Saturday, July 01, 2006

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit

In 1957, in San Mateo, California, my best friend from my first high school, Kate, belonged to a Scout troop that had an unusual custom for greeting each new month. As soon as you got up on the first, you were supposed to jump up and down three times, saying "Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit". If you missed the first, you could satisfy the fates by greeting the second with "squirrel, squirrel, squirrel". I no longer remember what the saving phrase was for the third, but your last chance came on the fourth, with "turtle, turtle, turtle". For some reason, although there was no exchange on the first three days, on the fourth there was added a greeting from one Scout to another. And so, on the fourth of each month, Kate and I would be walking down the hall and she would spot another girl from her troop and it would happen.
"Are you a turtle?"
"You bet your sweet ass I am!"
Fast forward to Fairbanks, Alaska, 2000. I was visiting my friend Linda, who I went to junior high with in El Paso, Texas in 1954 (we moved around a lot when I was a kid) and her husband and her mother. Now, the thing is that Linda and Bobby and Fern have this idea that I know everything, and no matter how I try to dissuade them of this, they save lists of things to ask me when I'm coming. That year we had already gone through a good number of pages of obscure stuff, all of which I knew, including recognizing a photo that had been puzzling people there abouts. "Oh," I said casually as I glanced at it, "that's the old Sutro's Baths in San Francisco." (Which, as it happens, I had visited with Kate.) So, we check the web, and sure enough!
One evening we went out to eat at the Turtle Club. We sat down and the place mats had AYAT? YBYSAIA on them.
"What," asked Linda, "do you think that means?"
"Are you a turtle? You bet your sweet ass I am!"
And Linda said, in a most satisfied tone, "I knew she'd know!"

9 comments:

Uncivil said...

There seems to be lots of Turtles out there?

http://community-2.webtv.net/warmrainynight/AreYouATurtle/

Ted said...

That's a cute story! And I didn't know you lived in Texas. Such is the plight of kids whose parents are either in the military or, in your case, sales. You know, you're always moving every couple of years.

Mary Lou said...

LOLOL I was even a card carrying member of the club!!

Piece of Work said...

This brings back memories for me--a friend of mine and her dad used to do this! I thought it was a game they had made up on their own, I didn't know it was a "thing".

Ms. Mamma said...

MG- that is fricking hilarious! It's also doubley funny to me because people ask me general questions about LOTS of things because they think I know alot, even about things I HAVE NO IDEA about. I find myself making up my own philosophies, sometimes spewing them with a cautionary statement, and that too, is hilarious.

Ally Bean said...

I remember girls in my dorm in college doing the "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit" thing, but I never knew why they were doing it.

They always stood on a desk chair and jumped off of it backward as they said it. Any ideas where that came from?!!

Maya's Granny said...

Ally Bean,
My heavens! If I had to stand on a desk chair and jump backwards, I wouldn't say it the three of four times a decade I do now! I had no idea!

Kate said...

I think I need to be locked up somewhere -- I don't remember ANY of that stuff!

LauraHinNJ said...

My dad did this too.