My mother is a Colorful Character (capital letters essential).

Why? That’s what she wants to know. All her children tell her she is. Her mother admits it. Our friends and acquaintances recognize her genius.

Some people are natural malapropers. She’s a born Colorful Character. Mother just can’t see anything unusual in the things that happen to her.

My sisters and I could hardly wait to get home from school and discover what she’d done that day. (Our friends looked forward to our regular stories. They sure helped history class.)

Had she baked a beautiful pumpkin pie … without sugar? We had eaten most of it before we realized why it wasn’t up to her usual high standard. Would she have knocked herself out by pulling the attic trap door down on her head? The lump wasn’t that large. And it only took a month or so for her eye to heal after she stuck her hair dryer in it. Or, her unusual answer when I asked why she hadn’t told me of a family event: “When didn’t I tell you?” she wondered.

But even years of strange stories and hilarious accidents had not prepared my younger sister for what happened one weekend. She heard a huge thump and a loud crack. Mother began laughing and simultaneously calling for help.

Rushing into the bathroom where my mother had been cleaning, Jo saw her trapped in the lavatory plumbing. Yes, it’s possible. Actually, only part of her—one leg—was in the bathroom bowl. The other leg, in split fashion, was in the tub.

It took awhile, but my sister extricated Mother from her awkward predicament. And we added another anecdote to our store of Sunday dinner tales. (No one in our family escapes, and the favorites, which grow funnier each year, get repeated over and over.)

When all the laughing had subsided and the wounds ...

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