“Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.”

The sun is shining but it is not warm, a bit of a deception I think. The sky is deep blue and beautiful. Lots of birds are taking advantage of the free food at the feeders. There is even a waiting line.

Hunky dory was part of an answer in the crossword puzzle today. It got me thinking. I don’t remember the last time I even heard anyone say hunky dory which is too bad as it has a great sound when said out loud, and it is one of those phrases which defies description. It’s a context guess but a tough one. Answer everything is hunky dory and tone alone would have to give the clue.

I do the crossword puzzle every day, and I’m noticing that many of the answers seem too easy. Most of these are historical, but for me, they’re like yesterday as I lived through them. I can imagine a twenty or thirty someone sitting and mulling. In my day, they’d chew on the eraser and mull. Now, I guess they sit at the keyboard. I can’t believe that sitting at the keyboard gives the same sort of help that chewing an eraser did. I was able to fill in every square, and I also did the cryptogram in a short time this morning. I felt smart.

Rhetorical questions were the bane of my childhood. “What do you think you’re doing?” sounds like a legitimate question but giving an answer was talking back. It took me a while to sort that out. “Who do you think you are?” was another one of those questions to avoid. It was usually asked when I’d already done something wrong, something above my station. My mother was a master at the rhetorical question. As soon as she asked, “And who do you think is cleaning that up?” I headed to get the whisk broom and the dust pan.

My mother was also the queen of quilt. She got us every time. When she’d ask us to do something and we’d say in a minute, my mother went into her theatrics. “Never mind. I’ll do it myself,” she’d say oozing with self-pity and disappointment. We’d scurry to get done what she wanted. Sometimes, though, she’d add to the guilt by saying, “Too late. I’ll do it myself.” That was a heavy burden to carry, and she knew it. My mother was a master at her art.

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15 Comments on ““Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.””

  1. Beto Says:

    There is no Yin and Yang, only the vacuum created by those who guilt and those who don’t care spins us through the footless halls of time and space.

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My mother tried all those tactics but they didn’t work on us. If she said, “Nevermind, I’ll do it myself”, we’d let her. We must have been demon spawn devoid of any sense of guilt. No, it was better for her to say,”You! Do that. Now! Or I’ll tell your father.” 🙂
    I moved the suet feeder yesterday. It seemed to be in too exposed an area and the birds weren’t comfortable. I had to move it again this morning because it was too close to a bush and the spawns were able to jump on it. I hope it’s somewhere in the middle ground between exposure to hawks and exposure to spawns. The Hunky Dory spot. 🙂
    I had a dentist appointment this morning so now I have the numb fat lip thing going on. It’s at the stage where the novocaine is wearing off, there are phantom itchy spots but my face is too numb for me to find them.
    It’s sunny and cool with not much wind. Rocky is driving me nuts because there is a woodchuck somewhere out there and he wants it. He thinks. 🙂
    Enjoy the day.

    • Kat Says:

      Caryn,
      We didn’t let her do it unless she was really into guilting us and did it herself and wouldn’t let us.

      Telling my father was for really bad stuff as my mother wasn’t a disciplinarian: she was too easy going!

      I love it-the hunky dory spot!!

      I hate it when the numbness starts to go away and the itch starts.
      Knowing it is not any larger than usual, I still look as at my lip expecting it to be enormous.

      Today is eye appointment, and I know I need stronger glasses and also two new pair. My back up glasses have two broken ear pieces with black duct tape. I pray always that my good glasses don’t break.

      Gracie just ran outside when I sneezed. Scardy cat (proverbially of course).

  3. olof1 Says:

    Summer is my time with crossword puzzles, I can sit all day and only managin to write down a few words 🙂 🙂 🙂 The cryptogram is much easier for me. I hate to call my mother for help because then she usuallly tells me everything 🙂

    Yes the guilt! My mother used guilt a lot but her mother was the queen of guilt in my family 🙂 Especially around christmas if it sounded as if we wanted to spend christmas eve somewhere else than with her. I think she used grandpa fpr over twenty years to make us come over. You know granpa might not be with us for so much longer, I think he might have Parkinson’s disease 🙂 🙂 🙂

    We all knew he was healthy as a lark (as we say over here) but still she always got her will through 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • Kat Says:

      Christer,
      My mother always had several crossword puzzle books beside her chair. I’d do a couple and also try to fill in something she either missed or didm’t know. I have one she was working on when she got sick. I save it as a great memory of my mother.

      The grandfather ploy is a good one!! Kudos to your mother for using that one to her advantage!

      We say healthy as a horse. I prefer lark!

      Have a great evening!!

  4. Birgit Says:

    I had to look up the meaning of hunky dory. Yes, funny word sound, reminds me of the beautiful english expression hurdy gurdy. Nowadays crossword puzzles are made by computer programs, a sad imagination.

    • Kat Says:

      Birgit,
      I love hurdy gurdy, and it is also a favorite Donovan song of mine.
      There are still people who write puzzles: their names are always on their puzzles.

      You can’t program a computer to be sly and use clues with hidden meanings.

  5. Vintage Spins Says:

    . . . and all this time, I was convinced my mother was the queen of guilt! I still suspect she could give your mother a good run for her money though, Kat.

  6. Bob Says:

    Guilt does stay with us into adulthood and affects us in many ways. Both your and my mother must have gone to the same school. My mother could have earned a Phd in guilt. I can remember her looking at me with a stern look of disapproval and saying, “What do you want to do? Send me to an early grave”. If she was really angry she would exclaim, “I am going to put my head in the oven”. I would start to cry when she opened the oven door. When I was a little older I would respond to that one by telling her, “Go ahead, it’s an electric oven”. Later on she would grab a huge knife from the kitchen draw and threaten, “If you do that I am going to kill myself right now”. Of course I begged her not to do it and apologized profusely for even thinking of doing some terrible deed. Sometimes she would tell us she was leaving us forever and then get into the car and drive around the block while my sister and I worried who was going to take care of us until my father returned from out of town on Friday night. We never thought that she wouldn’t get too far without a suitcase.

    My mother never heard about the ills of destroying mine or my sister’s self esteem by making us feel very bad. They thought that throwing guilt was building character.

    My favorite was when I ran home with tears streaming after playing in the park and I told her that bad boys had beaten me up. She replied, “What did you do to make the bad boys mad at you? It became my fault. I’m amazed that I grew up without having to spend years in psychoanalysis.

    • Kat Says:

      Bob,
      Your mother had a great guilt thing going. The driving around the block was sheer brilliance. The knife was a bit over the top, but the early grave is a perfect mother question straight out of the handbook I sear they all get.

      Guilting us was far easier than yelling at us. We had learned to block out yelling but guilt hung in the air over our heads until we did what she wanted in the first place.

      Luckily I never had a problem with older kids so I didn’t have to find out what my mother would have said. I’d like to think she would have been sympathetic.

  7. Cuidado Says:

    My favorite is, “Who do you think you are?”


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