By Charles Towne 

Our firstborn son, Chuck Jr. was two or three when he discovered the treasure trove.

To his little boy way of thinking the hoard he had discovered was far more valuable than gold, precious gems, or vast sums of money in value.

It seems that there are some folks among us that don’t have the good sense our merciful God gave a goofy misbegotten gopher, and it was to these irresponsible nincompoops that my innocent little boy had fallen victim.

I never could understand the satisfaction some folks get out of chewing gum, I mean, really, it’s a disgusting habit about on the same par as chewing tobacco.

Tobacco chewers are constantly spitting while gum chewers, on the other hand, have to eventually discard their gobs of gooey gum and either throw it on the sidewalk where it is invariably stepped on, gluing one’s foot to the floor.  You know what I mean because we have all been there!

The other favorite depository for well-chewed gum is under the seat said miscreant is occupying at the time.

Enter my son.

Yep, you know he did.  He had discovered the gum under his seat.

My wife nudged me and pointed at my namesake.

(At times like this she invariably surrendered any responsibility of parenthood to me.  I can remember her exact words, “Well, don’t just sit there, do something, they are YOUR kids!”)

I glanced at my son and noticed that he was chewing on a big mouthful of something.

I leaned toward him and whispered, “What do you have in your mouth?” And he said, not in a whisper by the way, “Gum!”

Again, in a discreet whisper, I said, “Where did you get the gum?”  And my worst fears were confirmed, when, with a big grin, he innocently pointed under his seat.

I believe to this day that he was surprised when I didn’t join him in his gum chewing revelry.

Then I made a mistake.  I glanced at my sweet, innocent little girl, Faithy.  Yes, much to my mortification she was also chewing gum.

It seemed at the time that any chance I might have had of rearing any Rembrandt’s, Einstein’s, or Michelangelo’s was being swiftly flushed down the great toilet of fate, leaving in their wake, swimming gleefully, was my very own little flock of Dootsie Bobo tadpoles.

Now I must admit that later, after several years of rug-rat rearing, I would eventually arrive at the place where such behavior was commonplace and I would more than likely scold the culprit for not sharing the chewing gum with his brothers and sister, but I was still a relative newbie to the parenting game.

At the time though I must admit to no small amount of horror, revulsion, and disgust, then vague and wispy images of the gum to be found under movie theatre seats when I was a little kid were wafted through the halls of my memory.  (Black Jack and Juicy Fruit were my personal favorites.)

My children, my offspring, the seed of my loins, inheritors of my genes, exposed to diseases I could only imagine,  hoof and mouth disease, leprosy, and plague, not being the worst of them.

Well, as it turned out, no terminal diseases were forthcoming, and they grew up into somewhat normal human beings, (which just goes to show that normal can be somewhat overrated.)

In retrospect, if the worst thing we ever do in our misbegotten lives is to chew some second-hand gum I guess our wonderful God has laughed at that and He will most likely help us through the stickier places in life.

I think we can all shout a resounding, “AMEN!” to that, don’t you?

Dear Papa God, thanks so much for loving us even we do something really disgusting.  Please continue to guide us and protect us from the ugly consequences of our boo-boos, and please Father, cleanse us from any impurities and germs of sin that we may encounter on the way.  We thank you O Holy God for being there for us and with us every day of our lives.  In Jesus’ most Holy and Beautiful name we ask it, Amen


Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. The key word to this article is “Consequences”. Powerful, don’t you think? In regard to those icky, disgusting choices that we all make, it kind of puts everything in perspective. I want to add another layer to that. How about intentions or motivation behind said actions? We often make choices based on good intentions, however, the end result is kind of like the previously chewed gum experience. Does it balance out in the end…hmmm….what do you think Chuck?

  2. Well now NH, considering that when we try to live our lives vicariously, or through another’s experience, there is always something missing. That would be sort of like previously chewed gum, sort of flavorless. That could be comparable to having someone else describe the scent of a rose to you if your olfactory senses are shot, or describing a beautiful sunset to a blind person, it loses something in the translation. To my way of thinking Papa God desires for each of His children to experience the purity of life for themselves, unchewed, if you know what I mean. That balances out, don’t you think? Chaz

  3. Children have a way of causing us parents to age a lot faster than we should with their actions at times. I’m sure that God does a lot of cringing at all of us sometimes with how we behave but still works with us to guide His children towards a healthy life/afterlife, and for me that’s a great parenting lesson.

    Great column as always Chuck! Blessings to you and yours.

