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Of Fingernails and Other Oddball Funnies

March 6, 2021

Another Way for week of February 26, 2021

Of Fingernails and Other Oddball Funnies

I trimmed my fingernails the other week, nice and neat. I don’t go for polish or long nails. But when I sat there gathering up the narrow slivers looking like very thin crescent moons, suddenly I was back as a child attending probably one of the first weddings I ever went to. I remember wondering why there were fingernails all over the porch and cement steps outside the front entrance of our church?!

One of our dear friends from church, blowing bubbles during an outdoor afternoon concert last fall on our church lawn.

What did you wonder as a child? What mistakes were common in the church songs you learned growing up? Some of my Facebook friends helped me out here.

Charlene recalls thinking that a driver of a car only had to turn and look back to make the car go backward! (Self-driving cars, anyone?) She says when you’re a child sitting in the back seat all the time, you don’t get a good idea of what it actually takes to make a car move, you know?

Charlene, who is about my age, also recalled how on long family trips, especially at night, “My dad would place a suitcase on each side of the hump on the back seat floor. One of us would make a bed there. One of us would get to sleep on regular seat, and the third sibling [likely the smallest one] would climb up on the third level ‘bed’ in the rear window.” She closes, “Yikes.” I remember the same scenario but with our younger brother (fourth child) tucked up between mom and dad in the front seat. I also seem to recall my older sisters vying for that middle position in front at times so that Dad would occasionally let them steer. Again, yikes!

A different kind of misunderstanding took place for Kenneth worrying that if he turned the car’s radio dial, that “we would never be able to find the same station again.” That still happens for me, especially traveling!

Misunderstood songs include Ginny wondering what a “roun’ John vurjun” was. Ginny also took a child to J.C. Penny’s. After they had walked around for a while, the girl asked, “Ginny, when are we going to chase pennies?”

Loren thought it strange at Easter that Jesus would come up out of gravy, singing “Up from the gravy he arose.” Ann wondered about singing “The world in Solomon stillness lay …” And Gloria says among the familiar words of “Jesus Loves Me,” they would sing “The Florida Bible tells me so.” On the secular side of Christmas songs, one reader of this column had a friend when he was young who was sure a line in Jingle Bells went “one horse, soap, and sleigh.”

Another misunderstanding of hymn texts came from Ellen in Waterloo, Iowa. Her husband had told their six-year-old son that Ford was one of the top three U.S. automakers. Several days later their family was singing the table grace, “Great God, the giver of all good … grace, health, and strength to us afford….” The six-year-old’s head popped up after the prayer: “No wonder Ford is in the top three!”

Too short swimming references: Florence in Minnesota wrote about her four-year-old chattering about her sister’s swimming lessons. “When I’m bigger, I’ll go swimming too,” she said proudly.

“What do you know about swimming,” her mother quizzed.

“Well, you wear a swimming suit, and your hair gets wet.” Yep, all you need to know.

Three sisters with “babbing” suits in a pool? Yes, one is me. We had on shower caps to keep our hair dry, I guess!

Nancy used to call a bathing suit “baling suit.” My own small friend would call it a “babbing” suit. The “th” in it is hard to hear!

One of the saints of our church, Henrietta, once told me this story. Her five-year-old great grandson loved birds, and was an avid bird watcher. They came upon a dead bird on a sidewalk, and naturally he was very upset. First he said, “I’ll just let it alone for a while,” as if he didn’t understand or recognize the finality of death. Finally, he inquired, “Does it need new batteries?”

I hope this has been a charge up of your batteries for another winter day. Spring is truly not far away!


Ok, I shared my young oddball misconception–what’s one of yours? Or off a friend or family member (if you have permission to share it or change up the name). We’d love to hear!


Or family memories from a road trip, like Charlene?

Comment here or send your fun misconceptions or stories to or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. Elaine permalink

    That was a fun reading. I guess most of us have “misunderstood” some words when we were growing up. I’ll tell one on myself that happened in recent years just after moving to Kentucky. (I’m a northern girl) I had called about an item for sale and the man was giving me directions to his place. He said you will see a blue water “tire” and in my mind I only heard blue tire. Imagine my surprise when I came upon a blue water tower! You gotta pay attention to that Kentucky accent around here. 🙂

    • I love your “Blue water tire” and I can just hear him saying it. Thanks for sharing! Reminds me of a pair from Nebraska who moved here to Virginia and lived in a development where their street name was “Flower Street.” But the locals (some, that is), would pronounce that “flare.” Mary was mostly amused by the words she heard!

  2. In church as a child, I heard “Precious Ann, oh, how sweet, hope of earth and joy of heaven. For a long time I wondered who Ann was and why she was so precious until I could read and understand the congregation was singing “Precious name, . . .

    You’ve assembled a great collection of stories. I especially enjoyed the last one about the bird needing new batteries. Make sense in a child’s mind for sure.

    Thanks for all this, Melodie, including the reminder to blow more bubbles! 🙂

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