair and she immediately points to the camera as if to say, “Aha!  I’ve got evidence!”

They say you can’t go home again, but my parents have done a great job of keeping the place I grew up modern, but respectful of memories.  That pull out clothesline is long gone, the apricot tree quit producing some years ago and a storage shed now sits in its place.  But that backyard where I had neighborhood wading pool parties, where we hunted for Easter eggs and that seemed SO big while growing up, is still there.  There’s even a bird bath in the middle that’s partially painted with a light blue paint from the time my high school class painted the senior pond back in 1973.

So, let the memories fly.  But be forewarned, sisters, you’re never too old to give someone a really good vonnnnnnnnnnn!

Tim Hunter

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