April 01 '00
Long Long Eggo Nighttime Egg Hunt
Many of my weekend activities are predictable, and with a high degree of regularity, I am known to drive down South Main Street, Pontotoc and stop at Young's Car Wash and Laundry. If I arrive before 3:00 p.m., I not only wash my car, rain or shine, I also visit briefly with my young-at- heart friends, Cordis and Cubell Young. Occasionally, I ask Mrs. Young about something that transpired long, long ago. The following conversation, recreated from memory, transpired on March 18th.
"We didn't have dyes to color our eggs, so we colored them with paintin' pencils," stated Mrs. Young, when I asked her what Easter was like when she was a youngster.
Paintin' pencils, I learned were what I once called colors, or more correctly wax crayons, marketed by the Crayola company. I don't recall hearing them called paintin' pencils, but soon understood how the name fit.
"We had eggs to let, back then," she continued, "and mama always fixed a lot of them for Easter. Once the eggs were boiled, we'd color them with our paintin' pencils. We didn't have anything like an Easter basket to put them in. We carried ours in a bucket."
"You mean, like a molasses bucket?" I asked.
"Something like that, and you had to be careful or you'd cut your hand reaching in the bucket."
I had trouble keeping Mrs. Young on the subject of Easter memories, for as her thoughts unfolded, she'd chase after a rabbit, not an Easter bunny either. For example, Mrs. Young stated that her family would gather a cheese hoop full of eggs and sell them to the local store for five cents a dozen.
"You had to trade out the eggs for merchandise, down to the penny. No cash was involved in the sale of the eggs," she elaborated. "Sometimes we'd sell a chicken for maybe thirty-five cents, but it wouldn't be a little ol' three or four pound fryer like you get in the grocery store, now. It would be a big hen. It may be me, but it seems like chicken tasted better back then."
"Well you know, if you found any chickens like those today, folks would call them "free range" chickens, meaning they were not penned up in a chicken house, but could roam around freely," I remarked.
"And too," stated Mrs. Young, "the feed was different. We raised our own corn and had it ground at the gristmill. We'd feed the chickens what we called 'chops.' It was a real course grind. If we ran low on chicken feed Mama would bake some hot cornbread and crumble it up for them."
"Well, getting back to Easter, did your bunch hide eggs and have an Easter egg hunt?" I quizzed.
"We sure did. On Saturday night before Easter is when we'd hide them," she stated.
Such was new to me, so I asked about the night activity, "And you looked for them on Sunday?"
"No, we got out with lanterns and looked for them after we hid them. Then we'd all come back inside and have cake and lemonade and eat our eggs. We didn't have chips and dip for parties back then. We had to make everything." she interjected, before explaining that some folks were funny and wouldn't eat any of their eggs, choosing to take them home with them.
"I also know that some folks have a prize egg, maybe one that is specially colored or marked for the occasion. Did y'all have one?" I asked.
"Whoever found the most eggs would get a prize," stated Mrs. Young. "That's how we did ours."
"Did you get new clothes for Easter?" I asked, knowing that farming families often were pressed to find money to rear the children, let alone splurge for new clothes for everyone at Easter.
"We always wore a hat and gloves to church on Sunday, even when it wasn't Easter," she explained. "Sometimes, we'd have a new outfit for Easter, but not always. Usually we got new shoes, but they had to do us from then on, until cold weather. We didn't have a pair of shoes for every outfit, and we didn't have but a few outfits, either. One year my sister made me a white dress for Easter. She used flour sacks from "Delicious Flour" that had been saved. Did you ever hear of that brand?"
After acknowledging my ignorance of the Delicious brand, I sat back to hear more about the dress.
"Those flour sacks made me think of linen once they were washed and ironed. She used red thread to outline the collar and to go 'round the buttonholes of the dress, and then she put red buttons on it," Mrs. Young related.
"I'll bet it was pretty," I replied.
