Thursday, December 20

Fran Moments

My mom called me yesterday afternoon when she and my dad arrived in Gatlinburg — they're up there for a few days to hear a timeshare pitch so they can stay at a nice chalet for free — to tell me that from their balcony they can see the little chairs that go over the road.

She was so excited. I was cracking up.

See, there's a hilarious family tale that explains all this (well, hilarious to the family). It even has video. If I could find it and transfer it from VHS to YouTube video, I would.

Back when I was a junior in high school, my family and Phil and I took a trip down to Atlanta for a few days (I think my mom, an RN, had to take some sort of certification test there) and then up through the mountains in Tennessee for a few more. We stayed in some little cabin just off the main drag. It snowed. We played putt-putt golf and toured the Ripley's museum. As we were leaving town, my mom was filming everything around us, telling it all goodbye.

When we passed under the chairlift that took tourists up atop a big hill (I hesitate to call it a mountain), my mom said, "Goodbye, little chairs that go over the road!"

That moment — immortalized in film — became an inside joke in my family, and has become a reference point for what I like to call "Fran moments."

They are moments of supreme silliness or airheadedness, when you blurt something nonsensical or misunderstand or misconstrue the obvious. They are moments of quiet hilarity made funny by your own amusement by yourself. They are, in short, what makes my mother herself and what makes me a lot like her.

Turns out that while I had been calling these moments "Fran moments," my mom's co-workers had also been using that phrase to describe when she'd do or say something silly at work. Talk about synchronicity.

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