millie

One thing for sure if grandpa were alive today we would find him sitting somewhere with a group of fellows telling tall tales and using the English language as his own tool of expression. 

Growing up in the mountains he learned to fine tune his way of talking that served him well to tell his stories. Grandma didn’t approve of his cuss words and reminded him he was falling from grace every time he used such “swear” words..” 

On the occasions that I’d be in their company when grandpa would be on the impatient side with grandma or disagree with her out he comes with “who in Sam Hill,” gives a “diddley dam,” Mable”. Grandma would retort “Eve, you ought to be ashamed of yourself talking in front of the child that way.

Grandpa was a genius at fitting the language to suit his purpose. Other words I remember grandpa used to expression himself to suit his story... “Deader than a hammer,” “dad Jim-it,” “I don’t want to over loud your donkey”, Heavens to Betsy”, and “confound it”. 

Grandpa never knew the origin of the phrases, but it made no difference. They came in handy when he wanted to vent his frustrations or drive home a point. I miss grandpa, but will never forget the times I sat at his knee taking in every word being spellbound by his tall tales and euphemisms.. 

This tall tale is for grandpa -- A young minister was asked by a funeral director to hold a graveside service in a new cemetery for a derelict man{with no family or friends) who died traveling through the area. The cemetery was way back in the country. The man would be the first to be laid to rest at this cemetery. 

The minister was not familiar with the backwoods area, he became lost. He saw no one to ask directions and when he finally arrived an hour late. He saw a crew and a backhoe, but no hearse was nowhere in sight. The workmen were eating lunch..The minister apologized for his tardiness but the workers just looked puzzled and continued their lunch. 

He stepped to the side of the open grave, to find the vault lid already in place. He assured the workers he would not hold them long, but this was the proper thing to do..As the workers gathered around, still eating their lunch the minister poured out his heart and soul. As he preached, the workers began to say “Amen,” “Praise the Lord” and “Glory”. The preacher preached like he never had before, beginning at Genesis and worked all the way through Revelation. The service lasted about 45 minutes. It was a LONG service. 

Finally, he closed in prayer and it was finished. As he was walking to his car, he felt he had done his duty and was leaving with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication in spite of his tardiness.. As he opened the car door, taking off his coat, he overheard one of the workers saying to one another, “Ya know, I’ve been putting in septic tanks for 20 years, but I ain’t never seen anything like that before,”.” 

Millie’s thought for today; as grandpa would say, “That is it for now folks. Till we meet again, don’t take any wooden nickels. 

Mildred Higgins

russandmill@netzero.net

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