“I’m trading you two in for good kids,” my dad bellowed to Chickenbone and I one summer day long ago after we’d been acting up.
After our parents divorced, Chickenbone and I spent summers at my father’s house in Carlsbad, California. We were generally allowed to run amok during the day while he was at work, or sometimes we would spend days at our grandparents house nearby. We loved the freedom, but we also got bored after a while.
We were shocked. “Trade us in? What do you mean?”, one of us asked.
“I’m trading you two in. As soon as the catalog comes in the mail, I’m going to trade you two in for good kids.”
Rumor has it my family is related to a bunch few famous people. Most of whom you’ve probably never heard of.
Ted McGinley, the cute actor. One of his more well-known roles was as Jefferson Darcy on ‘Married with Children’. Yes, that guy! He really does look like the male members of my father’s side of the family. My aunt knows the details, but we’re distant cousins or something… which is too bad because otherwise he just might have made my previously posted list.
On my mother’s side, we’re related to Bertrand Russell, 3rd Earl of Russell, a philosopher, mathematician, humanitarian, and Nobel Prize winner. (Apparently, the “smarts” aren’t necessarily hereditary, otherwise I’d be famous rather than infamous.) We’re related through the Duke of Bedford. By all accounts a nice guy, but it seems Bertrand’s life was a bit of an emotional roller coaster at times. Here’s a quote from his biography:But, wait! There’s more…
I am owned by a cat. Those of you who know me well know Checkers, The Kibble Wrangler, is my world.
Yes, I am a crazy cat lady.
Love me, love the cat. It’s a package deal.
Now that we’ve established that, realize that she can do little wrong. This will become evident as this story progresses.
My sister, Chickenbone, used to always ask, “How can you have a cat? There’s that whole stinky litter box that needs to be scooped all the time, there’s the barfing on the carpet. All that’s just gross.” (I retorted with some quip about children and diapers. I do not have kids. She now has a cat/litter box and a kid/diapers. I win.)
Yes, kitty poop is gross, as is the occasional cling-on (poo stuck to butt fur), but it’s so inconsequential when compared to the unconditional love she gives.
MY. WORLD., People.
This post is in honor of her approaching 16th birthday. Happy Birthday Checkers, from the interwebs!(Yup, she gets gifts and special treats on her birthday just like I do. Mine is coming before hers. Feel free to send gifts to both of us. My email address in on my About page. She wants a big cat tree. I want a tropical vacation.)
On with the cat-ass-trophe… But, wait! There’s more…
When I was little, I loved (and still do) currants, those small, raisin-like dried berries. But I couldn’t say “currants” so I called them ‘kernuts’.
What an adorable, and apparently none-too-bright, child.
But there’s more. Not too many years later, my father invented a wonderful, humorous, and on-going bedtime story for my sister and I. He needed names for the characters representing our alter-egos and I’ll bet you can guess what MY pseudonym was. Yup, Kernut.
You chuckle, sure, but guess what my sister’s pseudonym was? Chickenbone. So named because she loved chicken and was once-too-often seen gnawing on a chicken bone.
Kernut doesn’t seem so silly now, does it? Yes, we both need therapy.
“The Adventures of Chickenbone and Kernut”, the title of my father’s bedtime saga, included a host of other characters: The Six-dollar and Ninety-nine Cent Man” (made from old Barbie parts, etc. If you are over 35 then you know to whom this is in reference), Splat (for the pony my sister always wanted), and Potion (a highly intelligent guinea pig, to represent our pet guinea pigs). The adventures were largely heroic in nature, included time-travel, treasure hunting, and lots of sweets. It was all of our best childhood fantasies in a story about “us”.
Chickenbone, Kernut, and the gang always celebrated with massive sundaes at the end of each adventure (not in real life, just in the story). Yet, I continue to wonder where my insatiable sweet-tooth comes from. (Note to my readers: It’s probably not a good idea to include massive sugar fests in a bedtime story to your kids now or they may need to join a 12-step program later. Just sayin’.)
My father is a master story teller; he kept us in suspense the whole time, and illustrated the adventure of the evening with stick drawings on a note pad. We were hooked, and it is a fond childhood memory for both of us.
While I made up the word by mispronouncing ‘currant’ as a kid, my father assures me to this day, this is a REAL word. He claims a kernut is a half-popped popcorn kernel. You know – those little half-popped bits of popcorn at the bottom of the bowl that you will eat the white tops off of when desperate for the last little taste of popcorn. (Admit it, you’ve done this, too.)
To verify ‘kernut’ is a word, I have searched dictionary.com, urbandictionary.com, the internet in general, and my 30-pound (no lie) Miriam-Webster’s Unabridged International Dictionary.
There is no word ‘kernut’ in any dictionary. Apparently, this making up of words runs in the family.