First of all I want to make it perfectly clear that I don't like the word "fart." I'm a southerner from the Bible belt and my mother raised me to believe it was a dirty word. We were instructed instead to use the word "poot" and until I went away to college I thought that only crude people used the word fart.
The first time I told my college roommates they should not say fart they looked at me like I had three eyes. "I'm serious," I said. "Ladies don't fart. They poot."
They burst out laughing and immediately ran down the dorm hall shouting loudly, "Ladies don't fart! They poot!"
I got the message. If I wanted to be cool I had to say fart so I added it to my vocabulary, but only with my friends. Never, ever would I have said it in front of my parents.
The Mom Years
Years later after I married and we had children I tried to teach my kids the same flatulence terminology my mother had taught me. They could say "breaking wind" or "poot" but the F word was forbidden (both of them). That worked for awhile.
One night I was late getting home from the school where I taught and my husband had fed the children their supper. They had dined on a nutritious meal of hotdogs and beans. Just as I walked through the door I heard my little darlings chanting,
'Beans, beans, they're good for your heart
The more you eat, the more you fart
The more you fart, the better you feel
So let's eat beans with every meal'
I put my hands on my hips and gave them my best mom glare.
"Where did you learn that?" I asked sternly.
They got very quiet and then one of the twins blurted out, "Dad taught it to us!"
My husband laughed and told me to lighten up.
It was over. I had lost the fart battle.
I don't know what it is about boys that makes them think that passing gas is a talent, but they do. They will go to great lengths to blow the loudest, stinkiest burst of air possible and when you have four sons who are playing this game it can get really irritating. About the only time they didn't try to out fart each other was at church. And that, my friends, is where our family's favorite fart story happened.
Our minister's name was Brother Larry and he was one of the sweetest, kindest men I have ever known. He never complained about my children's antics during church but I know they were distracting because they sure distracted me. I was constantly telling them to hush, stop pinching, don't make faces at your sister, stop passing notes, etc. The one thing I didn't have to tell them was not to fart during church. Even though they were brazen little farting hellions at home, they were extremely shy in public. They would rather blow up like an inflatable balloon from holding one in than to let a fart fly during church.
And the Winner Is
The famous fart happened in the winter time. It was extremely cold one Sunday and the heat was out in the auditorium. Brother Larry asked us all to move to another room in the church because it was warmer. The back room of the church was much smaller than the auditorium, so we were all sitting practically on top of each other. While the seats in the auditorium were padded pews that were soft and comfortable, the chairs in the back were folding metal chairs and they were definitely not soft. After we were all seated the service began. We sang a few songs and someone was called on to lead prayer. We all bowed our heads, closed our eyes, and the room was totally silent.
That's when it happened. The fart that will live in infamy. One of the twins had held it in as long as he could and when that sucker finally burst forth and bounced off the metal chair it didn't just ping, it BOOMED! I swear it sounded just like my grandfather's old Ford truck backfiring.
My head was bowed for prayer and my eyes were closed but I didn't even bother to pray that it was someone else's child. A mother bear knows her cubs and the stink that was now circling the room could only have come from one of mine. I looked up and when my eyes stopped watering and my vision cleared I zeroed in on the twins. They were about 7 years old at the time and they were so embarrassed their little faces were red as tomatoes. When they saw me looking at them one of them immediately pointed to his brother and said, "He did it." It's a thousand wonders lightening didn't strike him right there in his chair for lying.
I knew he didn't do it on purpose so I smiled at him, winked and mouthed the words, "Good one." Then I bowed my head again and tried not to laugh.
Every family has its own stories that get told over and over at family gatherings. For some reason a lot of our stories involve farts.