• Jeni Kelsch

Stand Up


Ah, fall, time to enjoy crisp mornings and sunny afternoons. To gather the harvest (which for me this year was three slightly buggy tomatoes) and savor the bounty of the earth. A time to clear the land and prepare for next spring. Clearing the old to prepare for the new is not my favorite task but it gives me time to think, and today, I was thinking about stand-up comedy. I’ve been writing about my life for a few years now and there seems to be a fairly consistent level of humor in it all. As I weeded, I kept myself amused imagining the stand-up routine I could perform with the material my life provides. As I rounded the house to the next bed I got to thinking about the venue I would perform my act in. I don’t frequent bars and clubs enough to have a clear mental picture of them for my comedy fantasy, so I placed myself at a Catholic Convention, I have been to a few of those before and they are almost never as funny as I think they should be. Enter Jeni.


Hello all, thank you for having me, let me tell you a little bit about myself, I am the proud mother of four wonderful children. Yes, thank you, although I feel I should mention I have five children, it’s just one is a knucklehead. (rimshot). Seriously though, I am not picking on my one child, they all take turns being the knucklehead. (clownhorn)


I am a convert to Catholicism, any converts in the room? Yes, of course, your all converts, Cradle Catholics think they already learned it all in 8 years of Catholic grammar school, they wouldn’t be here. (Catholic humor) Anyway, after I became Catholic, I learned something I think was probably pretty obvious to most of you, but I am glad I didn’t notice or I would never have joined. My Catholic friends are nice…all the time. This has been challenging for me, just ask my children. I have never perfected actual niceness, but I learned not to SAY anything unkind…in public. Like many a Mom out there I have mastered the fine art of the evil eye to keep my children in line. I wish someone would have told me that as they enter the teen years your evil eye loses it’s power, I could have easily channeled that evil into some other bodypart, my hips are quite roomy. The issue is teenagers don’t make eye contact, they can blissfully ignore you from noon, (the waking hour), till late into the night, keeping their eyes under their hair and safely locked on the ground. Bereft of my evil eye, I am practicing using nice words now, as any good Catholic should, to compel my children to pick up their socks. But my kids say it isn’t fooling anyone when you say “Honey” through clinched teeth.


I’m turning fifty soon and I have to say getting older is very freeing. I find that things I would have beaten myself up over ten years ago just don’t seem like that big of a deal anymore, what with death just around the corner and all. For instance, I used to feel badly that I didn’t like meetings…well, groups of people…well, people. But now I know that I am never going to get good at meetings, so I have stopped going to them completely and instead focus on things I can do well, like sunbathing and mowing the grass. I try to focus on my innate skills.


I was riding with my daughter in the car the other day, we were talking about what it means when someone says something is in your nature. I told her that even as newborns, each of them possessed a quality that I could identify. Determination, or patience, or cheerfulness, those things were in their nature. My daughter smiled and reflected for awhile, then thinking out loud, she said, “Mrs. M is very determined, Mrs. D is so elegant, and you mom, your so…active,” which in my mind meant “currently alive.” But as a good Catholic I smiled and said sweetly and serenely, “I love my four children SO much.”


Thanks for coming, enjoy Heaven.. I probably won’t be there.

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