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A good many years ago, before, indeed, I can remember, His Majesty's Ship Laurel, a corvette of eighteen guns and a hundred and thirty men, commanded by Captain Blunt, formed one of the West India squadron. She, with another corvette, and a brig in company, came one fine morning off a beautiful island, then in possession of the French, although, as Dick Driver, from whom I got the particulars, said, properly belonged to England, at least, it once had. Of course, therefore, it was their business to get it back again. Dick could not recollect its name, nor the exact date of the occurrences I am describing, for, being no scholar, he was a very bad hand at recollecting dates; and as he could not write his own name, of course it was not to be expected that he would keep a journal, or remember very accurately all the places he had visited.
This book contains a collection of incidents involving shopping with Ding-A-Ling, my mother-in-law. It is not meant to ridicule her, but simply is a recounting of her ways of twisting words and thoughts. She was born with an obvious learning disability. It is difficult for her to find appropriate words and to pronounce them correctly. As a person who was blessed at birth with the ability to manipulate words, I think the good Lord put me with Ding-A-Ling on purpose. My job has been to straighten out the grammatical mistakes she has made; she, however, has viewed this in a different light. I am sure she has always felt that I have been making fun of her. Nothing could be further from the truth; I have only wanted to keep others from ridiculing her. Many people think Ding-A-Ling's mistakes are due to senility. At her age, this could be partially true. I have concluded, however, that deep inside her brain is more intelligence than people give her credit for. Her ability to analyze numbers is phenomenal. It is simply a case of an area of her brain not operating correctly when the manipulation of words is required.
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