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The Slice: A little flak often follows a big flock

Tuesday’s Slice question about parents of large families volunteering that they are not members of certain churches prompted an e-mail from Janice Duvanich.

“We raised five children,” she wrote. “We had them all in a seven-year period. They are all in their 20s now, but when we would be out as a family in the ’80s and ’90s, you would not believe the ignorance of people!

“We have been asked:

“1. ‘Are you Mormon, Catholic,’ et cetera?

“2. (The most popular) ‘Hey, have you figured out what’s causing that?’ (In front of the kids, no less!)

“3. ‘Do you own a TV?’ (Very original!)

“4. ‘Stay away from me, I don’t want to catch it!’

“5. (And the granddaddy of them all …) ‘Are they all from the same father?’ (Again, in front of the kids!)

“So, if those of us with large families pre-empt the ignorant questions, perhaps we’ve reached the point of being sick of them.”

•In the matter of clerks needing to know something: Before she went to work at the University of Idaho, Claudia Wohlfeil managed a locally owned bookstore. She once had a customer explain that he had just been to a chain store and that a clerk there told him that she couldn’t order “The Iliad” unless he could tell her Homer’s last name.

Maybe it was Simpson.

•Today’s yard-work mishap: “Many years ago, after hopping back in bed after preparing my farmer husband’s breakfast and lunchbox for a day out in the field, I was sweetly slumbering,” wrote Kay Krom.

“Suddenly, my mother-in-law (who lived about 50 yards away) appeared at the bedroom door with one garden-gloved hand held tightly by the other hand.”

Krom’s mother-in-law calmly announced that she had just cut her fingers off in the lawn mower.

Krom suspected that if her husband’s mother took her glove off, they both might faint. So she instructed her to keep it on.

But after a 20-mile trip to the doctor, the story had a happy ending. The injuries were not so severe as feared.

•From Tuesday’s Slice: Deborah Chan was the first to correctly note that it was road manager Norm in “A Hard Day’s Night” who said to John Lennon, “You’re a swine.”

•Today’s Slice question: What do you do about a policy when you have an old but beloved car with a cash value so low that an insurance company would declare it “totaled” if someone gave it a dirty look?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail For previous Slice columns, see columnists. Less than 2 percent of the nonallergic population understands allergies to pets.

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