The Day My Sister Got Beat Up At Church

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The Day My Sister Got Beat Up At Church

(Originally titled, “Ending Family Violence,” this appeared as a column in the Daily Corinthian on August 3, 2005. We absolutely LOVE picking on our mother. She’s had it rough lately, with her health. We love her dearly and especially love the fact that she’s such a good sport. We sure do love our “mom” stories. Here’s one of my favorites and it nearly got my sister beat up in the middle of church.)


My family has given me absolutely too much material to write about. They simply cannot help themselves, I think. My mother, in particular, usually manages to do or say something that keeps me giggling for years!

One must understand that my mother is an extremely intelligent woman. (Actually, both of my parents are extremely intelligent but my mother is the one who usually gets into trouble.) For being so smart, my mother (and I am so much like her) does the silliest things sometimes.

Recently, I attended Wednesday night church services where my father is a preacher over at North Rienzi. I shared a pew with my mother and my sister, Betty Jo. The class that night, taught by my father, was interesting. Everything seemed to be going along fine until near the end of the class.

My dad had briefly mentioned the ancient city of Pamphyllia . It was not the main topic of discussion, just a side note as part of the lesson. We were ending the discussion and closing our books when suddenly I heard a “whomp” right next to me.

My mother had slugged my sister! In church!

I looked next to me to see my sister, Betty Jo, red-faced and silently trying to hold in her laughter as she dodged attempts from my mother to pinch her. The whole pew was shaking! Mom looked mad! Finally, with a frustrated sigh, my mother sat back in her seat and left Betty Jo alone.

Other people looked around. They were creating quite a stir. Then, I think people realized, oh, it’s just the Story family again, and turned back around.

Betty Jo continued her silent laughter. I leaned over and hissed, “Betty Jo! What did you do?”

She whispered to me the conversation that had taken place. Apparently, at the mention of the city of “Pamphyllia,” my mother leaned over and asked Betty Jo, “Is that the city that was destroyed by a volcano?”

Betty Jo replied, “No, Mom. That was Pompeii . Pamphyllia was also destroyed but it just sort of folded up … that’s where we get the word ‘pamphlet’ from.”

Mom blinked a couple of times as she looked at Betty Jo and then said, “Really?”

Betty Jo said, “No.” (Of course!) That is when the violence began.

My mother has been on a spree lately. She is so smart and sometimes the smartest people I know are also the ditziest. Recently, when my sister, Tammy, was late for a church function, my mother asked, “Do you think she forgot or did she just not remember?”

Now, no matter how ditzy the statement in any given situation, the key to ending family violence is not to tease Mom about her responses. One must do that at one’s own peril. In fact, I might have to hide out from Mom for a while after she reads the latest blog!

(L.A. Story is a fiction writer and poet and former columnist for the “Daily Corinthian.” She is a resident of Glen where she tries to remember and not forget to write her blogs. Her blogs appears somewhere around the middle of the week, but are supposed to appear on Wednesdays. She’s busy, okay? She’s working on her second novel. Don’t judge her.) 

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