Are You Sure?

Nothing annoys me more than to relate something of which I have carefully researched and determined to be accurate, and then have the recipient ask, “Are You Sure?”  If there was doubt, the research and determination was available to them as well.

Why question the statement without prior knowledge of the subject?  Does this give them a feeling of superiority?  Most of us do not address an issue without some awareness of the accuracy of our assertion.  Yet, there are the ones who insist on challenge as a way of injecting their own thoughts into whatever is being discussed.

Perhaps insecurity could possibly describe these individuals.  By asserting doubt in the accuracy, they conceal the fact that they are dubious as to their own understanding.

This is a technique, when employed appropriately, will tend to avert attention to their inabilities while at the same time sow seeds of doubt in our recounting of the issue.

Another tactic employed by these people is the reciting of, “I know a friend who…”  This particular person can do anything better, can purchase cheaper, and is more knowledgeable on any and all subjects.  In most instances, however, ‘his name is never mentioned.’

At times we wonder if he is indeed real or is he a fabrication supplied to prove a point.  Skepticism of this person’s proficiency only enhances the misconception that we are unenlightened if we suspect any misrepresentation.

I suppose that the only way to suppress these individuals is in allowing them the freedom to voice their own condescending opinion on all subjects, and then to continue with our own concepts of the way things should or should not be.

By implementing these methods, they are convinced that they have influenced us sufficiently to guarantee that the next time a problem arises, we will search them out for advice.

“The first pair of shoes that I tried on, fit my feet perfectly.”

“Are you sure?”   “I have a friend who…”

Demijon

My Brother called, and asked how to pull up my Blog from his computer.  I told him to use the Curser,’  then to “right click,” the icon, on the desk top.  He replied…, “I cursed it and then I wrote “click;” but nothing happened.”

He ain’t been right since.      Dj.

Famous Sayin’s.

I grew up in a small Town in the early 1930’s.  The town was so small that “First Street,”  was the only street; and was noted on the State Road Map as Highway 34.”  The Filling Station and the Liquor Store were the main businesses since “The Axe-Handle Factory,”  closed down; just after the War;    (‘the big’un’), that is.

Try as I might; I cannot remember all of the ‘Unique Sayings,’ that perpetrated from the shrine, called; “The Sons of Rest”  bench; that was located under the shelter of the Filling Station.  It was also here that most of the Town’s ‘Official Business,’ was conducted.

The Bench,’ was off-limits from 10:00, a.m. to 1:00, p.m. for anyone with the exception of “The Town Fathers;”  (a gathering of men, age 60 years or more).   

On any given day, when an audience was in attendance; they were usually seated on upturned soft-drink crates, or simple sitting on the cement curb around the gasoline pumps.

As stated above; I cannot remember all the profound sayings; but with the help of “Bo Whaley,”  “Ludlow Porch,”  & the late, “Lewis Gizzard;  I will attempt to narrate as many as I can recall.  Listed below are sayings; as described by “The Town Fathers, and / or The Local Gender.

“That Boy of Buck’s, has done an’ got ‘Uppity,’ since he ‘got on’  at The Fertilizer Factory!”

“Bessie Lee’s so ugly; she’d ‘make a ‘Rat turn loose a hunk’a Cheese!”

“Ma was ‘stiff as a board;’ after she got done with the washin’ and arnin’!”

That young’un’s the ‘spittin’ image’ of his Gram’pa!

“Jethro didn’t get hurt in that wreck;  ’cause he’s ‘tough as a ‘lightered knot.”

“If your plowin’ ain’t done just right; I’m goin’a ‘raise sand!”

“Did Bubba write that song?”  “You’re freakin’ A;”  “He wrote a whole ‘baccer-sheet’ full uv’em.”  The latest one was, “Twelve bottles of four-roses, makes a dozen.”  

“Billy-Bob done went an’ got ‘hisself  farred’ at th’ Pig & Whistle, ’cause he ain’t ‘no-count, nohow.”

“Your Hoe-Cake is ‘better’n Snuff, an’ ain’t half as dusty!”

