From the Archive

Tidbits from Dad (Victor Petitt) and others

Calendar Poem

My sister taught me this one:

Thirty days has September,
All the rest I can’t remember.
You see the calendar on the wall;
Why bother me with this at all?

Birdie, Birdie

My sister taught me this one too:

Birdie, Birdie, in the sky,
Why’d you do that in my eye?
I don’t care—I won’t cry,
But gee, I’m glad that cows don’t fly!

Giant Mosquitoes

In July, 1969, while on a camping trip in central Iowa, our family stayed at a campground near a lake. On a cloudy, humid afternoon, we took a hike through the thick brush near the lake. The mosquitoes were fierce that day; they were biting viciously, and they were huge! Dad made this remark: “If these mosquitoes get any bigger, I’ll hop on one and ride awhile.”

A middle-aged lady was fishing quietly by the shore nearby. When she heard Dad’s comment, she burst into hysterical laughter. We feared that she might fall into the water, for she was laughing so hard.

Smell the Aroma

One of our family’s favorite TV shows in the mid 1960s was The Beverly Hillbillies. The closing theme song ended with the spoken words “…set a spell. Take your shoes off. Y’all come back now, you hear?”

A coffee commercial was often aired during or after the program. It began with a close-up shot of a steaming cup of hot coffee. The narrator would begin with “Ah, smell the aroma…”

One evening, someone at the network pulled a boner. Before the closing theme was finished, the network cut in with the coffee commercial. The result was: “…set a spell. Take your shoes off. Ah, smell the aroma!”


Another one comes to mind; this one’s from 1982.

My dad said to Wendi before we were married: “You can tell that Charlie is an honest man, because if he were two-faced, he wouldn’t be wearing that one.”

So Gross

Several years ago, our pastor and several members of our congregation went on a mission trip to Germany. As they were traveling about the country, they came upon a rural family with a very young child.

You’ve probably seen people in America do “So Big” with their young children. You may have done it yourself. It goes like this: you take their arms and spread them wide, and you say “Soooo big!” Little children get a real charge out of that.

Well, they do it in Germany too, but it sounds a little different in German: the word for “so” is the same as ours, but the word for “big” is “gross”. When the parents took the little child’s arms, spread them wide and said “Soooo gross!”—the Americans began laughing hysterically. The poor Germans were quite dumbfounded by this until an interpreter explained what it meant in English.

Sea Moss and Lichens

My eldest brother worked at an electronics manufacturing firm, and he would often bring rejected parts home for my dad to experiment with (he was into electronics too). When CMOS (pronounced SEE-moss) technology came into use in the 1970s, he and Dad were both excited about its potential. Tiny chips, requiring less power than normal transistor circuits, could replace large, complex circuit boards! They were forever talking about new projects they were building with these CMOS chips.

My sister and I didn’t know that CMOS was an acronym for Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. To us, it sounded like sea moss—the kind of moss that would grow in the ocean. We assumed it was a code name of some sort for the new technology.

One day I made a funny… or maybe it was a real groaner! I said, “If they call them sea moss, it’s no wonder Dad took such a lichen to them.”

Dont’t know what a lichen is? Get the definition of lichen at

Learn more about CMOS at