OPINION COLUMNS

Kids, especially boys, WILL say the darndest things

By Willis Webb | Published Saturday, June 16, 2012

Art Linkletter had a daily daytime TV program back in the 1950s, and it spawned a book, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” Linkletter did the show live as were many shows then, particularly daytime productions such as his House Party.

I have a grandniece who will say the darndest things, except hers are somewhat tamer than the “wilder” ones from House Party.

Halle Ruth Webb is a 5-year-old with an angelic face. However, her parents have been known to hold their breath when she is speaking to someone outside the family.

Recently Halle’s mother stopped at the school to pick up her daughter and was greeted by an excited but secretive Halle: “Mama, we’re going to have a party for our parents, but it’s a secret so don’t tell yourself.”

I believe Robin and Jeremy have less to worry about with Halle than the parents of kids, mostly ages 4 to 8 or 9, who appeared on Linkletter’s House Party.

As the oldest of four boys, many times I had tasks that usually befell the father of the house. Our dad was a rancher and cattle buyer. An auction six days a week more often than not brought him home well past our bedtime.

One Christmas, I was home from college and the youngest of my brothers (Halle Ruth’s grandfather, then about 7) was making noises like he didn’t believe in Santa Claus.

So, I hatched a plot with our mother where we’d see if we could “convince” him to believe in Santa. Mother kept little brother in a front room while I made like Santa and put gifts under the tree. Then, I gave Mother a signal that I was finished and went out the back door.

As planned, our mom took little brother to the room where the Christmas tree was as I rounded the corner to the front of the house. Little “Smart Mouth” was saying, “There really isn’t a Santa,” when I let out my deepest, most convincing “Ho, ho, ho,” from the front porch.

Little brother came running back through the house exclaiming, “I heard him, I heard him! There really is a Santa.” Back around the house, in the back door and into my room where I grabbed a book, looking all relaxed as an excited little brother came into my room with his proclamation. “Willis, I heard Santa after he came here!”

So, even without a little help, boys’ statements seem to be “more darndest” than girls.

Linkletter: What’s the hardest thing about school?

Boy: Buttoning my pants.

Linkletter: You said your dad is in the Army. I bet that means you get to sleep with Mom.

Boy: Yeah, except when Uncle Joey comes over, then I have to sleep in my own bed.

Linkletter: Did your parents tell you anything to do before you came on the show?

Boy: Yep. To keep my pants zipped up.

Linkletter asked the same question of a girl.

Girl: Keep my legs together.

Linkletter: If you could be Papa Bear, what would you do?

Boy: Eat honey and have Goldilocks sleeping in my bed.

Linkletter: Who’s the boss at your house? Mom or Dad?

Boy: Both.

Linkletter: You’re a diplomat.

Boy: No, I’m a Catholic Baptist.

Linkletter: Your hair is cut really short. Why is that?

Girl: To keep my ears from growing straight out because then I’d look like an idiot.

Linkletter: What does your dad do?

Girl: He’s a fund raiser.”

Linkletter: That’s good. Who does he raise funds for?

Girl: Himself.

Linkletter: George Washington was the father of this country. Do you know who his wife was?

Girl: Miss America.

Linkletter: What did Adam and Eve do in the Garden of Eden?

Boy: Adam ate an apple.

Linkletter: Why did he do that?

Boy: The devil hippotized him.

Linkletter: Do you know the story about Jesus and the wine at the wedding?

Boy: Yes, Jesus turned water into wine.

Linkletter: Why do you think he did that?

Boy: The more wine you get, the better the wedding.

Of course, this is just a sampling of what’s available. Linkletter reportedly interviewed more than 20,000 kids on his show. That spawned not only the book but also videos of various segments as well.

Obviously, kids DO say the darndest things.

Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper editor-publisher of more than 50 years experience. He can be reached by email at wwebb@wildblue.net.

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