“Yesterday; I were ‘sick as a dog; but today; I’m ‘Fair-to-Middlin.”

“Do you think Nezzie Faye’s got salvation?”  “Yeah: She’s got it in her leff hip.”

“Shoot Fire:  I can run a heap faster’n, that old A-Model you’ve got.”   

I won’t say that the Town is the smallest, in the State; but both the city-limit sign’s are on the same post; and everybody loves the Mayor, the Barber, the Preacher, the School Principal, and the Policeman; all of whom, are one and the same person.

The Town Drunk’  has a reserved seat beside the ‘Hi-Test,’ Gas-Pump; so as; he will not be too far from The Liquor Store;” and re-replenishment, of his liquid self-reliance.

He is ‘not’ considered a genuine ‘Son of Rest;’ but rather, he is kept close; just in case he is ‘called-on’ to be a witness, if there was an altercation between a ‘long-winded tale;’ and “The Speaker of The Bench.” 

Demijon

Of course, in the event that he would be called to testify; he would surely vote in favor of decisions made by official members of “The Bench.” You know:  “Scratch my Back, & I’ll scratch Your’n!”      Dj.

A Welcome Model “T”

In the early 1940’s, motorized traffic was in its infancy insofar as ownership of an automobile for a teenager, was concerned.

These machines were, more or less, cost prohibitive for many farm ‘families,’ to say nothing about teenagers; in the rural South.  The farm itself, provided most of our food; while a local mercantile shop, (Th’ Store), supplied the rest. The fact that Th’ Store was within walking distance, reduced the need for an automobile.

If a farmer was fortunate enough to own one, it was usually reserved for emergencies; or to be driven to Doctors appointments and/or Church.  Riding around for pleasure was akin to throwing away money.

Such was the case when I was in my early teens.  Any trips to town for recreational purposes were accomplished by hitch-hiking.  This method of travel meant that one would stand beside a highway with a thumb raised until a friend or neighbor would stop and offer a ride.

On one particular incident, I was seeking a ride to the local theater for the weekly double features, with Chester Morris as “Boston Blackie” and an action-packed western starring Johnnie Mack Brown.

Traffic was sparse on this afternoon; but several cars did speed by without stopping.   Finally, a Model “T” chugged to a stop and I recognized a neighbor who lived just across the creek.  He simply said, “Get in son.”

The man’s name was Mr. Moore.  It was common knowledge that he was named for a Confederate Army Officer.  It was also well known that he usually drove his Model “T” no faster that 20 or 30 miles per hour, regardless of the amount of traffic.

As we puttered along, several cars approached from the rear, blowing horns until the way was clear to pass the slow moving Model “T.”   When we would start up a rather steep hill, the ancient vehicle would slow to a crawl.  This always created a line of cars behind until it was safe to pass.

Once, when the last of the vehicles finally passed; that driver yelled;  “Get out of the way, you S.O.B.”

When we had traveled about a half-mile further, Mr. Moore said;  “You know; I believe that gentleman knows me.”

Now, you all (y’all) know me:  I have never been one who can keep my mouth shut; therefore, I asked;  “Why do you think he knows you?”

Mr. Moore replied;  “Well: When he passed; he spoke to me.”

In the days back when; there were many such incidents that resulted in amusing repartee that was repeated over and over when friends gathered.

With nothing more important to talk about; humorous statements such as the above one from an elderly gentleman were the order of the day.

Demijon

When in Rome:  Don’t become rattled by anything the Romans do or say.  Just remember: “Remarks that you utter today could be; The talk of the Town,’  by a younger generation, tomorrow.”     Dj.

 

Harmony.

I dearly love the sound of four-part harmony.  The mingling of LEAD,  TENOR, BARITONE, and BASS; can always send shivers down my spine.  Even as a child this style of singing was a favorite of mine.

My family indulged in this type of music, although some might say not very well.  It did, however, offer us the opportunity to use what talents that we possessed, and it was pleasing to us, ‘if not to others.’

