Yesterday was my husband David’s birthday, Monday is our 23rd wedding anniversary, and so I thought it would be fun today to just share some of our silliness. These are a few of the inside jokes that we laugh endlessly over. And just something fun for the occasions. 😉

Poor Marmalade

If you’ve read the Ladies of the Manor Series, then you not only met Brook and Justin, Rowena and Brice, Ella and Cayton, you may also remember that Cayton had a wife who died, named Adelaide.

Well, the first time I wrote this series (seven years before I rewrote it into the form you now know), David read the book, realized that Cayton’s sickly first wife was destined to die, and took me to task for it. “Are you seriously creating a character just to kill her?” he said. “Poor Marmalade.”

Cue my laughter. “Marmalade?”

“You know. His wife.”


“Like I said. Marmalade.”

That has, at this point, been sixteen or seventeen years ago. But every single time marmalade is mentioned in our house, David will say, “Poor Marmalade.” (I giggle even typing this.) Which is especially relevant now, because we’ve become a bit obsessed with ChocZero Orange Marmalade–sugar free, naturally sweetened, and DELICIOUS. One or the other of us has some on a slice of homemade bread pretty much daily, which has provided many opportunities for the “Poor Marmalade” joke.

It never gets old.

Polly’s Pub

If you’ve read the Shadows Over England series, then you know Pauly, the owner of the pub that the family frequents, who has always been like a father or uncle to Rosemary, Willa, Barclay, and the rest of the crew.

Well in our hometown, we had for a while a restaurant David and I loved, called Churchill’s Pub. It served traditional British fare and was just delightful.

One evening we were driving past it, while I was up to my eyeballs writing the Secrets of the Isles series and hence was working through what pirate lore I intended to weave into my current one.

Then David said something that I heard as, “If we ever have a pub, we should name it Polly’s.”

I looked at him in utter confusion. “Why? Would it be pirate themed?”

David looked back at me with equal confusion. “Why would it be pirate themed?”

“I don’t know. But if you want to name it after a pirate’s parrot–you know, ‘Polly wants a cracker’–I thought…”

Image of him blinking at me. Then blinking again. “Not Polly. Pauly. The pub owner. You know–Barclay and company’s Pauly?”

Cue the laughter. And now every time we drive past that building (the pub shut down during Covid and never reopened), I think of Pauly-Polly’s Pub.


David and I have been watching The Walking Dead since it was new, and one of our favorite things was actually watching Talking Dead afterward, hosted by the hilarious Chris Hardwick. There’s a season where we meet the people of “The Kingdom,” which is run by “The King.” The King had a trusty guard named Gerry–a huge fellow who looks Samoan (not sure if he is or not), who is also one of those people who is just a giant teddy bear, always happy and laughing. His character always called everybody “dude,” and he was so not a medieval knight, that it was just hilarious every time he sauntered onto the stage in the Kingdom.

The king, when he needed Gerry, would bellow out, “Gerry!” in a very dramatic way. Which Chris Hardwick would imitate in Talking Dead. He was big on recurring gags, so pretty much every time he said the character’s name in later years, he would bellow it like that. “Gerrrrrrryyyy!”

Well, last autumn David and I were talking about Revelation (I’d been reading a book called The Lamb’s Supper that explains Revelation through the liturgy, which made SO MUCH SENSE), and David asked why I thought the modern church was so preoccupied with End Times.

Now, I belong to a writers group in which Jerry B. Jenkins is also a member–and he is a funny, witty, intelligent man who has often said such clever things that I laugh out loud and have to report the witticism to David. Jerry also finds it so amusing that while in decades past he was very famous for his broke-all-records-in-the-publishing-word Left Behind Series, he’s now just known as “Dallas Jenkins’s dad.” But suffice it to say that Jerry Jenkins has come up in conversation plenty in our house over the years.

So when David asked that question about our preoccupation with the End Times, what was I to do but bellow out, “Jeeerrrryyyy!” as the King always bellowed “Gerry!”?

It’s a joke that seriously five people in the world might get. But also, according to my beloved husband, the single funniest, cleverest thing I’ve ever said in my life.

Speaking of Jerry’s…

Growing up, we had a Jerry’s Pizza in our mall. It’s no longer there. Frankly, there isn’t much left in our mall. We were discussing this a few weeks ago, and the restaurants we miss, and David said how Jerry’s had never been his favorite pizza.

“I wouldn’t say it was my favorite,” I said. “But I have really fond memories of it. I still remember going there for the first time with my best friend, not with my family. It was the first time I got to order a pizza, how I wanted it. My family always got pepperoni, and I would always pick it off. That was the first place I ever just got a cheese pizza for me.”

David made an “awww” sound. “Now I feel bad. You’re back to picking off pepperoni.”

“Well if you recall, we used to get two pizzas–a pepperoni for you and a cheese for me. But then those darn kids came along and started eating all my cheese pizza, so I had to go back to sharing yours!”

David laughed and said, “I’m going to tell them you said that!”

I beat him to it and told it to Rowyn, who just started cackling at “those darn kids.” They still steal all the cheese pizza, but that’s okay. I pick the pepperoni off and then eat them with the crust, which gives me both cheese pizza and a pepperoni roll. 😉

What Says Moo?

My darling husband was one of those who would do anything to make the kids belly-laugh when they were little (and he still does. Rowyn never disappoints). When they started learning their animal sounds, one of his favorite games was deliberately messing them up, which would inevitably bring hoots of laughter from the little ones, who knew very well that the dog didn’t say “meow” and the horse didn’t bark.

His favorite was to attribute “moo” to everything. Duck? Moo! Pig? Moo! Dinosaur? Moo!

(Don’t worry, the kids are quite proficient in actual animal sounds. They knew not to take Papa seriously. But they got years of laughter from it.)

But much like Chris Hardwick, David does not ever let a good gag go, and his commitment to a bit is unsurpassed. Our kids may now be 18 and 16, but he still calls cows “mooers” and greets pretty much any animal with “Moo!” His most famous is recent years is a little nonsense song he’ll break into a moment’s notice, which has lyrics of “Moo, moo, rhinoceroses moo-moo, moo moo moo. Rhinoceroses! Moo moo…” I keep telling him he needs to record it make some stupid little animation for it. It could totally be the next “Baby Shark”…

It’s a Beautiful Thing.

Another courtesy of The Walking Dead. There’s a part where one character does something utterly stupid, and when another character calls him on it, he pretty much admits that stupid is his calling card. She shakes her head and says, “Self awareness is a beautiful thing.”

We talk a lot about self-awareness in our house. It’s important, and it’s also something quite a lot of society seems to be lacking these days, so yeah. It comes up.

So now, anytime one of us is less-than-perfect but admits it, someone else will pipe up with, “Well, it’s a beautiful thing.”

After 23 years together, we have way more inside jokes than this, of course, but in the interest of not boring you to tears…I’ll leave it at that for now. Hope you got a chuckle. And I would love to hear some of YOUR family’s inside jokes!

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