Blog Post # 51: Look Back and Laugh

Some memories may certainly be difficult or painful. Isn’t it great that they can often be balanced with those that only bring a smile, if not outright laughter!  Here are a couple of mine that definitely fit the latter category.    

Squash Salad

One summer while I was in college, my little sister Elizabeth came to stay with us. We decided to go on a picnic in the Apalachicola National Forest with my friends Betsy and Kathleen,.  My sister worked hard and long on a beautiful fruit salad, arranged artistically on a large plate.

By the time we arrived at the picnic place, it was already dark. We were setting up, spreading the blanket and putting out the food when my friend Betsy sat down and started saying how she understood why the settlers loved the outdoors because the ground felt so good to sit on. She talked for a couple minutes about the settlers and how lucky the little animals were to live in the comfortable forest, when all at once she shouted “Oh My Gosh!!! I’m sitting on the Fruit Salad!”

We all broke up laughing and laughing. Elizabeth had covered the fruit salad with saran wrap, so we went ahead and ate it. It was squashed, but delicious!

Tangled Words

When I was in 5th grade we were preparing to visit one of Mom’s friends. Mom was busy so she asked me to call the lady to ask for her address. I called the lady, and when she answered, what came out of my mouth was “Do you know where you live?”  Of course she had a good chuckle at that.

Recently I was assigned a new partner for my fitness training.  My new partner was to be Danielle, the wife of a man who I already knew, as he trained right after me. So when he came in right after I learned my new partner news, I excitedly told him “Danielle is my new wife!”.  After he and my trainer finished laughing I corrected myself “Danielle is my new partner!”


I always remember one time when I was in 4th grade and parents lined up to pick up kids after school. Each day I would walk out, find my Mom’s car in the line and hop in.  One day I found my Mom’s car, hopped in, and was starting to tell her about my day when I felt like something was wrong. I looked up and the driver was not my Mom, but some other’s kid’s Dad! He was laughing at me. I yelped and quickly jumped out. 

Directionally Challenged

I’ve always been directionally challenged.  I’ve had lots of experience getting lost. And everyone in my family not only knows it, they depend upon it. For example,

Mom always talked about that when I was wrong she would find her car in the parking lot after shopping by simply asking me where we parked. Whichever direction I would point,  she knew her car would be in the opposite direction.

Of course I got lost a lot when I got older and I learned to drive. Whenever it happened, I would find a payphone (this was long before the days of GPS and cell phones), call my Dad and ask him, “Dad, which way do I go to get home?” The first thing he would say was “Okay, do you see anyone nearby?”  I would tell him where the nearest person was. He would say “Good, now go ask that person which city you’re in.” Notice Dad’s question was not “What street are you on?” or “What neighborhood are you in?” but “What city”? That tells you just how lost I often got!

When my stepsons were small and first knew me, they would get upset when I was driving us somewhere and of course we would get lost. As time went by I was able to convince them that even though I was lost I still drove safely. After that they would just roll their eyes and patiently wait till I  eventually found the right place.

One time, soon after we moved from Florida to an apartment in Northern Virginia, I even got lost in a parking garage! I drove  around and around looking for the way to drive out.  After 50 long minutes of driving in circles I finally parked the car and walked out of one of the doors (for people, not cars), and went to the front desk of the apartment complex and asked the guy how to get out of the parking garage. He thought I was joking with him, so wouldn’t tell me. So I went  back to the garage, walked in the car entrance and traced the path to the car. Then I reversed my path to drive out.  It turned out my confusion arose because the Florida parking garages I had experience with only had above-ground levels,  so I was used to simply driving down the ramps until I hit the ground level, and voila — that’s where the exit would be.  In Virginia, our garage had several levels below ground and I had to  go UP to find the exit. So in that case it was actually the garage that was directionally challenged, not me.

Now I love Siri. However, I’m still apt to call my husband and ask “Which way do I go to get home?”  

LESSON LEARNED: Sometimes when things go wrong, it gives us a great laugh — not only if not in the moment, at least in the years to come.  

LESSON LEARNED: When recalling past goof-ups, let go the embarrassment and treasure the smile.

LESSON LEARNED: Some mistakes are expensive; others are priceless.

LESSON LEARNED: Although technology can be amazing, there is nothing better than a loving voice to guide you home — even (or especially) when they are trying hard not to laugh.

Games and YouTube Videos

Here are the links to my signing and cueing YouTube “Word Of The Day” channels. I post a new word every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Check it out and I would love to know what you think of them!

YouTube ASL Word Of The Day

YouTube Cued Speech Word Of The Day

Also, Check out my Adventure Games in the App Stores

Please join me for my new blog posts each Friday.  Have fun with your ASL and/or Cued Speech Adventures!

— Donna Gateley

Published by Donna Gateley

Developer of SignCueQuest and CueQuest

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