The music that we were most familiar with was Gospel..  This form of music leaned heavily toward harmony.  Four voices perfectly pitched, and blended into one sound while singing praise and thanksgiving is almost a religion in itself.

The love of singing harmony was not limited to records and the airwaves.  It was prevalent in Cotton fields,’  ‘Barber Shops,’ and ‘Homes.’   Anywhere, that four people with the ability to carry one of the parts, could get together, became a ‘Stadium’ and could usually draw a crowd.

When I was a youngster, singing was done for the love of it rather than for commercial reasons.  Sometimes there were contests, but very few group’s entered with winning as a priority.

The sheer enjoyment of making a joyful sound, was sufficient to urge each group to practice until they could blend four voices into one perfect sound..

I still get goose bumps when I hear some of the great Quartets harmonizing.  The love of harmony has stayed with me for all these many years.  I once was a member of a ‘Barbershop Chorus.’

This gathering of amateurs;’  included men from all walks of life:  “Doctors, Judges, Laborers, Cooks, and Clerks.”  They participated for only one reason.  ‘Their love of close harmony.’  They even sported a very unique logo that stated, “If you’re too busy to sing; you’re too busy.”

When I hear a group with the ability to harmonize, but the music that they choose to sing is only the lead part; I get a sad feeling and think, “what a waste.”  They could sound so good and inspire so many, if only they would utilize their God given talents to the fullest extent.

I am aware that some music is not written for harmony; but if it “IS;” then, “Go for it!”  There is nothing more soothing or inspiring, than to hear voices blended so closely that you cannot determine who is singing which part.” 

My friends;  “That is Genuine, Undiluted, God-Given, Talent; in it’s purest form.”

I am sure that there are those who will disagree with me, and this is their right; but for me, the sounds of music will always be, FOUR-PART HARMONY!”

The key is “B.”  “All together, now:   “Sweet  Ad-a-a-l-i-i-n-e; – My Ad-a-a-l-i-i-n-e!

Demijon

Hey!  “That sound was definitely ‘not’ in the the key of, “B”…   “I believe it was the Tenor, who;  Flattened it.”     Dj.

The “Foot-feed!”

I wonder if there are any young soldiers, still around, that remember what someone is describing if they mention a foot-feed’ on an automobile, (was used to make the car go).  Or for that matter, how about a lever attached to the right side of the steering column, that was used for the same purpose.  Then, ask them about a similar lever, located on the left side of the column, and for what purpose was it used?

I’m reasonably sure the usual answer would be;  “The left lever controls the ‘turn signals,’  and the right lever is the control for the ‘windshield wipers.’  Right?”  – Wrong!

The use of both were basically the same, in that, they were necessary for the operation of many vehicles manufactured in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.

The foot feed consisted of a rod protruding through the floorboard of a Model “A” Ford.  On top of the rod was a round, metal cap, slightly larger than a silver dollar that; when pressed with the right foot, allowed more fuel mixture to enter the carburetor; therefore, increasing  speed.  It was also connected through a series of rods to the manual lever on the right side of the steering column, whereas, the two of them performed the same function.

The lever on the left of the steering column was called ‘The Spark,’ that reduced the compression of the engine and allowed manual-starting, by inserting a crank’ into the flywheel through a hole in the body, just under the radiator; thus making the crank easier to turn, if the six-volt battery had lost its charge.

Later models removed both levers and replaced the round foot feed with an oblong pedal called an ‘accelerator.’  The voltage of the Battery was later increased from 6 to 12 volts, which eliminated the need for a spark lever.  Nevertheless, the hole for the hand crank remained for several model years.

Also eliminated was a ‘dimmer-switch,’ for the headlights, located on the floorboard to the left of the clutch and a ‘choke-rod’  that was located on the right side of the dash and extended through the firewall to the carburetor.

Other innovations that eventually led to today’s technological advanced vehicles are hydraulic brakes, sealed beam headlights, electric windshield wipers, electric fuel pumps, tubeless tires, cruise controls, air conditioning, power steering, automatic transmissions, electronic turn signals,” and many, many, more.  The emergency brake lever became the parking brake in different locations.

