Bobbie's Beat: For Teresa

If something in today’s column makes you laugh out loud, you can thank Teresa Cavanaugh, who lives in Omaha, Neb. If you find anything offensive today, you can blame me.

I met Teresa in high school when we were both 15, and our friendship is still going strong. She has probably contributed more to this column than anybody else.

For example: two elderly ladies were sitting on a bench outside their nursing home when suddenly an old guy streaked past in his birthday suit. Of course, the ladies were shocked and speechless. Finally, one lady turned to the other and asked, “What the heck was that?” Her friend said, “I have no idea, Edna, but whatever it was certainly needed ironing!”

In all these years, I have never dedicated a column to my old friend, but I feel she needs a little recognition today as she is now caring for her ailing husband, Pat, who was also a classmate. Being a full-time caregiver has not dampened Teresa’s sense of humor. Perhaps her computer is a healthy distraction. I have several friends taking care of their aging partners at home, and it’s no picnic in the park.

Teresa sends several funny things a week, although many of the jokes would shock your shoes off. Sometimes Teresa will send a quote like this one: “You came from dust, you will return to dust. This is why I don’t dust. It could be someone I know.”

She doesn’t just send funny stuff.  She is also my self-appointed “obituary notifier.” Through all these years, Teresa has made it a point to let me know when one of our old classmates has passed on. Sometimes I have no idea who died, so I haul out my yearbook and there is the face of some teenager I either remember, or don’t.

Teresa and I were once part of a group of girls from school, most of whom never left town like I did, but whenever I made a trip to Omaha, she arranged a get-together, usually at her lovely home. We always got Pat to take a photo until the group eventually dwindled down to just us. Teresa recently had to move to a smaller home that is handicap accessible for Pat. In spite of these major changes, she is determined to keep up with classmates who are still breathing.

On my last trip to Omaha three years ago, she arranged lunch at a sports bar owned by one of the cutest guys from our class. I tried to act cool that day about how “old” everyone looks — except me, of course. Ha ha. Who am I kidding?

One last tidbit about Teresa and her jokes: she is an equal-opportunity offender, as she sends Italian jokes, Jewish jokes, Irish jokes, Swedish jokes, political jokes,  you name it — which leaves me struggling with what is appropriate for a family newspaper. Some of you might think the following story is not PC, but keep in mind Teresa is a devout Irish Catholic, which has never kept her from sending Catholic humor. This one arrived yesterday:


What Causes Arthritis?

A man smelling of booze and cigarettes sits down next to a priest on the subway. His tie is stained, he has lipstick on his collar and a half-empty bottle of gin sticking out of one pocket. He opens his newspaper and begins reading. After a few minutes the man turns to the priest and asks, “Tell me Father, do you happen to know what causes arthritis?”

The priest replies, “My son, it’s caused by loose living, consorting with wicked women, too much alcohol, contempt for your fellow man and a lack of a bath.”

The drunk murmurs a response, “Well, I’ll be damned,” and returns to his newspaper. 

The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudges the man and apologizes.

“I’m very sorry,” he says. “I didn’t mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?”

The man answers, “Oh, I don’t have it, Father. I was just reading here that the Pope suffers from it.”

Moral: Make sure you understand the question before offering the answer.


Hey, old friend, I’m keeping you and Pat in my prayers. As we all know, life is unpredictable. I’m pretty sure you sent me this quote which is taped to my computer: “Stop talking to God about how big your mountains are and start talking to your mountains about how big your God is!” (Author unknown)

Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]


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