"I thought it was the prettiest dress I had ever had at the time: I was so proud of it. We didn't have store-bought dresses, all of ours had to be made at home."
"Can you remember your first store-bought dress?" I wanted to know.
"My wedding dress," stated Mrs. Young. "It was blue."
For a moment I wondered why blue was chosen for a wedding dress, but it dawned on me that she was referring to a Sunday outfit rather than the laced gowns with veils and trains worn by modern brides.
I was still wondering when I heard Mrs. Young say, "Married in blue, your heart will be true."
Then she grinned and stated, "Married in red, wish yourself dead."
Suddenly, I was intrigued with the rhymes she must have learned as a young child in the late twenties or early thirties.
"There were more sayings, too. Maybe, one for every color," she explained. "'Married in green, wish to be seen,' but that's all I can remember of it now."
We had just finished chasing another rabbit. It seemed a good place to change the subject, to talk about something besides Easter memories.
"You're not going to write this down, are you?" she asked.
"Just all I can remember," I responded, "I don't have any paper with me and forgot to bring the tape recorder. I don't have many Easter memories, so if I have anything to write for my newsletter, I have to ask others for their memories. I know you are not going to write it down for me."
Late into Saturday evening, I dialed into the Internet and searched out the following. I found it on a page titled, "Irish Wedding Gowns," so maybe the poem is of Irish or Gaelic origin.
Marry in White, everything right
Marry in Blue, lover be true
Marry in Pink, spirits will sink
Marry in Grey, live far away
Marry in Brown, live out of town
Marry in Green, ashamed to be seen
Marry in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow
Marry in Black, wish you were back
Marry in Red, wish you were dead
Marry in Tan, he'll be a loved man
Marry in Pearl, you'll live in a whirl
No one in my family has ever heard these rhymes, what about you?
Posted Humor Questionable Phrasing
Some of the signage I see leaves doubt as to how much thought went into the phrasing. Yes, I suppose you could make a similar case using this article or another article found in a past issue of RRN, and if you find it amusing, all has not been for naught, but I would quickly point out the following examples were not likely created to be humorous.
Last fall, when Barbara and I traveled to Baton Rouge for her doctor's appointment there, we stayed at a motel overnight. A sign on the motel wall adjacent to the parking lot warned: "Parking For Registered Guests Only. Vehicles Will Be Towed." Now, as a registered guest, I felt entitled to use the parking space, but I preferred to park myself inside a room, not between the lines on the parking lot. I surely did not want my vehicle towed for occupying a space reserved for guests, but there was no other suitable option, so I parked my vehicle in the area reserved for guests and hoped for the best. I know that I am being slightly absurd, but so was the signage. In our most recent visit to Baton Rouge, I noticed the sign had been removed. I can only guess it was due to consumer outrage.
Also, last year, I made note of a sign that Barbara pointed out to me when we stopped at Jitney Jungle in Ripley to shop for some Golden Eagle Syrup. I can remember our reason for stopping had to do with a conversation with relatives, while visiting with them in the funeral home at the time of death of my uncle. As we were walking toward the entrance to the store, Barbara pointed out the sign: "Not Responsible For Cart Damage." I later wrote down the phrase alongside the one above, but had all but forgotten it until I saw a second sign at Jitney Jungle's corporate offices in Jackson, MS, that bore the same message. Both, my wife and I found the message, at first, unclear. Shortly, after considering its meaning, Barbara stated it must refer to damage to automobiles on the parking lot, caused by errant or unattended shopping carts. We each felt a clearer message would have read: "Not Responsible For Auto Damage Caused By Carts." Instead, the implication was that the grocer was not legally responsible for having faulty shopping carts, and therefore not obligated to repair said shopping carts.
