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Living In Living Rooms?

Most of us that grew up around here did so in homes that weren’t very big ones. They typically didn’t have fancy parlors, patios, breakfast nooks, or any of that other high falutin‘ stuff. But, no matter how small our houses were, they all had one thing in common - living rooms.

Living rooms. To be frank, I’ve always wanted to kick the shins (or worse) of whomever invented them. They were by far the worst room in the house, and for good reason(s):

1. The name itself is a lie - “living room.” I don’t know about ya’ll, but at our house we were never even allowed to use the living room. The sofa and chairs in there were the best in the house, and God forbid if we ever actually sat down on them. The best pictures we had hung on the wall there, and usually a couple of really classy magazines like the National Geographic or Life were laid out on the coffee table. Everything was in there but people, and that’s just how my mom liked it. Ed Jr. said that living rooms were one of life’s mysteries, and to just leave it at that.

2. They were way too clean. Ours had hardwood floors, and they were always kept shined up. I learned not to even sneak around in there, as one winter afternoon I did just that and walked across the slick floor wearing just a pair of socks. After a couple of steps I slipped and fell, which caused enough racket to wake up a rock. My mom came in there faster than Wimpy on a cheeseburger, and I quickly learned that my butt and the living room did not go together. I wince even now thinking about it.

3. The only time you did get invited in there was when you had “special company.” Translated, that meant that you were only allowed in there when either a politician or one of your mom’s relatives happened to be there. I was always amazed that these people were allowed to lounge around in the chairs, and could even spill stuff and get away with it. My mom even laughed sometimes when they did.

It was even worse when the visitor involved was a preacher. That meant that you had to get all dressed up - at a bare minimum you’d have on your Sunday pants, a stiff white shirt, and a tie. You even had to brush your teeth before he got there, which always galled me, especially if it was an afternoon visit. When he showed up, you had to sit on some old, stiff-backed chairs that you wouldn’t have electrocuted a convict in. And, sitting there was all you were allowed to do, as you had been instructed beforehand that you were to be “seen and not heard,” and that was it. End of discussion.

I remember one time when we had the preacher over, and he got on a roll, talking for well over two hours. My mom sat there the entire time in rapt attention, and my brother and I were completely miserable. I noticed that Ernest was getting sort of squirmy in his chair, and finally the pressure got to him, and he reached down and scratched his butt right out in front of everybody. My mom was appalled, and immediately ordered him to leave the room. As soon as he did, the preacher went back to talking, and I can remember thinking that something just wasn’t right - I was being good, and as a result was being forced to listen to the preacher, and my brother had just misbehaved, and he was as free as a bird. I then realized there was only one thing to do - I burped, really, really loud. My mom cried, “Edward,” and, with a horrified look, marched me out of the room and told me that she would deal with me later. When the preacher did leave, my mom told me that I had royally embarrassed her, and then proceeded to warm up my heiny like a bowl of grits. She did nothing to my brother, which led me to believe that butt scratching must be less sinful than burping.

So you see what I mean? Any room that you can’t sit down in, walk the floor in, or even scratch yourself in is not a room - it‘s a prison, only decorated better. Maybe that’s something to consider - if prison overcrowding continues, maybe corrections officials would consider leasing out living rooms for cons to be housed in. If slick floors, National Geographics, and long-winded preachers don’t set ‘em straight, nothing will...

Submitted by:

Ed Williams

Ed’s latest book, “Rough As A Cob,“ can be ordered by calling River City Publishing toll-free at: 877-408-7078. He’s also a popular after dinner speaker, and his column runs in a number of Southeastern publications. You can contact him via email at: ed3@ed-williams.com, or through his web site address at: www.ed-williams.com.





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