to hold your tongue

when i was 17 i looked like this

and that is when i learned the importance of holding my tongue.
which i never got very good at.
but at least i know it's important.

that year i took a greyhound bus with my friend
to ventura,
a town a few hours away,
to hang out with some other friends and just
be cool
{because the friends we had there were cool,
and in bands,
and hanging out with them would make us cool..
you know?}
so we woke up at six am to take the bus,
and my friend howie was supposed to pick us up at the station.
when we arrived he wasn't there.
and never showed up.
but after about 15 minutes of waiting some tiny car with
band stickers all over it pulled up,
and some guy with tight jeans, a black hoodie and
dirty black hair which fell over one eye
rolled his window down and asked who we were.
we told him.
he said he was sent by howie to pick us up.
so we got in and he drove us through town,
a bunch of winding streets,
screaming music blaring,
and stopped in front of a house.
he said,
we got out and he sped off.
never knew his name, never said anything to him
except for our names before we got in.

we walked in the house and two guys we had never seen
were eating microwave burritos. they said, "hey.
who are you?"
we told them.
they said, "oh.  howie should be home soon."
so we sat in the living room with two random guys
eating burritos for an hour,
and then howie showed up.
we walked to the beach with him and some friends,
passing out fliers for their upcoming show,
then went back to his house.

they had a bunch of friends come over,
about ten people,
no one we knew,
and we all sat around in a circle
and it was a bit awkward,
but i think they liked awkward.
we began talking about fears,
and that is when i learned the importance
of holding your tongue.
i spoke up,
told them they would laugh at my worst fear,
but that it was truly my worst fear.
of course they all wanted to know what it was.
so i started by saying,
"there's just this guy, an actor, who i think is really creepy looking.
anytime he comes on tv,
i have to turn it off or leave the room
because he just really freaks me out."
and they all wanted to know who it was.
so i said,
"i'm scared to death of don knotts."

 and the room got very quiet,
and these people who all knew each other,
but whom i knew almost none of,
slowly started laughing.
a lot.
and then finally howie pointed to the boy
sitting right next to me,
between laughs told me,
"don knotts is brian's grandpa!"

and it all felt very awkward,
and i tried to backpedal,
and there was nothing i could do.
i blushed a lot.
i looked at brian and
he looked JUST LIKE HIM.
without all the wrinkles.
so i said sorry.

and we took the bus home that night,
i never really talked to anyone from
ventura again.
i certainly learned how important it is
to hold your tongue.
but i still really suck at it and am
always saying the wrong thing.
that's why i write.
time to think about it first.

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. 
Prov. 21:23


  1. Hi neighbor...first the picture at the top is just adorable:) wow...what are the chances...I too am learning to hold my tongue...a long slow lesson...blessings~

  2. I didn't expect to smile when this began. We've all been vulnerable with the wrong person, and wish that we hadn't. I'm so sorry, that had to be so embarrassing in so many ways. I'm sure that's a lesson that you'll never forget. Walking with you with hand over mouth!

  3. oh my gracious Amy.
    What are the odds though, of being with Don's grandson when you confess your darkest fear? When God wants us to learn something, he certainly can be funny about it.
    What are the odds?

    P.S. I like the 17 year old you.

  4. This was a fun read, and I had to read it twice because my own memories kept trying to interject. I think we've all sat in the circle of awkward one or twice. Really enjoyed this.

  5. i feel you in this...and sucks that it overshadows what could have been a really cool adventure...i think we have all been there and said the things that seemed rather harmless but...enjoyed the write...and i def been there...

  6. Oh to be in a room of people you don't even know and then to admit you don't like someone so bad you have to turn off the TV or walk out of the room and then discover it's one of their family. So embarrassing. We live and learn eh?
    I bet you chuckle now though. :)

  7. I love your 17 year old style Amy.
    I need to post a picture of my pink haired 17 year old self one of these days :)
    I am always re-learning this lesson.
    You are a wonderful story teller by the way!

  8. Writing is so much easier for me to "filter." And I LOVE Don Knotts. What you're doing by holding your tongue is as Barney would say, to ... "Nip it in the bud! Nip it!!" :)

  9. that is funny... wasn't he on Andy Griffith? (the old show from the 60's)?
    Not funny as in I am laughing at you, but he was a funny man for sure.

  10. i love how open and real you are, friend. and i love the 17-year-old you too. i think we would have been fast friends--as we are now. (and yes, my voice returned in time for me to speak the other day; thank you so much for praying)

  11. howdy do - i am sorta kinda new to your blog but been following you quietly for a while.
    i like don knotts - we just watched the apple dumplin gang not too long ago with my boys !
    i usually don't have a problem holding my tongue, i have a problem holding my typing. delete freak i am :)
    yep, i like the way you type your memories too. sounds like quite an adventurous trip you had.

  12. Oh Amy. I love you. And your teenage adventures sound a lot like mine. I'm glad we're both still here. :) xx