Last month I encountered a sign in the door of a restaurant in Belzoni, MS, that bears mentioning. An associate and I had been working at the Supervalu Store in Belzoni, and had driven to the downtown area to eat at one of the better restaurants, Allison's. Belzoni, is a Delta town. Therefore, it has its share of farmers (only you should call them planters in the Delta). All the planters have huge extended cab pickup trucks with four wheel drive mechanisms to spin themselves out of muddy fields of rice, wheat, soybeans, cotton, or since Belzoni claims to be the catfish capital of the world, catfish farms. Apparently somebody with muddy feet has been eating at Allison's, because the sign stated: "Wipe Feet Before Entering Or Remove." Replacing feet with shoes would have been a more reasonable demand, or placing shoes at the end of the phrase would have sufficed. Nonetheless, I heeded the demand and scraped my shoes on the welcome mat as I entered, 'cause I surely did not want to remove my feet.
While waiting for some Bar-B-Que "to go" in Oxford, MS, Barbara and I took time to record the following:
Handy Andy Coffee Prices
1 Cup - $0.50
1 Hour - $1.00
1/2 Morning - $1.50
All Morning - $2.00
All Day - $4.00
$4.50 Allows 1 hr. to go home for lunch
We Double Charge For:
While rooming at a motel in Biloxi, MS, last week, the following announcement was placed on the work desk in my motel room.
In an effort to contribute positively to the environment through reduced usage of water, electricity, and chemicals, your bed linen will be changed again only upon request and at check-out.
Granted, I'm no English major, but it seems to me the notice is stating the bed linens are to be changed only if the following two conditions are met:
Had I been responsible for approving the words "only upon request and at check-out," I would have replaced and with or to avoid a possible ambiguity, but then, I probably would have placed a period after request, dropping the extraneous and at check-out.
Our world is full of humor. It's all around us, and it only takes a minute to find it.
Redneck Update Perfection Reported
As of this writing, no one has contributed his or her thoughts defining rednecks or explaining the origin(s) of the term. Nor have there been many folks report how well they scored on the recent quiz about rednecks. One reader, who asked his name be withheld, boasted a perfect score. I can assure you he is no redneck, but being extremely well read and of the South, certainly, contributed to his high score.
On the website that hosts this newsletter, an opinion poll feature has been added that will allow readers to participate in various polls, while protecting reader anonymity. Those of you with Internet access might want to check out the Redneck Poll.
Bodock Beau Do You Know Your Flowers
Beau thought some of you might enjoy the flower gardener's puzzle/ riddle that follows. He told me he did miserably, but might have fared better on either a matching or multiple-choice version. Put on your best "thinking cap" and enjoy:
Submitted by Kim Goslin
Advice for Young Women
Affirmation for Older Women
1. Don't imagine you can change a man-unless he's in diapers.
2. What do you do if your boyfriend walks-out? You shut the door.
3. If they put a man on the moon-they should be able to put them all up there.
4. Never let your man's mind wander, it's too little to be out alone.
5. Go for younger men. You might as well. They never mature anyway.
6. Men are all the same. They just have different faces, so that you can tell them apart.
7. Definition of a bachelor: a man who has missed the opportunity to make some woman miserable.
8. Women don't make fools of men. Most of them are the do-it-yourself types.
9. Best way to get a man to do something is to suggest they are too old for it.
10. Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.
11. If you want a committed man, look in a mental hospital.
12. The children of Israel wandered around the desert for 40 years. Even in biblical times, men wouldn't ask for directions.
13. If he asks what sort of books you're interested in, tell him checkbooks.
14. Remember, a sense of humor does not mean that you tell him jokes, it means that you laugh at his.
15. Sadly, all men are created equal.
Submitted by Ed Dandridge
Only a few of the Only in America lines:
Puzzle Answers: 1- Aster; 2 - Cowslip; 3 - Johnny-jump-up; 4 - Bluebells; 5 - Carnation; 6 - Phlox; 7 - Goatsbeard;8 - Lady's mantle; 9 - Cone-flower; 10 - Black-eyed Susan; 11 - Bluet; 12- Baby's breath; 13 - Lily of the valley; 14 - Jonquil; 15 - Freesia.