  4. Don, are you telling me that just perhaps, just perhaps mind you, that I just might have been the cause of my mother’s prematurely gray hair? Well, you are probably right. Perhaps Papa God does cringe at times, but I have an idea that He does a lot of smiling and laughing too. And then, just maybe children are His way of getting even with us for being naughty? Just saying. Blessings on ya Donnie, Chaz

  5. Quite some time ago I started to Hear the TERM Dis Functional Family, as if it was abnormal, Well Chuck I do not agee with the experts that this TERM IS some sort of a PROBLEM, iM still LOOKIING For A Functional Family! lol

  6. EJ, pal, you are so right! my dear old sainted mama told me one time, “There is nobody in our family that is certifiable, but we have all took eccentricity to a fine degree of perfection!” Frankly, I think we are all a mess but Papa God loves us anyway, and that is good enough for me. Chaz

  7. Eating previously chewed gum…icky icky icky! Is that as gross as eating boogers? I’m not sure! I guess that is why children need parents (amongst a million other reasons). While reading your article, it crossed my mind that eating previously chewed gum from under a seat might actually help build a child’s immune system. Probably not a good immune- building plan, though. My favorite part of the story is when you tell us that when your kids misbehaved, they suddenly became YOUR children (and not so much your wife’s). Too funny. God probably gets a kick out of that, too!

  8. Dear, dear K, Well yeah, I mean, for crying out loud, after all, the boogers are your own, everybody knows that! I never considered the possibility of building up one’s immune system, wow! Perhaps that is the reason I was never sick as a child! You have to admit, human beans are definitely interesting creatures. Thank Papa God that a genuine relationship with Jesus introduces a refining quality into one’s life! Thanks for the comment and blessings on you and yours, Chaz

  9. Well, my goodness!! We have all been there and done that, even though we may not want to admit it. No matter how gross, none of us died from it.
    So I say “that which does not kill you, only makes you
    stronger” What a delightful story that brought a chuckle as it reminded me of memories from my childhood, as well as my children’s.
    Thank you God, for allowing us the freedom to make mistakes, for forgiving us and keeping us as we learn from them. And thank you Chuck, for the reminiscing.

  10. Well, I remember a song “Does the chewing gum lose it’s flavor on the bedpost over night?”, and the answer was…depends on how much you chewed it before you stuck it to the bedpost! During my High School years (1949-1952) the gum of choice was Bubble Gum! All the girls would have bubble blowing contests, to see how big a bubble they could blow! What a mess, when the bubble would get so large, burst and get into their hair. Or, they would start “popping” the gum, and the teachers would get upset, Life was good back then!

  11. MY DEAR FRIEND CSG, I don’t know what to say! I never expected to have any of you defend what most folks are outraged over when they see their own children doing it! Yes, you are right with your quote, “That which doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.” I remember the time when we were little, my sister, The Snapping Turtle, went to bed one night chewing gum and the next morning it was stuck all through her hair. Mama had to use a pair of scissors to eliminate the mess which did not make sis very happy. Well, hair grow out again, and life goes on, and here we are, years later, and Papa God is still taking care of us. Blessings to you and yours! Chaz

  12. Hey Donald, aren’t memories wonderful? Yeppir, there was Double Bubble Bubble Gum, as well as Bazooka Bubble Gum, and it came in different colors, pink, blue and green, but pink prevailed! And that song? I haven’t thought of that for years!. Yeah, we did take great joy in provoking some of our teachers didn’t we? Oh yes, good memories my friend, good memories of lives well lived. God bless you my friend, and thanks for the comment. Chaz

  13. Well well well… I had a good laugh when reading your piece Chuck but had an even better laugh when I read Miss Runkle’s reply that was very telling. Anyone who would say that their kids would never do silly things have obviously never raised children. My kids did some pretty silly things and have turned out to be adults that I am extremely proud of. If Miss Runkle believes that kissing is vulgar the it is quite obvious why she never had any children. As far as having a sense of humor, she also must have been absent when God was handing out a sense of humor to look at ourselves and others. In my almost 67 years on this earth I am sure that I have done my share of dumb things but as the memory begins to fade I am not sure that chewing ABC gum was one of them. Thanks to both of you for satisfying my need for humor this week.

  14. Mike, I am reminded of something I heard one time about it being a well know fact that kissing spreads germs, and other stuff. Sorta makes me think of that other well known fact that in order to win the lottery you have to buy a ticket. How all that relates to our dear Miss Runkle and children I will let you figure out. Blessings on you and your clan, Chaz

  15. Speaking of disgusting, in spite of my constant “reminders”, my son absolutely refuses to keep food out of his room, and he’s too lazy to get out of bed to throw away the trash that comes with it. However, in an effort I believe he would describe as “obedient” he keeps a gallon-size zip-lock bag by his bed, puts the trash in there and seals it. Admittedly, just like my son, I often explain away my disgusting actions with a “Yeah, but at least I…” I think we would all agree, though, that even if you put glitter on poop, it’s still poop.

    I’m so thankful that God always has his hand on the lever to flush these types of things down “the great toilet of fate.”

  16. Dear Gymrat, and even with glitter it still smells like stinky stuff. I sometimes wonder what sin must smell like to our Holy God? I am sure that as my children were chewing their previously chewed gum it never entered their beady little minds that folks would be scrutinizing their behavior all of these years later! Bless you Gymrat. Chaz


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