There are a couple of features that technology overlooked.  For example, if today’s vehicle suffer from a ‘discharged Battery,’  it is impossible to start it by – pushing it off and simply ‘popping’  the clutch:” or to spin the flywheel with a hand crank’.

Modern automobiles, for the most part, are controlled by computers and manufacturers as well as dealers don’t hold with the consumer starting his own disabled vehicle, and have not done so since the invention of the Tow Truck and their Service Departments.

How many of today’s young folks know the rules for manual acknowledgment of intention from the drivers?  The correct answer for these questions were necessary for one to secure a drivers’ license in the days of yore.

The Driver’s side window was rolled down:  The left arm, extended with hand pointing up; signals a right turn’. With the hand pointing straight out signals a left turn'; and with hand pointing down signals slow or stop’.

Any more questions?

Demijon

To quote Baseball legend, Yoga Berra;  “It’s like “de-ja- vu” all over again.”    Dj.

For the Championship

Living along the Southeastern Coast of North Carolina for fifteen years acclimated us to a laid-back” environment that is, for the most part, commensurate with the inhabitants of a community comprised of mature individuals.

For years, we had yearned for a life in the slow lane, and a chance to stop and smell the roses instead of cursing the thorns.  Sunset Beach, N.C.  was our chosen Utopia’.

With the exception of a couple of months during peak’  tourist season at the Beach; no one seemed to be in much of a hurry.  This fact was observed daily on the streets and highways.  Total strangers would slow and signal for you to complete your turn in front of them; or to exit from a parking lot, or another street.

Stopping for pedestrians waiting to cross during inclement weather was the unwritten rule rather than the exception.  Rare indeed, were incidents when both pedestrians and motorist alike did not display ‘common courtesy.’

Imagine our surprise when we re-located to the more heavily populated, “Foothills” of North Carolina.  On the streets and highways here; everyone appears hell-bent’  to reach a destination before you.

A few drivers traverse the steep, twisting, roads much like a NASCAR Road Course;” by drafting'; *(practically touching the bumper of the vehicle ahead)*.

‘Following too closely;’ *(less than one-car-length, for each ten MPH of speed)*, and passing’ on hills and curves are all parts of their methods of intimidation.

Travelers who observe the posted speed limits, and caution signs; are enough reason to cause road rage” from the drivers behind them.  Apparently these folks fail to realize that it is impossible for everyone to be first”. 

During nighttime hours; many drivers do not care that their “bright” lights are blinding oncoming vehicles, and fail to “dim” them.  Recently, ‘extremely-bright’  headlight bulbs, only add to the danger.

Pedestrians literally place their lives in jeopardy when attempting to cross a street during peak hours.  It seems that courtesy is no longer an accepted criterion.

I wonder just how long it will be before a “Trophy” is awarded to a driver who has mastered the steep, twisting, turns of the Foothills Road Course;” and is crowned The Champion.” 

From what I have observed in the nine years that we have lived here; the competition will be challenging, due to the many drivers with skills, that will make a Race Team Owner’  proud.  Their dexterity will quite possibly, place them in contention for the coveted, Driver of the Year,” award.   Good luck.

Demijon

Think about it:   A “Trophy,” will make a nice, unique; “Tombstone.”       Dj.

Just Facts.

You meet a friend, whom you have not seen in some time, and immediately the question is asked, “Wha-chew bin up to?”  Now, this is not that the person asking the question is trying to probe into your personal business.

Rather, it is more of a statement of inquiry.  “I have not seen you in a month of Sundays, and I was wondering if you have been ill or if anything exciting has been happening in your otherwise monotonous lifestyle.”

Along the same lines is another inquiry into the state of your health.  “Howya bin?”  You explain that you were hospitalized for a period of three weeks and this will prompt yet another question.  “You bin sick?”

In order to appreciate these methods of greeting, you must be well versed in the state-of-the-art language that is commonplace in the southernmost parts of this great country.

There are no courses offered in any school that can prepare you for these encounters.  You are strictly on your own if and when you venture anywhere below the Mason-Dixon Line without an escort.

