I’ve heard it said, “You can’t go home.” And, “Home is where the heart is.” But, if you can’t go home, and that’s where your heart is . . . then . . . does that mean you’ve lost heart? Not me. Nope!! I can go home any time I want, and I do – often. Not all the way home, though, usually. I go to the front gate, where all the flowers are. I can lean on the gate and relive all the fun times and exciting days, and it’s like picking a bouquet of memories.
My foster father – what a guy! Farming was his life, and so was his wife. He had more old sayings than a dog’s got fleas. I used to just marvel at how many he could quote in one day, without repeating himself. As a teenager, I often scoffed at those sayings. Now I remember them with great fondness, and have found myself using most as though they originated in my own brain.
There was a saying for every occasion, and several he used for multiple situations.
A typical day at our house may have included one or more of the following interchanges . . .me: How ya doin today? him: (on a good day) finern frog’s hair split three ways (on a better day) happy as a clam the clam-diggers missed! (on a great day) if I was any better, there’d have to be two of me! (on a day he didn’t feel well) I got a hitch in my gitalong. me: I don’t get it. What did you mean by that? him: Oh, nuthin. My tongue just got tied around my eye-teeth, and I couldn’t see what I was saying. me: I hate my hair! Why can’t I get it cut? him: well, you’ve cut it two or three times, and it’s still too short. me: What time is it, Claude? him: two hairs past a freckle, goin’ on to the elbow. me: AARRGGHHH! I can’t do this stupid thing – it’s not working! him: here’s your problem – you’re not holdin’ your mouth right. me: (before a date) Do I look OK? him: you look purtiern a spotted hog. (by the way, that did NOT instill any confidence in me at the time, as I hated hogs and thought they were ugly)
Oh, and all those little multipurpose sayings! He would often use these interchangeably – when he was upset, mischievous, crabby, happy – whatever. Sometimes he’d just use them to make me laugh, or to get a rise out of me, or maybe even to make me a little mad (he got a kick out of getting my teenage temper stirred up).I’m gonna cut your tail off right behind your ears! (upset with one of us kids…teasing the dog…or just feelin’ a little rambunctious) Put your shoes on, Lucy – doncha know you’re in the city?! (by the way, we weren’t in the city, my name isn’t Lucy, and I probably had my shoes on anyway) Independent as a hog on ice (somebody he considered even more stubborn than he was – usually me) Come on in, pull up a chair and sit down beside it (when company came, if he liked them) Here’s your hat what’s your hurry (when company came, if he wasn’t all that fond of them) Well, sit on your fist and lean back on your thumb (to whoever lost, when we were fighting over the best seat in front of the TV) If everybody thought alike, they’d all want Suzie (this one always cracked me up, as his wife’s name wasn’t Suzie) slice me off a chunk of that (when I tried to make coffee once – by the way, you COULD slice off a chunk of HIS coffee) I druther die owin’ ya than cheatcha out of it (ALWAYS said with a twinkle in his eye and a twitch in the corner of his mouth) I feel like I’ve been rode hard and put away wet (I honestly think he got that one from watching all those old westerns he loved on TV. Jes sayin) I’m so hongry my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut (another one I’m sure he got from westerns – except maybe for the ‘hongry’ part. That was all him) Well, bust my britches! (this one he used to convey any number of emotions)
My foster father rarely just “said” something – he was the master of hyperbole, simile, and metaphor, even though he had no idea what any of those words meant. When I think of all his sayings, I can hear his voice and see the twinkle in his eye.
But if someone did something he didn’t like, look out! He could jump straight up in the air and land with both fists up, ready to do battle, sort of a mixture between Snuffy Smith and Popeye. True story! I actually witnessed that happen once, when someone had badly mistreated his plow horse, Patsy. She died from the mistreatment – and the fellow came very near that himself.
Normally, though, my foster father was a kind, gentle little man, always a hard worker, and meticulously honest. He was a good man.
I could go on and on and on and . . . or not. What are some of your favorite memories from days gone by?This week’s WordPress writing challenge is all about something completely different from the normal posting, and my foster father was just that - completely different from any post I ever met. There are fence posts, and postcards, and postmarks, and postmen, and post-holes, and post-modern, and even blog posts. Claude was a postmark from another era, forever stamped on my memory.