How Could You Say That?

This past April, one of western North Carolina’s famous retirees died. My sister-in-law Becky and her coworkers were discussing their encounters with this retiree. One fellow teacher told this embarrassing story.

The teacher and a friend had gone out to a restaurant to celebrate the teacher’s birthday. While they were eating, the manager came over to the table and asked whether it was ok if another patron sang “Happy Birthday” instead of the wait staff. The teacher agreed. The patron, an older gentleman, sang well. The teacher thanked the singer, and the singer returned to his own table. The other person eating with the teacher asked, “Do you know who just sang “Happy Birthday” to you?” The teacher admitted that he didn’t recognize the singer. When he learned who the singer was, the teacher wanted to go speak to the singer and tell him how much the teacher enjoyed his music, but everything seemed too awkward.

Becky then told her coworkers that her story would top the other stories. Before Becky was a teacher, she had worked in a bank.

At the time this happened, she was a loan officer. One day she noticed a car at the drive through window, but the teller had stepped away for a moment. Becky wanted to be helpful. Since she didn’t have a customer at her desk, she went to the drive through and retrieved the papers from the drawer. The bank had a strict policy that the teller had to use the customer’s name three times during the course of the transaction. In fact, they had mystery shoppers to come to the bank to see if the teller used the customer’s name at least three times. If a teller failed to use the customer’s name at least three times, the bank would fine the teller’s paycheck. Becky didn’t recognize the customer, so she looked at his deposit slip for a clue.

Becky wasn’t sure of the name, but decided to pronounce both of the vowels in Shea, so her communication went something like this. “How are you Mr. SHE-uh? How can I help you today?”

I’d like to make a deposit.

“Ok. Mr. SHE-uh, I’ll take your deposit to one of the tellers and have her process your transaction.” That’s 2 times using his name.

Returning with the finished transaction, she gives the receipt to the customer and asked,”Is there anything else I can do for you Mr. SHE-uh?” (3 times) When he replied no, she added, “Have a nice afternoon, Mr. SHE-uh and your daughter too.”

Just as the customer’s car drove off, the drive through teller returned. She took one look at Becky and said. “You didn’t just call him Mr. SHE-uh! How could you make that mistake. Didn’t you read the name on his deposit slip? His whole name? That’s George Beverly Shea! And that is his wife, not his daughter.

Yes, Becky’s story about her encounter with George Beverly Shea was more embarrassing.

Internationally known singer, yet he did not take offense when folks didn’t recognize him or when they mangled the pronunciation of his name.



Happy Birthday Aunt Eloise (or a funny thing happened on the way down the aisle)

On the occasion of Eloise’s birthday, I thought I would share a few memories of Aunt Eloise, aka Aunt EE. I always thought it was cool that Aunt Eloise’s first and middle name started with the same initial. Then when she married, her name became even cooler because her maiden name and married name started with the same initials – EEMM. EloiseBruce

Eloise has always been interested in history. My family often vacationed with her; her love of history rubbed off on me. I remember visiting Gettysburg, Washington, DC, Amish country, and several other locations with Eloise. Rarely did we get to pass a historical marker without reading every word. Between Eloise’s love of history and my dad’s desire to see every odd or peculiar thing within driving distance of our hotel, we spent a great deal of vacation time in the car. Usually, I felt that I needed a vacation to rest up after we returned from our scheduled vacation.

Recently Eloise shared the following story with me and I’m including it with a couple of editing tweaks: My cousin & I [Eloise] were sharing a house in DC. A good friend called and said that he was in DC just returning from Army deployment in Korea. We invited him for dinner and mentioned if he wanted to bring along another guy he could. (That made 2 gals, 2 guys). Oops. Serve a Jewish guy ham for dinner—learn next day he was Jewish! It was a pleasant evening—I do not even remember that red-headed Jewish soldier’s name!!!! Just a funny memory now….and a faux pas! He was courteous and ate it without a word.

Here’s another memory that makes me smile. I recently mentioned this story to Eloise, but she didn’t remember it. However, she told me about the incident when I was visiting her in NC one summer probably a decade or more ago, so I guess I thought it was funnier than she did. The day before my visit, Eloise had sliced up some cucumbers fresh from the garden and decided that they would be better with a splash of vinegar. She carried the bowl to the laundry room because she kept the vinegar there to use as a laundry aid. She took off the lid and drizzled the liquid on the vegetables. When she got to the table, you guessed it, she had sprinkled the cucumber slices with bleach.

When my brother tells the following story about a time he and my parents were eating lunch with Eads and Eloise, Bryan includes arm motions and everything. Here’s Eloise’s version of the story (copied and pasted with minor edits): I do remember when your family came to visit us while we lived in Maryland—–I believe Bruce was a toddler. I had forgotten the event until someone (probably Bryan) reminded me of it in recent years. Evidently it struck him as funny even though he had deep sympathy for the dog. We had just sat down at the dining table for a meal. I picked up the catsup (or salad dressing?) bottle, gave it a quick check to see the cap was on securely. Then I turned the bottle upside down and I jerked the bottle down quickly by my thigh to get the contents flowing quickly. I did not know that our beloved dachshund was standing by my feet. Wham! Poor doggie! He got whacked right in the head. I guess he forgave me….we kept him for years and always enjoyed him.

In 1968, Eloise married Eads (Bill) her longtime boyfriend. My family went to the DC area for the wedding. I was hoping to get to be a flower girl since many of my friends had been flower girls in weddings, but that wasn’t the plan. Perhaps it was a consolation prize, or perhaps it had been the plan all along, but Eloise asked my brother Bryan and me to light the candles in the branched candle stands on either side of the platform at the beginning of the ceremony. Being 10 years old and very responsible and very proud of myself, I listened carefully to the instructions. Bryan, being almost 7 and not that interested in the wedding was playing with the wick in the lighter and looking all around at the vestibule. I was so excited and felt so important. (If this incident had happened recently, the video would be YouTube or Funniest Home Videos.) Finally after waiting so long, it was time for Bryan and I to walk down to light the candles. I followed the instructions. I walked over to the side, walked up the steps, and started lighting the candles from the highest to lowest. Bryan just saw the candles. There were candles, and he had fire to light them. Who needs steps? I was indignant when I realized that he was lighting the candles from lowest to highest. I was embarrassed when he climbed on the altar rail to reach higher. I was mortified when he began to tumble into the greenery. I think the soloist had to grab him. Despite all that, Eads and Eloise had a nice wedding and recently celebrated their 45th anniversary.