Friday, April 15, 2011
BODE'S WEIGHT PROBLEM
I have written about my brother Bode in glowing terms because he was a great brother, but he had one terrible flaw: Bode had a weight problem, but you must understand, it wasn't HIS own weight problem as he was never overweight; he had a problem with anybody else who was overweight. His wife and daughter were criticized for years because of their weight. After Bode died, his widow lost a great deal of weight. I recall my mother saying, "Well, why couldn't she have done that when he was alive?" I answered, "She's still going through the five stages of grief and she's still pissed off at him for dying!" Mother didn't like that explanation.
One time, another brother and sister-in-law were home on leave from the service. I'll never forget the date: February 20, 1962, the day that John Glenn orbited in space. At that time, I think my sister-in-law probably weighed more than 200 pounds. The whole family was coming for dinner that evening and my sister-in-law and I had baked a wonderful chocolate cake, from a new recipe. Bode walked in, gave one look at his sister-in-law, and asked, "How the Hell much do you weigh?" She answered, I thought with great aplomb, "142." It was one of the few times I saw Bode speechless. [I figure that she weighed 242 and just cut off 100 pounds.] She and my brother just got up and left and only stayed a couple more days when they had said they were going to stay 10 days.
Bode's wife and my mother and I all jumped on him for his tactless remark but he never "got" why it was wrong to ask hurtful questions.
I was always one with a quick comeback, having learned to dish it out at an early age, so, I must admit, his criticisms of me were few and far between but once at a large family gathering, he asked the totally inappropriate question of why I didn't have any children and I answered, "Well, I see how poorly you have done in rearing yours, and since you know everything, I just know I couldn't do any better!" The gasps and intakes of breath from the people present were reward enough for me.