Dad’s brand of humor
by GLENETTA SHUEY
When it comes to dads, many of us would argue that ours is the best! I would be among them. My dad passed away on Dec. 26, 2008, at 85. He is sorely missed.
When you mention the name Norace Benoit in Lake Arthur, you get such wonderful comments and stories. Everyone who knew him has a fond memory of him, many of them now grown men and women. You rarely saw him without a smile, and certainly he was going to tell you a silly story or have a nickname for you. As we Benoit kids grew up, our dad was our comic relief in an otherwise somber household. His jokes were corny, and we kids relished every one; we were his loving audience.
As the years went by, we, the eight children of this sweet man, heard his lines and no matter how many times he said them, we still giggled. Getting into his 1956 Bel Air station wagon, we would hear him behind us: “Daughter, daughter fall in order, but don’t bump into your brother!” And every day, we waited on that line or this one: “Get aboard, if you can’t get a board, get a plank!” At bedtime, we inevitably heard these silly words: “Don’t let the bedbugs bite!” Or if we were misbehaving, he would smirk and say, “I’ll make you go to bed with your shoes off!”
Almost everyone you ask who knew him can remember one of his sayings. The “Who Dat” nation would be surprised to know that their slogan was used “way back when” by my Daddy. He would come upon our conversations and unfailingly he would ask: “Who dat said who dat?” We couldn’t help but laugh, though we may have heard it hundreds of times. When we would listen to music during the 60’s and 70’s that was “far out,” he would surely respond with this line: “Anyone who would listen to that would chase rabbits and bark at the moon!” If we were misbehaving, this was his comment: “That’s it! Ten lashes with a toothpick!”
Myself and a couple of my siblings had to wear glasses, and he teased us by jokingly saying, “You’re blind in one eye and can’t see out the other!” We always thought our dad was so funny! And he could take as well as give. We called him Norace-T, the T standing for ton because he had put on some weight in his later years. He would laugh, a laugh unlike any other I’d ever heard or have heard since. It seemed to start in his throat and would come up more like a chortle which he tried to suppress. It was always so funny to hear it; I still hear it sometimes in my head, and I still miss it.
Christmas 1973 I was still in college and couldn’t afford a real gift, so I decided to write him a poem and frame it. I read it to him in front of the entire family. It contained all of these sayings and more. He simply loved it. I still can hear him laughing that sweet laugh as I read it. This framed poem called “I’m So Glad You’re my Dad” hung on his wall until he died, then it came back to me.
Dad used to have another personal adage: “After God made you, he threw away the mold.” I add to that: One Norace-T was enough for this world to hold, and we were lucky to have him. Thanks for giving me a sense of humor and common sense, Daddy!
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