Laughter In The Bedroom
(Part of the ‘Tales Of A Childhood’ series, dedicated to my family.)
My two sisters and I were practicing a Vivaldi sonata in the lounge one day when Mum asked us to move somewhere else because we were too noisy. She suggested Clare’s room or her own. We decided to shift to Mum and Dad’s room because it was bigger and roomier than Clare’s.
So Clare took her flute, Maree took her cello and I took my violin and we went up the hallway to the master bedroom and closed the door behind us.
Our parents’ room was the biggest bedroom in the house, holding a double bed, two dressers, a vanity, a shelf and two comfortable chairs. French Doors opened onto the veranda where chairs and pot plants looked out over the lawn, a fence of roses and beyond that the home paddock, backing onto the riverbank.
We set up our music stands and Clare counted in: “One . . . two . . .”
Half an hour later we were nearing the end of the Allegro – taken at a very slow pace that I’m sure Vivaldi would either throttle himself or us if he heard – when Dad came into his room. My sixteen-year-old brother Wayne and his friend Duncan followed, asking about some job or other he had asked them to do. Mum also came into the room, searching around for something, and broke into hysterical laughter and dropped onto the bed. Dad, Wayne and Duncan were also laughing by then, but we three girls couldn’t stop to look at what they were laughing at. All I could see, out the corner of my eye, was Dad in his underwear.
Now, don’t get me wrong – this wasn’t unusual for Dad. We had grown up as a close-knit family and Dad in his underwear or pulling on some pants before heading out to work was not an unusual sight. I find it hard to explain – thinking about it, it must be hard for someone to imagine this. If you grew up in a family of nine, you would understand. If you didn’t, stretch your imagination a bit and I’ll carry on.
The guys left the room and I heard their voices fading down the hallway. Mum somehow managed to recover herself and left the room.
We finished the blighted Vivaldi sonata and Clare said they didn’t need me anymore. She and Maree were to play a cello and flute largo, so I left the room, packed up my violin and went into the kitchen to get a drink.
Mum was there, and when she saw me enter she said, “Did you see what we were laughing at?”
“No,” I said, curious.
“Dad went into his room to change his pants and you girls were there with your music. You were too absorbed to notice, so he thought he’d just quickly change. But he couldn’t find his undies. Then I walked in to find a book and the boys walked in and Dad was searching around with only his jersey pulled over his bum.” She laughed at the recollection. “So everyone in his room not realizing that he had no pants and him searching for them! Then he found them and bent over to pick them up . . .” She buried her face in her hands and shook with laughter. “I don’t think anyone else saw.”
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