Our daddy was a country boy through and through. He grew up on a farm in Princeton, Missouri. He walked country. He danced country. He played country. He talked and he lied country.
I know it sounds crazy but country boys have a certain walk. They all have a “hitch in their get-along”. I think it comes from getting on and off tractors, walking through the fields and dodging all those cow patties.
Our daddy could dance. He called it the Sheep Herder Shuffle. He was a fine dancer. I don’t where he learned how to dance. When he was asked where and how he learned to dance. He would make up some story about going to a barn dance and having nothing to dance with but the cows. “And I aint talking about the girls from school!”
He lied country . . . . “Why when I went to school I had to walk ten miles . . . both ways . . . uphill . . . in the snow . . . barefoot.”
When I asked my grandmother about this tale she laughed and said, “It was about two miles as the crow flies and he had a horse that knew the way so he was able to sleep. That boy could sleep anywhere and through anything. Also, he had shoes and he was the oldest so he didn’t get hand-me-downs.”
He did all the things a boy does in the country to play. Squirrel hunting, “frog gigging” . . . “Clarence and me used to make your Aunt Colene stand in the middle of the field with a heavy coat on and we would shoot at her with our pellet gun. If she hollered when we hit her with a pellet, we knew we could kill frogs with that gun.” As a teen, he would even play country boy pranks . . . “One day a bunch of us’n snuck o’er to the Pratt boys’ farm in the middle of the night and took apart one of their wagons and put it back together up in the hayloft. We neared died from laughing when old man Pratt found his wagon up in the hayloft.” Country boys don’t need T.V. or video games to have a good time. Country boys can make a game out of a stick and some cow patties.
Our daddy had a way with words. I loved the way our daddy talked. Eloise Greenfield wrote a poem called “Honey, I Love” and in it she talks about how she loves the way her cousin talks. I have a text-to-self connection to this part of the poem and my daddy.
I love a lot of things,
a whole lot of things.
My cousin comes to visit
and you know he's from the South
‘cause every word he says
just kind of slides out of his mouth
I like the way he whistles
And I like the way he walks
But honey, let me tell you that
I LOVE the way he talks
I love the way my cousin talks”
I loved the way our daddy talked. Not only did the words slide right out of his mouth in a smooth country manner but he always had mouthful of crazy country sayings. He had a saying for every situation. Below are just a few of the things he would say:
It’s a vicious circle, like wiping your ass on a rusty metal hoop.
You’re shaking like a dog shitting razor blades.
She’s so ugly you’d have to tie a pork chop around her neck for the dogs to play with her.
She’s so skinny she’d have to run around in the shower to get wet.
She’s homelier than an old mud fence.
That boy could eat corn on a cob through a picket fence.
It’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.
It’s colder than a well digger’s ass in July.
I asked Caren if she could think of any other sayings of our daddy’s and she said, “The only one I can remember is ‘hold her Newt, I held her for you’. I never knew what that meant.”
Our daddy died at the too young age of fifty-four. I miss his “country-boy” ways. I miss the way he walked. I miss his stories. I miss watching him do the Sheep Herder Shuffle. I miss his lies but most of all I miss the way he talked.
I loved the way my daddy talked.
I loved the way he danced
and I loved the way he walked
but, Honey, let me tell you
that I loved the way he talked.
I loved the way my daddy talked.
Happy Fathers’ Day, Daddy. I know you, Uncle Clarence, Aunt Co and Brad are having a good ol’ country-boy time in heaven. Duck Aunt Co.
Hey, you forgot something your daddy said, “I aint that God damned dog’s dad!”
The Flip Side
SQUIRREL! Did you say squirrel hunting? I have learned the joy of squirrel hunting here in Montana.