Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Boodlerag

My dad, Byron W. Thompson, was a mild-mannered and kind man. I favorably remember that it was Dad, who read us bedtime stories and cooked most of our suppers. Byron was a man of gentle and subtle humor. He would tell a joke quietly and then wait for it to sink in the brains of the four females in the household. After detecting the humor, he would have us all rolling with laughter. I was the youngest of three daughters so maybe I was the last to understand.

One thing, that seems a little out of character for my Dad, was his invention of The Boodlerag. We three girls never saw The Boodlerag, but we were fortunate or unfortunate enough to hear The Boodlerag from time to time. As I remember, The Boodlerag lived in the basement, and The Boodlerag made a looonnng moanful cry like the banshees in Darby O'Gill and The Little People. (Of course, you know how scary the Darby O'Gill story is with banshees forewarning death and Death, himself, coming to get you in a carriage, but I digress.) When we would ask Dad, "what was the wretched sound?" He would answer with a sly smile that "It must have been The Boodlerag." Now generally, I was the world's least courageous child, but somehow the sly smile made me feel that everything was okay and that we were safe and sound.

I am not sure how The Boodlerag came into being, but my grown-up science teacher self tells me that The Boodlerag moan was Dad blowing through some long tube like a vacuum cleaner hose. When I was fourteen, we moved from our home with a basement on Kensington to a home in suburbia with a crawl space and no basement. Strangely, we never heard The Boodlerag in the subdivision home so I guess that The Boodlerag is still moaning back in the house on Kensington. Hopefully, the little children know that The Boodlerag means no harm.

Did your father like to tease you with a creation of his own?