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What’s a ta ta?

September 18, 2013

I’ve been remiss in updating Hot Dog Beehonkus for a couple reasons: 1. Ryan and I got kicked out of the house we were renting and decided to buy our own place amidst the maelstrom and 2. lately I’ve been in a funk about my dad and haven’t found much about his steady progression joyful or funny. But! He came through the other day while visiting Timber in Augusta. During a morning walk with the dogs, a “Save the Ta Tas” bumper sticker drove past them – a popular breast cancer awareness campaign 99% of the population has pulled to a stop behind at a red light.

“What’s a ta ta?” Daddy asked.

“Robert,” my mother murmured as though explaining this wondrous synonym for breast would offend a stray cat or man riding a roaring lawn mower. “I’ll tell you when we get back to the house.”

However, Daddy wouldn’t let it go.

“When we get back to Calhoun, can we get a ta ta? Maybe we can get Bobbin and Ryan a ta ta, too!”

“Robert!” Mother clasped her chest. “Ta tas are BOOBIES.”


Instead of lamenting the deterioration of our father’s vocabulary, Timber grew irritated that he didn’t offer to gift her a ta ta upon his return to Calhoun. When she relayed this vignette to me via telephone, my heart swelled with victory: Daddy chose ME as his top tittie recipient.

My father always has been more of a fanny man (hence the title of this blog, an homage to my mother’s beehonkus); in fact, growing up he always barked at her butt but never her breasts. When playing softball in the front yard Mother usually served as pitcher, and one summer evening I batted the ball straight into her areola.

“OUCH!” she bellowed.

“Poor Mommy,” Daddy cooed, massaging the wound – the most affection he ever offered her breast in front of Timber and me.

“Stop it!” she screamed.

In college I went through a brief phase of wearing tie dye fabric draped across my shoulders as an excuse for a shirt and bra. I decided sporting a green one I found at local consignment shop Psycho Sisters for Sunday lunch with my family would be appropriate, even though a couple Saturdays prior while wearing it at Club Europe a creepy 40-year-old man lifted me above his head and spun me around in a frightening re-enactment of his favorite scene from Dirty Dancing or Swan Lake. I couldn’t tell which one.

“Yer boob’s hangin’ out!” Daddy yelled when I leaned toward the bowl of green beans.

“Oops,” I said, realizing the sheet indeed had shifted to one side, ta ta hanging dangerously close to the mound of mashed potatoes on my plate.

“Good. Gawd!” he huffed, spooning raspberry jelly onto a slice of bread.

Oh how I long for the years when my bad ’90s clothes offended my father, when the word “ta ta” elicited a rise in his eyebrows that now are permanently stuck in a clueless dispassionate line.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Lacey Edge Panachida permalink
    September 18, 2013 12:49 pm

    Bobbin!!!!!!! I don’t know whether to scream with delight or let the tears that are in my eyeballs turn into a day long flood. Keep that writing coming girl. It WILL be harder. But, keep writing about it, you are so gifted.

    • September 18, 2013 12:51 pm

      Thank you, dear Lacey. My mother ran into Franklin at the Lowe’s in Rome the other day. We had no idea he had moved! It’s so great to get a comment from you – sending you love. ❤

  2. Amanda permalink
    September 18, 2013 5:13 pm

    I’ve missed your entries but don’t think these need to be funny- this is for YOU more than anyone else’s entertainment!

    • September 19, 2013 7:33 am

      Thank you, Amanda. As a writer of creative nonfiction, I try to squeeze the pity party out of my work so that what remains is a piece people actually will want to read. I found it difficult to do that during the past couple months. I hope everything is beautiful on your side of the world!

  3. September 19, 2013 5:42 pm

    Bobbin, I’m laughing & kinda choking a little. In my humble opinion, one quality that makes you an exceptional writer of creative nonfiction is the mindfulness you have of your audience’s thoughts & reactions. This isn’t a journal filled solely with painful exposition. More importantly, these aren’t the diary entries of spoiled princes & dumbass heiresses. All that you’ve shared here is personal, deeply moving, hilarious, and effortlessly relatable. I don’t know what it’s like to have a parent going through Alzeimers, but I do know what it’s like to be hurt, to be paralyzed with helplessness, and to come through it all with a chuckle here & there. You have a gift; with the web overflowing with self-published infantile tyrants, sycophants & debutantes, this is a rare find for me. So write as little or as much as you want; I’m happy with any scraps I can gobble up.

    You do know Hot Dog Beehonkus is going to be a book one day, don’t you?

    • September 19, 2013 5:44 pm

      (I know that’s not the point, but I just felt it was worth saying. Or… typing.)

      • September 20, 2013 5:10 pm

        I would love for HBD to become a book one day. The other literature regarding Alzheimer’s I’ve read was too painful to finish. While a lot of it contains useful information and preparation for caregivers, I still think it might be cool for a book with a joyful twist to hit the market. So — thank you for your encouragement!

        I hope all is great with you and your family. Fall is the best for family fun.

  4. rossboone permalink
    September 20, 2013 4:18 pm

    Another beautiful and funny one, Bobbin! I’m gonna pass your blog on to a friend whose mom is going downhill. Thanks for writing all this!

    • September 20, 2013 5:12 pm

      Thank YOU for reading, Ross. I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s mother. Someone just told me about a writer who also holds workshops to help caregivers effectively communicate with Alzheimer’s patients as they progress through the disease. If you think it might be helpful, send me your friend’s email address and I’ll pass along the info I have. I need to check out the latest on!

  5. Timber permalink
    December 8, 2013 3:02 pm

    Apparently there are still people out there who are unfamiliar with the term “ta-ta.” I have to say, it’s not my favorite slogan, but the pink ribbon that typically accompanies it at least gives me a clue! You know, I bet Daddy just thought I’m progressive enough to have ALREADY saved a ta-ta. 🙂

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