Only a few of these innovative expressions are included in this article in order to prevent complete shock and your first response of, “DUUGGHH?”

If you are a total stranger in the South, you may even become lost and require directions.  Before asking, you should familiarize yourself with who lives where, and who ‘used to’ live where.  This could prove invaluable in deciphering the directions.

Example:   “Ye go down this heah road ’til ye git to th’ Hylton place an’ turn to’ard th’ Jenkins’ old place.  When ye git to th’ big tree ’bout a mile frum they barn, take a right-han’ turn; lak you’re headed fer th’ creek, but you don’t go that fur.  They house is on th’ leff.”

It really couldn’t be any clearer, provided you know all of the specified persons, and/or, have a draft of the immediate countryside.

If, in fact, you did require directions, do not be surprised if you are asked the question, “Y’all ain’t nevah bin down heah afore, has y’all?”  This is simply to gain an explanation for your rather unusual appearance rather than to seem nosey.

It would be a wise individual that refrains from suggesting that appropriate road signs should be erected in and around this Utopia.  Doing so will surely bring about the response of “We ain’t th’ ones whot is lost!”

Another important item that should be mentioned here is:  Even if you do not understand, never, EVER, raise your voice or show anger.  You must remember that these gentle souls are concerned about your welfare; and it would grieve them tremendously, to waste a 20-gauge shotgun shell on the likes of you…

And besides, they’re home and you ain’t.

Demijon.

“We have provided you with the facts.  If you choose to ignore them; You’re on your own Brother.”        Dj.

Explanation

My Readers want to know!

Question:  “Have you always been as charming and debonair as you are today?”

Answer:  “No. I once was just like you; dull, ugly, cheap, and trashy.  Then I discovered the secret of the amazing ‘Slop-Jarcreams and lotions.  Daily usage of these products have done wonders for my looks as well as my demeanor.”

Question:  “What was your youth like?”

Answer:  “I was an average child.  My parents frequently borrowed one of the neighbor’s kids to carry with them to Sunday school.  There were times when they would tie an ear of corn, around my neck, so the Hogs would play with me.’   I suppose this could have helped build my delightful personality.”

Question:  “When did you decide to become a sophisticated patron of the arts?”

Answer:  “I suppose it was when I was sixteen and in the third grade.  I would spend hours studying the ‘graphic drawings & writings’ on the walls of the boy’s, (and sometimes the girl’s), bathroom.  Did you know that ‘they write on the walls, too?”

Question:  “What are your goals in life?”

Answer:  “To meet “Batman” in person, attend the hollering contest at “Spivey’s Corner,” see “Rock City,” and appear on “The Jerry Springer Show.”

Question:  “It has been said of you that your fame has swelled your head.”

Answer:  “Not true. I still wear the same CAT DIESEL” cap that I wore when I observed the graphics in the girl’s bathroom.  The protruding belly?  Now, that’s another story.”

Question:  “What advice would you give to your fans?”

Answer:  Take Notes,” from the writings in the girl’s bathroom.  Apply “Slop Jar Deodorant” before leaving home.  Never drink your Budweiser” from a glass.  Don’t  ‘hiccup’ while chewing your Levi Garrett” tobacco.  Watch “Judge Judy,”  every day.  And most importantly; Send It In’  to “Publishers Clearing House.”

Question:  “If you could live your youth over again, what would you do differently?”

Answer:  “I would sneak into the Girl’s bathroom first.”

*************

“You have just witnessed an interview with the famous author and notable artist, Demijon: who has recently acquired acclaim as the creator of “Slop-Jar” beauty products.”

“For more information about these astounding products call, “1-800 SLOP:  That’s, 1-800 SLOP.”  “Have your Credit Card ready,” and  “CALL NOW!”

“This would be Barbra Witherspoon, coming to you ‘live’ and ‘direct,’ from the studios of W.W.D.J.” (F. M.):  621 on your dial.”  “Stay tuned for “Morbid Music of the Air.”  “Good night.”

