Friday, October 08, 2004

Did you hear that?

This tale requires some family background. I come from a large close Cajun family with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. We still see each other many times throughout the year but when we were kids we spent most weekends and most vacations together.

One memorable experience was the Ransonette/Chapman cousins' appearance on the "Cowboy John Show." This was a children's show based in Port Arthur, Texas in the early 1960's. The stars of the show were "Cowboy John" and "Black Bart." Part of the program involved "Cowboy John" interviewing the kids in the audience. At the time of our television debut my cousin Dawn and I were about 8, my sister Terry 7, my cousin Susan 6, my brother Stuart 5 and my sister Bonnie and cousin Derek would have been about 2. Bonnie and Derek did not join us for our moment of fame as, alas, they were too young.

I was nervous as "Cowboy John" approached the bleachers to begin chatting with the kids. His usual opening question was "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Not very creative but guaranteed to get a response. I don't recall what Dawn and I said we wanted to be. I'm sure it was either a nurse or a teacher, the popular choices of the day. My sister, Terry, said she wanted to be a cowgirl. Even at that age, Terry was sucking up to the host. While I was still trying to recover from the humiliation of my sister's alleged lifelong ambition to poke dogies, "Cowboy John" approached Susan.

"And what is your name little girl?", he asked innocently.

"Susan, " she said.

"And what would you like to be when you grow up?"

Susan's response?

"A seahorse."

Yes, that's right. Susan wanted to be a seahorse. To this day, she doesn't know why she said it.

The "Cowboy John Show" had a dubious claim to fame in Port Arthur. The story is told that on one program, when "Cowboy John" approached a group of snickering boys and asked them what was so funny (on live television of course) one of the boys responded, "Michael farted." That's foreshadowing.

Well, Susan is all grown up now with two amazing daughters, Christy and Dannielle. Dannielle is in the Army and is training to be a paratrooper. A couple of summers ago, Dannielle was stationed in El Paso, Texas. My sister Bonnie and I accompanied Susan to El Paso to visit Dannielle and tour New Mexico. We had a wonderful time. We visited the White Sands National Monument, saw "aliens" in Roswell and went to Carlsbad Caverns. Susan tumbled down a huge hill at the White Sands National Monument (not on purpose). It was all elbows and assholes and one of the funniest damn things I've ever seen in my life. (Did I mention that she once fell into the jello when we were in the food line at Luby's?) Susan also cavorted with "aliens" in Roswell and left her mark in Carlsbad Caverns.

When you tour Carlsbad Caverns, you have a choice of taking the elevator down into the caverns or walking down. Being the fine physical specimans we are, we decided to walk down. It's about 1.5 miles of narrow, winding, steep downhill walking. You walk down single file feeling much like an adventurous Hobbit. There are many people (strangers) walking in front of and behind you and your little spelunking party. We began our trek with Bonnie in front, followed by me, then Dannielle, then Susan.

Everything was going well and we were enjoying ourselves and the magical wonders of the caverns immensely. Suddenly, the church-like silence was broken by an unmistakably familiar sound. Bonnie stopped dead in her tracks and turned to me with wide eyes and said, "Did you hear that?" Me, not wanting to be rude and assuming the offending rumble came from someone not of our party whispered back, "Yeah. I wonder who..." As I turned to ask Dannielle if she heard it, she had already spun around and, I can only assume because of her shock and amazement, was loudly asking her mother, "MOM, was that YOU?!"

Now, Susan, from the shock of being confronted so boldly is bent over laughing hysterically. Farting in Carlsbad Caverns (can you say echo?) has become secondary to trying not to pee on herself. This, of course, starts a chain reaction of bent-over-trying-not-to-pee laughter from all four of us. Strangers in front of and behind us politely pretend they heard nothing and move on (rather quickly I might add) and we eventually regained our composure.

Yep, we're one classy family.


Lorna said...

Loved this story, and the nostalgia for family that it evokes; also find your profile mildly familiar and your Meryl Streep-like photo impressive.

Susan in St. Paul said...

LOL! Y'all are funny.