John Grindrod: Channeling Linkletter, kids are still saying the darnedest things

By John Grindrod - Guest Columnist

Certainly, all of us of a certain age remember fondly one of the most enduring images of radio and early TV, Art Linkletter, who hosted House Party on CBS radio and TV for a quarter century and People Are Funny on NBC radio and TV for 19 years.

The congenial Canadian-born media personality had a particular affinity to children, not only having five of his own with his wife of 75 years, Lois, but also those to whom he spoke in a regular House Party segment, “Kids Say the Darnedest Things.”

While that was some time ago, there’s no doubt that the kiddos who came after Linkletter’s kids are just as capable of making us older types laugh. I found evidence of that on from moms who witnessed some preciously funny moments.

Sometimes what’s giggle-inducing isn’t even spoken to another person, as Macey Cossey discovered when she walked by her 3-year-old playing with her Disney doll Elsa. When Elsa kept falling over, her exasperated little one looked the star of “Frozen” straight in the eye and said, “C’mon, Elsa! Get it together!”

One of the website’s cute-kid moments I read reminded me of my little “grand” Abigail and her stab at soccer when she was still a few months shy of her fourth birthday. When it came to Abigail’s first foray into the land of kicks and headers, it wasn’t so much what she said that I found hilarious but what she did, or, to put it more accurately, what she refused to do.

While Abigail loved to get dressed up in the uniform (called “outfits” by little girls, I would discover) and would enthusiastically take part in all pre-game drills and also was first in line after games for a mom-provided juice box and snack bag, she refused all season to take the field during the games. While the now-5-year-old does indeed enjoy game participation, in her first year, she decided to take a red shirt.

The Huffington Post contribution that reminded me of Abigail’s story was sent in by Katy Salyer-Horning, who heard this exchange at practice one day between her 4-year-old and the soccer coach.

Coach: “When you’re trying to score a goal, kick the ball with the laces of your shoes.”

4-year-old: “Umm, we are all in pre-school. Dere’s only belcro [Velcro] walking around here.”

As I ride my bike around my neighborly environs, I always have to laugh when I see a certain street sign because it reminds me of Abigail’s mother, my Katie, back when she was a second-grader. One evening, she was excitedly telling me about a new school friend she’d made on the school bus. When I asked little Katie what street her new friend lived on, Katie said, “Well, we always pick her up on Circus Pickway.” I think of that every time I angle my bike past a street sign that reads, “Cletus Parkway.”

Recently, I ran into a couple anecdotes to complete my little cute-kid anthology that, I think, would have made Linkletter proud.

Pat Walter told me of his and wife Rachel’s 5-year-old, Katana, who Pat tells me puts a capital P in the word Precocious. After the doctor left the exam room momentarily during her routine check up, Katana asked her father if she’d be receiving a sucker since she was so good during all that poking and prodding and “say ah-ing.” Seeing a teachable moment, Dad looked at Rachel and then told Katana that if one is offered, she could graciously accept, but it wouldn’t be proper to ask for one.

When doc returned, she asked Pat if he had any questions about the exam. While the parents said no, Katana said she had one, which, of course, made mom and Dad tense up a bit. She looked at doc and asked, “Do you have something you give to patients who are very good?” Well played, little one! She got her sucker!

Finally, this one comes all the way from Tampa, Florida, where my Lady Jane’s son John and his wife Betsy are raising a couple little ones, Charlie, all of a half a year, and big sis, Carolina. Four-year-old Carolina Grace Kuhn was enthusiastically regaling her parents with stories from her first day at pre-kindergarten just before dinner. Thrilled with such a positive school review, Mom and Dad said to her that surely the next day would be even more fun.

Carolina Grace stopped dead in her tracks, wheeled around with hands on tiny hips and said incredulously, “You mean I’ve got to go AGAIN?”

When it comes to priceless humor, don’t tell me our kiddos don’t have the market cornered!

By John Grindrod

Guest Columnist

John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News and Our Generation’s Magazine, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at

John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News and Our Generation’s Magazine, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at

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