Just think:  Reading ‘Drivel’ such as this, makes you appreciate the ‘Tabloids,’ found in the racks at your favorite Grocery Store.      Dj.

My Image

As each day passes I am finding it harder and harder to maintain the image that I once projected.  When I was discharged from the Paratroops; I proudly possessed a 6 ft. – 2 in. - 185 lb. rock-solid,  body with a 27 inch waistline.

This was a result of regular exercise; good, (but not necessarily tasty), food; and more or less regular hours. It was somewhat pleasant to walk on the beach and to think that all of the young ladies were casting glances at me behind their dark glasses.

Years have a habit of slipping by all too fast and with them, went a portion of my image.  Each year brought a little more expanse to the trim waistline and weight was inching-up beyond the 200 lb. mark.  I reasoned that this was a result of better tasting food, and that I could bring my physique back in line at any time that I chose.

This minor detail did not hinder me from soliciting stares as I walked the beach, holding in my stomach with shallow breathing.  Although this was sometimes difficult, at least my image was being preserved.

With each passing year, it became more strenuous to hold my breath in order to keep the waistline in the vicinity of the original 27 inches.  The once taut muscles did not readily respond to the strain demanded of them.

I had also noticed that every weight scale that I stepped upon was either faulty, or in need of adjustment.  The makers of trousers were desperately trying to cut costs by making their products smaller.

More time passed and I began to notice that holding my breath would not suffice to bring my waistline back into the acceptable dimensions.  In addition, my skin had begun to show signs of being somewhat less tight and was tending to droop in places.

The final straw was dropped one day as I strolled down the beach, hoping to glean a few admiring looks from the assembled members of the opposite sex.  As I strolled, a young lady approached me and said: “Mister:  Your face is awfully red, and you are going to burst a blood vessel, if you don’t let your breath out.”

Today I keep my 280 lb.44 inch, waistline in a lounge chair and usually have it covered with a towel.  I still receive a few looks; but now they seem to be looks of sympathy.

Now, how’s that for IMAGE?

Demijon

If a Piano Player is a Pianist?  Is a Race Car Driver a Racist?     Dj.

MULES.

“GEE & HAW”

Have you ever wondered just how one trains a mule to respond to directions?

Training or Breaking a mule is done in the following sequence.  A bridle is a harness that fits over the mule’s head with an iron Bit’ placed in the mouth.  The bit has rings on either side to which leather or rope plow lines are attached.

The lines are run through rings attached to the ‘harness’ that is fitted onto the Collar around the mules neck.  The lines then go to the handles on either side of the plow

Trace chains are hooked to the ‘harness’ at the collar, and travel through hooks on the back-band; over the center of the animals back, and then hooked onto the singletree that is attached to the front of the plow.

To guide the mule in the proper direction, the farmer or trainer’ pulls on the right line and yells GEE!- or HAW!  After repeated moves such as this, the mule begins to realize that GEE means move to the right. To move to the left, the left line is pulled and the yell is HAW.

After repeated tugs on either line at the same time GEE or HAW is yelled, the mule eventually learns to move either left or right on command. Depending on the particular animal, this training could take only a matter of hours or even days and weeks.

In isolated instances, this training could amount to naught since there were a few animals that were so danged mule-headed’   that they never learned.

I remember a neighbor once purchased a young mule that had never been broken.  He worked for weeks to train the mule to plow without success.  He finally asked my father to help him to break the animal.

Together, they hitched the mule to a jog-stock in an open field.  Regardless of their attempts, the training was fruitless until my father walked over to a nearby woods and cut a small sapling tree about eight feet long.

With the neighbor holding onto the plow and lines; he got the mule walking in a straight line.  When he yelled GEE, my dad hit the mule behind the ear with all of his strength.  The same thing occurred when HAW was yelled.

It took several licks with the sapling before the mule would literally JUMP to the right or left, with only a mere whisper of gee or haw.

Mules, like some humans, learn fast while others take a while longer; but eventually all do learn.

Demijon

Anyone questioning these methods will prompt the response; “Y’all aint from around here?”   “Are y’all?”     Dj