In every large family there will generally be one member who acts as if they were dropped on their head when young. In Ma’s family, that one happened to be my Aunt Dodie.
It isn’t that there was anything actually wrong with Dodie’s head (apart from her eyesight), it’s just that she never seemed to use it.
Dodie seems to have been a master at displaying the sort of rather engaging fecklessness which, traditionally, if not desired, precisely, is relatively tolerated in very young females. She also seems to have been working this particular vein as her very own personal signature from a fairly early age.
Dodie seems to have started out as one of those children who really did claim to best like the hymn about “The Cross-Eyed Bear”, as well as the other one about; “Sewing in the Morning, and Bringing in the Sheets”.
But where most kids eventually reach an age where they learn to keep their mouths shut until they know what they are talking about rather than risk sounding like zip-damn fools in public, Dodie would still go blurting in where angels fear to plead.
This would certainly have assured her of receiving her full share of attention among five other siblings, but it made for a certain amount of public embarrassment on the part of my grandmother.
And I doubt whether this was eased to any degree upon those occasions where reflection would have shown her that she had only herself to blame.
After all, if she would entrust Dodie to inform the manager of the local Rock-Bottom Grocery of her complaints, she might have foreseen that Dodie would deliver it as; “Mr. Rock-Bottom! My mommy says that those peaches you sold her were rotten, and if she can’t get them replaced she’s going to find a new Rock-Bottom store!” Or that, when Dodie came home from school popping off about how the school nurse had told her that she was too thin, and Gran (who had a sense of humor, despite coming across as rather white-mousish in public) jokingly said that she ought to tell the nurse that she was built for speed, not comfort, might have guessed that Dodie could be trusted to do exactly that.