The Major’s Corner Giggler

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There are many things in my life that I wish I could undo, particularly in my misspent youth.
At the ripe old age of six I was madly in love with a Martha Pickle, whose family thought I was a splotch of the first order. This is a fair assessment of your dear Major at that age, as I was caught many times by her outraged father sitting down quietly but uninvited to their evening dinners. Did I think I would not be noticed seated between her brothers?
Mr. Pickle became an expert at flinging me in an arc from his veranda at sunset. I had just wanted to catch Martha’s attention with one of my winning smiles, instead of being the frightful hooligan who sat three rows over from her in class. It was a plan that struggled from the start and ended badly. Sorry, Martha.
Another exploit that vaporized my early reputation was due to innate fear on my part. I had never had the strap as punishment at school but others told me there was no escape and eventually all suffered the leather demon. In my case it was for the giggles.
We Smythe-Browns down through the ages have been “for the high jump” more than once because we could not avoid making little noises at inappropriate times. One of my distant uncles, Humboldt Smythe-Brown, was at court during the reign of Bloody Mary when she showed her courtiers a painting of herself which bore no resemblance to the female monarch — it was of a beautiful woman. Humboldt tried not to giggle but it was too much, and so was burned at Oxford the day after the bishops Latimer and Ridley, still giggling.
In my case it was because of seeing a large teacher at Crescent School sliding on a dollop of porridge and tittering at his dilemma. He had hurt his leg quite painfully and was in no mood to see a jammy-faced lower-school boy amused by it.
He limped into his study with me in his grip and told me to hold out my hand. I presented my shaking appendage as he raised the dreaded instrument high above his head and then with great force brought it down. Meanwhile my hand had decided that this was nonsense and removed itself from the field of battle, with the result that there was nothing for the hurtling strap to hit. It continued down, striking the teacher on his already inflamed thigh and catching part of his wedding tackle. The primal scream that filled the teachers’ study that day only encouraged me to leg it for parts unknown. Sorry, Mr. Berry.
My poor father had such hopes for me, which were dashed after he witnessed my performance at the same Crescent school’s games day. I narrowly missed the guest speaker with a badly thrown javelin and I pulled up short in the 440 yard dash because I had forgotten to use the toilet earlier. My father despised forgetfulness and therefore found me much wanting in the “son” category. I tried to please him and looking back I think he was fond of me but did not see a bright future for me. I did not disappoint him. Sorry, Father.
We all know the old saying “Behind every successful husband stands an astonished wife.” In my case I am not overly successful and yet my wife is still astonished. After a few gins she says it is because we are together after some 40 years and relatively content. I do not bother finishing her sentence “as long as I do as I am told.” I do love the old girl, for I am far better for marrying her. Thank you Kitty.
Copyright Christopher Dalton.


The Major’s Corner… Romeo and Juliet at the club.


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  1. Alan

    Major. Your life story is almost my own. Ah well !

    • Alan

      Alas, the Major is no more.

      Shortly after writing this June 11th episode, Chris Dalton, aka the Major, sadly passed away unexpectedly. He will be missed by all who knew him.

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