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WOLF: Don’t fiddle with your belly button, your bum will fall off

COLUMN: Readers take over with amusing, insightful responses
Readers share responses to a series of recent columns. (PQB News file)

This week, I’ll hand over much of this space to you, the talented readers.

So often, your feedback is fantastic – insightful, witty, incisive and it brings a smile to this old chunk of coal. (Shoutout to Norm)

Here’s but a tiny sample (abridged) of some of those responses from around the province. I kept names private to prevent paparazzi from following you talented writers around:

Re: ‘Do you follow the ‘5-second rule’ when it comes to food?

• “My mother always told us to ‘eat the (bread) crusts; they’ll make your hair curly.’ For the record, I am 77 and my hair is still so straight it won’t even hold a perm!”

• “I remember one of my ‘old wives’ tales’… if you make a funny face and a strong wind comes, you will stay like that forever.

Some of the kids believed that if they went into the pool (this is high school), after the boys had a swim class you would get pregnant!

If you have an itchy left palm, you will be receiving money soon.

If a broom falls over in the kitchen, company is coming!

A granny told her grandchild if you fiddle with your belly button, your bum will fall off.

My mom was from Newfoundland and she had a swack of expressions.

She said this one expression after hearing one of her children telling a little fib:

‘If you tell that story to a dead horse, he will get up and kick you in the head!’”

Five beauties from a pair of reader’s moms:

• “In addition to the ones mentioned in your column:

If you don’t wash your ears regularly, bean sprouts will grow in the dirt in them;

Don’t swallow seeds because they will stick to your appendix and you will need an operation;

Don’t sit on cold cement because you’ll get piles;

When you eat homemade soup you can’t drink cold liquids with it because the soup will turn to lard in your stomach;

If you drink milk or eat dairy products when you have a cold you will get more mucus.”

Re: ‘No taking me out to the ballgame again this year’

• “I remember playing ‘scrub’ baseball when I was very young. I didn’t know that is what it was called and doubt any of the other players did either. We had a makeshift diamond on the DND property behind our house in Esquimalt. The cooks in the cook house often came out on the very small platform of their back stairs to watch and gave us ice cream every so often. A day or two before I was six, we played a game that June, I was hit by a thrown bat, had a black eye, came down with the measles, had my b’day and spent a week in the dark in bed. That didn’t stop us from playing though, ha ha.

June is fast approaching and I will be back in the park to enjoy baseball that began 70 years ago for me!”

Re: ‘The TV might be on but is anyone actually watching?’

• “At age 72, I have distinct memories of our old black-and-white TV days. We started with rabbit ears on top of the TV, which allowed us to tune in to the ‘luxury’ of three channels, CBUT (CBC)/Vancouver, KVOS/Bellingham, and the Victoria station that preceded CHEK-TV.

Heck, we didn’t know any better so three stations felt like a luxury.

Later, we acquired a big antenna for the roof and I remember being up there with my dad… adjusting, always adjusting. Wind storms of course, played havoc and if my dad ‘lost’ his favourite show, up on the roof we’d go (safety first…haha).

Then, my grandmother, who lived in Regina, won a colour TV at the local bingo. She and my grandfather already had a colour TV so that summer, on their annual trip to the coast, we became the recipients of a new, colour TV. We were gobsmacked at what we were now able to see.

With six kids in the house, there was always a ‘battle’ of sorts in regards to what should be watched (lucky I was the oldest).”

• There was the CBC which everyone in the early days was forced to watch unless you were fortunate enough to be in an area where a roof antenna picked up signals from KOMO, KING, or KIRO on channels 4, 5, and 7. We had a Yagi roof antenna.

So were able to watch great shows like ‘The Untouchables’.

READ MORE: WOLF: What are some of the best sounds in the world?

I remember rushing home from school to watch ‘American Bandstand’. And all the crap the CBC had for viewers!

Yes, they had Hockey Night in Canada.

But what was really an outrage is that they assumed that if the the Toronto Maple Leafs were playing, say, the Detroit Red Wings, all Canadian viewers were automatically Leaf fans.

As to how it is now, I am so pleased to see “appointment TV” crashing and burning. The internet and streaming is where it is at now.”

Re: ‘Can you remember the stories behind all of your stitches?’

• “My husband and I took our six-year-old son bowling. It was his first time and he really wanted to get a strike. So he laid down on the bowling lane to get a better view and dragged his chest along the lane. What he got from this was a large wooden splinter in his chest. We took him to the ER where he got two stitches. The following week we went to our family doctor (we actually had one back then). He was surprised to remove stitches from someone’s chest due to a bowling incident.”

Keep that feedback coming everyone, I’m always happy to share more. Thank you.

PQB News/VI Free Daily editor Philip Wolf welcomes your questions, comments and story ideas. He can be reached via email at, or by phone at 250-905-0019.

Philip Wolf

About the Author: Philip Wolf

I’ve been involved with journalism on Vancouver Island for more than 30 years, beginning as a teenage holiday fill-in at the old Cowichan News Leader.
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