Skip to main content

Blow the Stink Off

My entire extended family lives in Ohio. I was born and lived there for a hot second until my parents moved us to Texas to support my father’s career. In my growing-up years, I spent a lot of time in the suburbs of Cleveland (Go Browns! 🧡🏈) visiting my grandparents and aunts and uncles. 

My grandparents often took walks around the neighborhood after dinner. My grandfather would push his chair back from the table, slowly stand up, rub his protruding belly with both hands and say, “Come on, Prissy (his nickname for my grandmother). Let’s take a walk and blow the stink off.”

Always the class act, my grandpa.

They’d shuffle out the door and walk a few blocks this way and that, meandering their way home while I biked in circles on a red flea market Radio Flyer they kept in the garage for me to use on my visits.

Lately, I find myself taking lots of walks around my neighborhood to “blow the stink off.” We are living through troubled times. The world feels heavy, hard, and over-burdened.

But as I walk, I’m often reminded of my grandpa and his words of...wisdom feels too strong a word here. Unconventionally wise, my grandpa, his words of truth have stuck with me all these years and are helping me navigate a difficult season of life.

My strolls are much more for my mental health than my physical health, and when I remember my grandpa’s uncouth phrase, I smile. Sometimes, you just need to get outside, breathe deeply, and hope the change of scenery leads to a change in attitude.

Thanks for teaching me that, Grandpa.

Grandma & Grandpa Jaryga and baby Mallory


  1. Love this line: Sometimes, you just need to get outside, breathe deeply, and hope the change of scenery leads to a change in attitude. Thanks for sharing your what you learned from your grandparents!

  2. I enjoyed reading this clever slice! I enjoyed how you used the words from your Grandpa to connect with your current walks and how you think of them. There was both love and humor in this slice.

  3. What a great expression. You have me thinking about things my grandparents used to say. When I walk in the park after school today, I'll be thinking about your grandpa.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Chicken Incident and Working Towards Forgiveness

Over a period of several pre-teen years, my parents separated, got back together, separated, and ultimately divorced. It was confusing for me. I never saw my parents argue, and in my 9-12 year old brain, I thought that was a prerequisite for divorce. They weren’t together in my presence often, so I didn’t see them really interact together very much at all. My house was generally calm. There was no yelling. It was usually just me and my mom. When my father was home, he was often drunk or on his way there. His brand of drunkard was quiet, weepy, contemplative.  Fast forward a few years and past a multitude of violent, traumatic experiences, I found myself smack dab in the middle of another volatile exchange between my father and his second wife. Also an alcoholic but the rageful, abusive kind. All of 5 foot 1 and barely a hundred pounds, she terrified me. This particular fight was not that remarkable from the start. I was in my bedroom in their house, upstairs, hiding in my closet. (I al

Still in the Pleats

I went to New York City a few summers ago for work. My time there transformed me into a different person. My life has been impacted, both professionally and personally, every day since I returned home to Texas. It remains a sacred experience. While there, Lucy Calkins told us a story about a woman. The woman said she was “too busy living the life of a wife and mother to unfold. It’s all still in the pleats.”  It’s ALL. Still. In. The pleats. This IS me. I AM that woman. Life is passing me by. I am surviving it, but I am not living it. My stories are still in the pleats. This is me unfolding.

Que Será, Será

Every night, I sing the song “Que Será, Será” to my son as part of his bedtime routine. Do you know that song? Doris Day sang it in one of her movies, and it is rooted in my childhood memories and, now, is deeply rooted in my son’s childhood and in my memories of his early life. I remember my mother singing it to me when I was a “wee lass” (as I say to my pre-teen daughter which is promptly met with eye roll and smirk). The specifics around my mother singing it to me are hazy, like looking through layer upon layer of veils and gauzy drapes. Fuzzily, I see her in the kitchen, joyfully belting out, “Que será, será! Whatever will be, will be,” wearing a faded, threadbare apron, gliding between the dishwasher and the cabinets, very Mary Poppins-esque. My son had some health challenges in his infanthood that left me raw and consumed by anxiety. I remember trying to rock him to sleep many, many rockings ago, and thinking to myself, “Calm down. You have to calm your energy so he can calm down