The Book of Wally

On April 1, my father-in-law passed away. He was just shy of his 80th birthday, and the timing of his death wasn’t lost on those of us who knew him. Wally was a repository of corny jokes, and a day hasn’t passed that we haven’t honored his memory by throwing a Wally-ism out.

His was the first death I’ve ever really witnessed, and I’m still trying to process it. The past two weeks have been an What's brown and sticky? A stick.exercise in Things That Are Big and Important: Family, Marriage, Friends, Love, Support, Pizza and Wine. I don’t have a concise way to explain it to myself, or to others, so for now, I won’t.

My husband and I each said readings at Wally’s funeral mass last Wednesday. I spent the evening before threatening to replace my reading — from the book of Wisdom — with what I’d call “a reading from the book of Wally.” Then, I said, I’d solemnly tell one of his infamous jokes, lower my head, and take my seat in the pew as if nothing was amiss.

I chickened out that day, but I can’t not share those jokes. So, in lieu of a long-winded exploration of our common mortality and the meaning of life, I offer the following gems in Wally’s memory:

“How many beans do you use to make the perfect soup? 239 — any more and it’s too farty.”

“Did you hear about the Polish lesbian? She liked men.”

“I once had a dog with no legs. His name was Cigar. Every morning I’d take him out for a drag.”

“I checked the obituaries today. Everyone’s still dying in alphabetical order.”

13 comments on “The Book of Wally

  1. George says:

    Great post and Wally sounds like a hoot. I am sorry for your loss but this is a great way to pay tribute.

    I lol’d at the 239. Too funny.

  2. Heidi says:

    Loved your post. I also lost my dad, Aug 2010, seems like yesterday, but he was only 66. He was also a T1 like me, and I also chickened out at the funeral. Many days after I went over what I would have said if I haven’t completely lost it.

    Anyway, I feel ya, and it certainly isn’t easy. Lived his jokes though. Sounds like an awesome guy.


  3. Tim says:

    no explanation necessary… Wally sounds like a great Father in law… I’m sorry for your loss. and yeah, 239… that’s Way funny…

  4. colleen says:

    Yup, 239 got us, too. Went right in to repeat it to my husband, who is still chuckling.
    I think I would’ve liked Wally. Will say a prayer that he’s found the rest of the jokesters in heaven.

  5. talesofmy30s says:

    rotfl at the jokes – sorry for you and your husband’s loss, though.

  6. Jessica says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds like you had a great and funny father-in-law. I’ve been following your blog for awhile now and had such a great laugh out of the bean joke (I even text it to my husband!) ha!

  7. Willis says:

    Well done Jacquie!

  8. Wonderful!
    Brought back some of our favorite memories of Wally, as well as tears to our eyes.
    We’ll miss him a lot, too.

  9. Kim says:

    I just read these aloud to Aaron, and we both got a great chuckle out of them.

    So sorry for your loss, and thanks for sharing this.

  10. Paul M says:

    Sorry to hear about your loss. Sounds like your father-in-law was a gem at family gatherings. I’m sure that he will be missed.

  11. Stacey D. says:

    I’m so very sorry about the loss of your father in law. I hope you and your hubby are hanging in there. Since we’ve been married, my hubby and I lost both my father and his mother so I have experienced how difficult it can be. Kudos to you for making jokes in his honor … I am certain he would appreciate that. ((hugs))

  12. Linda says:

    Just the threat of a reading from the Book of Wally, made it easier..

    And in memory of my Uncle Wally:

    my memory: What do you call a cow with no legs…ground beef

    my sister Nanette: Arty, a known hitman who only charges $1 per kill, kills three people at an A&P. The headline in the paper the next day reads “Arty Chokes 3 for a $1 at A&P”

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