Re­call­ing love, laugh­ter of fam­ily events past

Austin American-Statesman - - VIEWPOINTS - Inglis, re­cently re­tired as a neona­tal ICU staff nurse, is an ed­i­tor at the Se­ton Health­care Fam­ily. Toni inglis Reg­u­lar Con­trib­u­tor


noth­ing like the day af­ter Christ­mas for read­ing those fam­ily news­let­ters you didn’t have time to read be­fore to­day. Re­con­nect­ing with those we care about is part of the hol­i­day sea­son. We want to hear how fam­ily and friends are do­ing and to share how we’re do­ing.

But we’ve all got­ten those let­ters we can’t fin­ish, ei­ther be­cause they’re too long or too full of news of young Ella’s nau­se­at­ing ex­cel­lence. No. Peo­ple are far more in­ter­ested in hear­ing of one’s fail­ure, mis­ery and hu­mil­i­a­tion.

In honor of the 20-year an­niver­sary of the Inglis An­nual Report, I thought I’d share se­lect sec­tions from years past.

From 1995:

From 1997:

This year, (my son) Bur­ton (Knight) grad­u­ated from Texas A&M with a de­gree in hor­ti­cul­ture. One day, I was warm­ing up some­thing for our lunch and mut­tered un­der my breath, “I won­der how mi­crowaves work.”

“Well, you see, spe­cific wave­lengths that sci­en­tists clas­sify as mi­crowaves are gen­er­ated, and they scat­ter ran­domly,” Bur­ton ex­plained. “If th­ese wave­lengths crash into some­thing large enough, they ex­cite the ob­ject’s water mol­e­cules to spin, pro­duc­ing heat as ki­netic en­ergy. If the ob­ject in the oven is smaller than the mi­crowaves, it is not af­fected — like cock­roaches, for ex­am­ple.”

“How do you know?” I asked, fear­ing the an­swer.

Keep in mind that this is the univer­sity that is fa­mous for a cer­tain ROTC sergeant who at­tracted na­tional at­ten­tion by bit­ing off the head of a chicken to demon­strate a point in class.

“We tried it in ge­net­ics class,” he an­swered. “The lit­tle devils ran around in there as if noth­ing were hap­pen­ing for as long as we’d ‘wave ’em.’ ”

One evening while hav­ing din­ner with Su­san and Jim Sigmon, out of nowhere Ian re­flected, “I’ve of­ten thought what tor­ture it would be to be forced to empty an oil pan by us­ing solely the dip­stick.”

A mem­o­rably awk­ward si­lence fol­lowed dur­ing which Bur­ton whis­pered, “I think we have just been given a rare and stun­ning panoramic view into the com­plex­ity of Ian’s psy­che.”

Break­ing the si­lence, Jim said an­i­mat­edly, “DIP­STICK! Isn’t that a dip-(s___) who turns right in front of you with­out a turn sig­nal?!”

From 2002:

Ian’s still the in­cur­able ro­man­tic. While din­ing out on our an­niver­sary, he ex­cused him­self from the ta­ble. When he re­turned, he pre­sented me af­fec­tion­ately with a long­stemmed white, stun­ningly ex­otic flower with spiky petals. Deeply moved, yet mys­ti­fied how he could have pro­duced this ex­quis­ite flower at a restau­rant, I asked him where he got it. Never one to em­bel­lish the truth, he an­swered, “I found it on the floor of the men’s room.”

From 2006:

We went to the Texas State Fair this year. My fa­vorite part (be­sides Fletcher’s corny dogs) are the hog races. Ex­cite­ment filled the air as the hogs ea­gerly waited at the start­ing line: Pjörk, Al­fred Hitch­hock, Leonardo DiPi­grio, Oprah Swine­frey, Kevin Ba­con, Snoop Hog­gyHog, Jean-Claude Van Hamme and Arnold Sch­nouten­heimer.

With a loud bang, they were off in a dead run. Peo­ple were cheer­ing wildly when sud­denly tragedy struck. Oprah Swine­frey — who, poor thing, was ut­terly full from lac­tat­ing, look­ing like she had just given birth to at least a dozen piglets — slipped on a patch of slick saw­dust and crashed down onto her side. Ev­ery­one gasped and rose; you could hear a pin drop in the in­door arena.

In an act of un­told brav­ery and de­ter­mi­na­tion, Oprah strug­gled back onto her hooves and took off rac­ing again, cross­ing the fin­ish line a good 15 sec­onds af­ter the last hog. The crowd went wild! Kevin Ba­con came in first, but Oprah was clearly the win­ner.

The 1994 report ended with: “As I look at the fam­ily por­trait, I re­al­ize I’m a part of some­thing im­por­tant, some­thing spe­cial, some­thing that I hope one day can be con­trolled by med­i­ca­tion.”

Ex­cite­ment filled the air as the hogs ea­gerly waited at the start­ing line.

Toni Inglis seizes a ro­man­tic moment with her hus­band, Ian.

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