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Lip Reading

June 7, 2019

My mother reminded me today that she has appeared on local television twice. The first time was in a TV commercial for a curtain shop. Her neighbour owned the shop and needed someone to pretend to be a shopper. All Mum had to do was walk through the curtain shop, waving her arm and expressing joy at the fabulous wares on display.

The curtain shop owner must have known her quite well. He told her she could say whatever she liked as long as she didn’t swear.

‘But you said it was a non-speaking part,’ said Mum.

Yes, he replied, but some people can lip read.

Mum laughed. ‘So I couldn’t say, “What fucking wonderful curtains” because someone might have been able to read my lips.’

Her second starring role was in a commercial for her deli/greengrocer. The grocer had cornered one day and asked if she would like to appear in his ad. She said no she didn’t, thank you very much. He then said she could have all the items in her shopping trolley for free. She agreed but later regretted she hadn’t loaded up the trolley. Once again, she had to ad lib. Her famous line, the line we quote when we want to tease her is: ‘Well, the vegetables are always very fresh.’

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