My parents are politically-conservative, good-natured, honest people whose embarrassing proclivities are full of contradictions. Maybe they should have been nudists.
  1. Three words: Translucent Chartreuse Speedo. He's not European and not a frequenter of the Pines, yet for years my dad would not give up on his see-through-when-wet Speedos until a weekend church getaway to a lake house that bequeathed 48-hours of teasing by other dads until he relented and threw them out.
  2. Mom's red negligee. Some moms wear housecoats. My mom threw an in-home lingerie party to earn a free red satin nightie. Women in my family have huge knockers. Mom's came past her navel, but she still went braless and panty-less, doing housework in her nightie until 3PM some days.
  3. At 4PM, mom could be found still in red lingerie, chasing across the lawn with her thundering breasts to the wind to stop the Schwann's delivery guy from passing our house. She always got his attention.
  4. It's Bible time. Red negligee or not, mom would sometimes steal my friends from me for an impromptu Bible reading on her queen-sized waterbed and encourage a group prayer to overcome any challenges they may be facing at home. All the praying in the world didn't seem to eradicate my annoyances at home. Like Bible time.
  5. This list is wardrobe heavy, I know, but dad's G-strings. When friends were over, I'd be asked to finish my chores like laundry. Having no idea how to fold a g-string, I'd recruit my friend to tie them all in a chain of g-strings, ready to be perfectly strung around a Christmas tree.
  6. Their politics. My dad could find a way to segue from a benign conversation about salad condiments into a one-man shouting match about the demise of society in this leftist, socialist, vulgar, dishonest nation of ours. Moments like these were highly unexpected by friends on a first-time visit merely requesting that dad pass the Italian dressing.
  7. "Our God Is An Awesome God" was my mom's theme song --especially when cleaning the house in her red nightie. The best chance I had at steering her towards anything in the pop world was Bette Midler's "From a Distance" because "God is watching us."
  8. Mom always pointing out to my friends how nasty and unkind I was because of my sarcasm and quick-witted comments that she felt were meant to destroy her because she could never do anything good enough and was nothing but a failure. Her words. I just wanted her to wear a bra and turn on the Top 40.
  9. Bring on the tears. Growing older, I've come to realize that sensitivity can be a gift. But as a kid, I was often humiliated by the ease at which a TV commercial or snippy comment from me or using all the vanilla extract in an ill-fated recipe could bring my mom to full fledged tears.
  10. Not closing the bathroom door. My mom's theory is that after birthing 3 kids she already let it all hang out so what was the point of modesty?
  11. Their poor landscaping skills. My parents bought a modular home on a lot of clay. Grass would not grow, sod was too expensive, and they thought I could hop across loose cardboard. Every wet morning I would get stuck in the quicksand yard, often losing my shoes and socks and boarding the bus barefoot with inches of muck stuck to my shoes in hand.
  12. My mom's need to be touchy feely. For years she worked with patients coming out of surgery, who often appreciated her gentle touch. My boyfriend was not so receptive when being cornered in the spare bedroom as mom tried to hold his hand, explaining, "I just want you to be comfortable around us!"