Potlucks and Poetry

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#447: “Potlucks and Poetry”
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Exodus 20:12

12"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

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“Embarrassing Parents”
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Potlucks and Poetry

“Potlucks and Poetry” is episode #447 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Kathy Buchanan, and originally aired on May 20, 2000.


Aubrey is so embarrassed by her parents that she does everything she can to keep them from showing up at a poetry reading--including not telling them about it at all.


It's Aubrey Shepard's big moment. She is standing on stage in front of hundreds of people reciting her best poem. Just as she begins the first line, her parents stand up in the audience and ask her to do her best Winnie the Pooh impression. Suddenly, Aubrey awakes from her daydream to find she is back at home, but realizes she has a problem. There is a poetry reading at Whit's End coming up that she wants to be in, but she wants to make sure that her parents aren't there. Not only that, but it's on the same night as a church potluck. As she's pondering her options, her energetic sister Bethany comes in to bounce on her bed, announce that their grandparents are showing up, and discover Aubrey's secret about the poetry reading.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Ben and Ellen Shepard are discussing how they really do not want Ellen's parents to come with them to the church potluck. Her parents are very out-spoken and have taken a rather dim view of the family's new Christianity. Just as their pondering comes to a climax, the grandparents show up. While the two girls show the pair to their cabin, Bethany inadvertently blurts out Aubrey's poetry reading and how she doesn't want her parents to go. The grandparents agree to try to help her.

At dinner, Ben and Ellen briefly bring up the potluck, but Ellen's father suggests that he and the girls spend the evening together themselves. Since they didn't really want the grandparents to come to the potluck anyway, the parents agree. The big night arrives with Ben and Ellen at the potluck and the grandparents and girls at the poetry reading. By way of a flyer and another accidental revelation from Bethany, both pairs of adults finds out what the other is doing. After some running back and forth, they finally meet up at the church and talk about why no matter how old they are, their parents occasionally embarrass them. Ben explains that is part of being parents, because parents are just trying their best to raise their kids.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why didn't Aubrey want her parents to come to the poetry reading?
  2. What did Aubrey learn about why her parents embarrass her sometimes?
  3. Have your parents ever done anything to embarrass you?
    • Why do you think they did that?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Aubrey Shepard Danielle Judovits
Ben Shepard Jerry Houser
Bethany Shepard Sara Pilgreen
Grandma Betty Chris Anthony
Ellen Shepard Carolyn Hennesy
Eugene Meltsner Will Ryan
Harlow Doyle Will Ryan
Grandpa Frank Jimmy Weldon

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Tom Riley Ellen Shepard
John Whittaker Ellen Shepard



  • This episode was originally titled "Embarrassing Parents" but was changed shortly before airing.
  • This episode features Chris Anthony (the AIO host) as Aubrey's grandmother.


Ben Shepard: You can show them your Winnie the Pooh impression! "Oh bother!"
Crowd: Winnie the Pooh! Winnie the Pooh!

Bethany Shepard: Oh no, I love it! I look like Laura Ingalls Wilderness in it. When she's out on the frontier herding turkeys and then some Indians, ah, I mean Native Americans, come out from behind the trees, armed with water balloons, and so she runs away, but her little dog Toto gets caught by Pocahontas, the last Mohican, and Laura runs to tell her Pa, who starts to cry, because he's going to abandon her and take part on the Byway to Heaven!
Grandpa Frank: That's exactly what I thought of when we bought it!

Ben Shepard: Were Aubrey and Bethany here tonight?
Eugene Meltsner: They were. Aubrey, in fact, performed an exemplary rendition of works of mid-18th century poets.
Ben Shepard: Uh, where are they now?
Eugene Meltsner: Deceased, I believe.
Ben Shepard: Not the poets, Eugene — our daughters!