At Least We Have the Memories

My parents are in upstate New York right now, hanging out with the extended family (if a bunch of people over 40 can be said to “hang out”), and I think that that fact has caused the words of “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” to run through my head. I have mystified my friends on facebook with my random quotes from this amazing and truly meaningful song, and in celebration of the music in my head, and also the fact that our church has VBS all week and we’re going to be crazy busy, I present to you an oldie but goodie from my blog at

This entry was originally posted on July 6, 2006.

If you are one of the three people who actually read my blog (other than that underwear incident), I have no doubt that at some point or another (or perhaps all points) you have wondered, “what in the world is wrong with this chick?” It’s a valid question, and one to which I have been seeking answers for many years. The doctors are sure they’ll have an answer for me soon, and if not they have a lovely cushiony little room for me.

I do, believe, however, that I have traced my personal idiosyncracies (polite way of saying “those characteristics which make me a complete and entire wack-job) to one real source. It’s all my parents’ fault. If they weren’t complete weirdos, I wouldn’t be either. I’m not really sure if this is a scientific conclusion, but it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

One summer after a memorable trip to my aunt’s house,  my sister and mom came home with a tape of a song that my mom had decided we needed to learn. The song was called “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” and was sung by a fine musician by the name of Weird Al. If you want to read the lyrics of this excellent piece of literary and musical workmanship, google “song lyrics: Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” and click on the first link.

Being the obedient daughters that we always were and still are, my sister and I dutifully learned all the words of this song, which takes approximately 20 minutes to sing (exaggeration, but not much). Little did we know that we were being trained like dogs to jump through hoops so humiliating they would change our lives forever.

Every time we went anywhere for the next year, our parents would make us sing this song to our poor, poor friends and relatives. From the humble beginnings at Big Roy’s to the glorious hallelujah-chorus-like ending, we sang. Over and over again. It became the stuff of nighmares and mockery. “At this year’s family reunion first we will watch Great-Aunt-Gertrude’s poodle jump from a diving board into a bucket of water while wearing a tutu, and then Erin and Laura will do something even MORE humiliating and sing a 30-minute-long rendition of that old favorite The Twine Ball.”

Finally we quit and the song became just another legend in the annals of our family history, occasionally brought to the surface by me. I like to sing it to Art because it bugs him. But we no longer sing it around the campfire at family reunions.

My dad is the pastor of a small Baptist church in Nebraska. This past Sunday evening, overjoyed at having his two daughters together again, he got up in front of the church and announced that we would be singing instead of him telling his customary joke. And what did we sing? That’s right, children. The unsuspecting members of Faith Baptist Church were blessed with 40 minutes of off-key “music” known as “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota.” Laura had forgotten half the words so I had to go solo a lot of the time.

I have an idea that the congregation will never forget that experience, well, except for the ones that slept through it. I am personally doing my best to block it from my memories.

When you wonder why I’m so weird, remember this.

It’s not my fault.


2 thoughts on “At Least We Have the Memories

  1. So your dad is a pastor too? This life twin thing is getting kindof freaky.
    Oh, and my parents are weird too. But not as weird as all of us kids. I think it’s getting more pronounced with each generation. Yikes…

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