Daily Archives: March 6, 2019

‘Mum’s the word.’

The recent death of Clark Ewing has prompted a spate of reflections from many people in many venues. His Granddaughter Claire posted a story on Facebook the other day. It brought to my mind Clark’s use of the phrase, ‘Mum’s the word.’

Claire’s story had to do with Clark being designated as the responsible adult while Claire’s Mom and Dad were away somewhere. Clark being Clark found a way to be naughty with the youngsters without putting anyone in danger.

(This isn’t really my story as I heard it all second hand from my children years later. Perhaps Jeremy can chime in with refinements or clarifications.)

In our house when the children were young we didn’t have sweets very often. In particular, ice cream was rare because their mother had an allergy to it. Clark loved ice cream. One of the traditions at Camp was to go into Jackson to the All Star Dairy where the signature attraction was a concoction called ‘Dare To Be Great’.

‘Dare To Be Great’ was 21 scoops of ice cream and nuts and whipped cream and . . . you get the idea. This was all before Clark had to have quintuple bypass surgery . . .

Anyway, the kids told me that when Clark was out in California visiting us, he would pick them up from school then stop at the ice cream shop on the way home to buy them all ice cream cones. He explained to them that they could never tell their mother what they had done. ‘Mum’s the word,’ was the code phrase for talking about it when they were in her earshot.

I suspect there may have been other transgressions because I heard that phrase a lot in those days.


Nader is Sepi’s brother. For you Americans, it’s not pronounced like Ralph NAY-der. It is pronounced NAH-der.

Nader lives in Iran and is unlikely to ever come to the US. Everything I know about him comes through Sepi.

Well, not quite everything. What prompted this post was a short voice mail – via an app called ‘Telegram’ that I hadn’t heard of before – from Nader that Sepi played for me yesterday. He was speaking Farsi, so I didn’t understand a word he said, but I heard the love and gentleness. And yearning. Sepi is the big sister.

Sepi told me he was just saying hello and hoping all was well with her. She played for me several other posts of his where he had found links to some of her favorite music and sent it to her. She was playing these songs with a big smile on her face.

I said, ‘Why don’t you send Nader a message back?’ She had excuses related to the time difference. I didn’t press the issue but at the end of the day she showed me some pictures of us and our house that she had sent to him. Within the hour she had gotten a response.

That makes me happy!