Let me tell you about my late Grandfather, Jimmy K. C. Ferguson.
When I was very young and visiting my Grandparents in Inverness, my Granddad would walk me around Inverness every morning to wear me out. He would take me to look at the trains in Inverness train station. Then he would take me to the Eastgate shopping centre to go up and down the escalators (we didn’t have those where I grew up), and then to watch the big wooden animals moving about on the giant Noah’s Ark musical clock. It was magical.
Each time we would cross the River Ness, and at least once (and knowing Granddad, probably only once) I said “There’s water down there!” Except I was little and it probably came out as “There’s ‘otter down there!”
For the rest of his life, when I was around, Granddad would point out any body of water by saying “There’s otter down there!” And for the rest of my life, when I see a body of water from above, I will always hear his voice saying “There’s otter down there!”
He would pick up on little things that us kids would say or do, and turn them into catchphrases. It was the best.
I once lost a toy dinosaur at the local William Low supermarket. I used to lose things all the time (used to? hah!). We went back and luckily it had been handed in and I got it back. This became known as the Willielowsasaurus incident.
My sister reminded me of these next two. He had a favourite poem. It went like this: “I have a yacht, yacht to see it. It’s in the canal, where you canal see it.”
When there was something on TV he didn’t care for, he would say “Press a button, somebody!” My sister thinks that one came from our cousin Cameron.
But this is my absolute favourite: Back in the day there was an advert on TV for a sale at some kind of no doubt defunct electrical retailer. A chorus sang the catchy jingle “Double your discount!” For some reason he immediately responded by singing “Double your washing machine.”
Double your washing machine.
For some reason I still think this is the funniest thing anybody has ever said.
[Updated: added two my sister remembered.]