Somp’in be’s Wrong

Hit were early Spring; one day; when Susie Mae were hoeing-out the yard. She commenced complaining bout her hands hurting when she hoed the garden too. I told her that she ort to go see the doctor bout them cause; we couldn’t afford fer her to be out of commission. ‘Her bein’ one of the best hoers in the county; an’ all.’

She finally ‘cided to go, and when she come back she said the doctor told her she had Corporal Turnal or sumpin’. I told her that it looked like to me that she could of at least had got Sergeant or Lieutenant; or maybe even Captain, cause that would be more in keeping with folks of our stature.

He told Susie Mae that she ort to go to the hospital and have her hands operated on. She just bout got on her high horse when he said that, cause she always has been kind of squimish bout bein’ sliced on. I told her she mought as well go on with hit since I wanted her to be in good shape come cotton choppin’ time, so she finally made up her head to do hit.

Well’sr, we got everything fixed fer her to go, and we driv up to the hospital in the truck. No sooner than we got there this dude come running outten a little house side of the front door and says to me, “Y’all can’t park that thing there.” Susie Mae flew mad and says to him, “I reckon we’ll pay enough fore we’s through here to park anywheres we want to, so there, Mr. Smarty Pants.”

Well, I finally moved the truck off to a field that they had covered up with cement, and me and Susie Mae went in. They was a gal settin behint a table with a stack of papers in front of her, and Susie Mae said to her, “I’s come to git my hands fixed.” That gal looked sort of funny and said, “Who sent you?” Susie Mae kind of frowned and said, “Ain’t nobody sent me, Jay Henry driv me in the truck.” I knew right off; that them two was not gonna hit it off, so I told that gal that the doctor was spectin’ we’uns and she taken us off to a little room where you sign up fer the hospital. The woman what was signing us up ast Susie Mae who was gonna pay fer all this, and I stepped in and told her that my Onsurance had better pay fer hit or I’d quit payin my dollar ever week.

Aigh-doggies, we got through signin up and they took Susie Mae back to a room and told her to take off her frock. You ort to of seen Susie Mae’s face when they said that. She said, “Why’s I got to take my frock off when all I want is my hands fixed.” They made her do hit, anyhow, and she come out of that room with a real short gown on. She were havin one more time tryin to hold that thing together in the back. Then they made her lay down on a table what had wheels on hit and they pushed her off to the ‘Hand Fixin’ room, wherever that was. They told me to wait, and I set down and started lookin at a old Sears’ catalog. I had just got through the page about the women’s teddys when the doctor come in.

He called me over in the corner and told me that he had done only one hand this time cause he didn’t want to fix her so’e she couldn’t do nothing. I told him thankee for that, cause she had a lot of stove wood to tote in and the washin’ to do. He said to not let her lift too much, and I told him that I had a light axe that I’d let her use so’s not to hurt herself. When they rolled her back in that waiting room, she was pure tee taking on bout how bad her hand hurt, and I told one of them nurses to bring her a asprin. She said, “Oh, no, she had sompin back there.” Well, I kinda figured that with Susie Mae bein hefty and all, another one wont gonna hurt none, but I cided to wait til we got home and give her one.

When we got back to the house, Susie Mae flew into one handed cooking, and I knew that all she was doin was messing up all the dishes she could just so’s I’d have to wash them. I never seen so much strawing and begomming in my lifetime, and I finally had to make her go to the front room and set down. Atter I got things kinda straitened up, I went in there and purely laid down the law to her. I told her that when the doctor done her other hand, I was gonna go off somewheres and wont gonna come back til she had done got well.

Well’sr; that scared her so bad that she ain’t never uttered a sound ‘bout her other hand a’hurtin.’ “I wish they wus some way I cud uv’ taken out a ‘PATENT’ on that-thare statement. If I cud have bottled them-thare quiet spells; they wud have been ‘sponsible fer me to be jus’ rollin’ in money” frum rat now on.

Jay Henry

As best we could.

I suppose that our youngest son has forgiven us for being so poor when he was a child. Although he experienced many traumatic incidents, it is apparent that he suffered no ill effects from a childhood set apart as a result of semi-poverty. In fact, he seemed to enjoy the time spent in the basement of the church trying to “BORROW MONEY from the MICE.” In essence, his world revolved around the word “NO”!

He became accustomed to awakening and removing the pillow, under which he had carefully placed the tooth, and finding in its stead, the note which read: “I’LL PAY YOU WHEN MY CHECK COMES.”

Perhaps an early youth, devoid of material possessions, had much to do with his decision to become a Minister. Since he had first-hand knowledge of the insecurity of seasoned ‘HAVE-NOTS’, he felt he would be better equipped to relate to others who had been dealt a losing hand by fate. Whatever the reasons, he appears content with a life of service as a Pastor to a congregation of believers.

If there were any thoughts of envy during his childhood, they were long ago abandoned in his search for better insight into the true meaning of life. Dealing with inequities in the lives of others on a day-to-day basis somehow promotes the feeling of accomplishment within himself that his choice of profession is not in vain. If he can demonstrate that there is more to life than riches and fame, his efforts will be justified.

By attuning his ministry toward youth, he attempts to teach by example, that an optimistic outlook on life is a must. In general; a sincere desire to make a difference” is what it’s all about. His thoughts of deprivation during his childhood did much to prepare him to identify with members of his flock on a “BEEN THERE-DONE THAT” basis.

Has he forgiven? Perhaps: Has he forgotten? I sometimes wonder. I also wonder if he still has those notes from the Tooth Fairy’ filed away among his important papers.

Hopefully he will not one day; demand an accounting. With the accumulated interest, this could be catastrophic for retirees on a fixed income to say the least. Our only choice would be to issue another note stating….

“We’ll pay you when we get our check.” Okay?

Mom and Dad


I’m sure there are some who, when hearing the above word, will picture in their minds; a couple of rough-necks engaged in contest; or a round of ‘fist-i-cuffs.’ This is not necessarily true if the person speaking is the descendant of a society raised in the deep South.

By combining; adding or subtracting letters or punctuation, the same word takes on an altogether different meaning….

For instance; beginning with an apostrophe, it becomes a statement: “It’s ’bout time you got off your sorry butt an’ did what I asked you to.” Add another word, a letter, along with a hyphen, and it can mean a direction; “Where-bouts were you going when I seen you yesterday?” By changing the first word, another inquiry is raised; “Y’all ain’t from around ‘here-bouts;’ is y’all?” Expand this inquiry with; “Where-bouts is y’all from?”

If one needs to answer another question without being precise, all that is necessary is; “It’s ’bout supper time. Has y’all ET yet?” Then; there are times when a stranger, (usually from New Juzy), will ask for directions to a neighbors home and a local good-old-boy will reply; “They lives over yonder,(pointing); and hit’s ’bout ‘four mile’ from here to they place.”

Of course, at least, one ‘New Juzzieite’ will attempt to correct our assertion of ‘four mile,’ and we will clarify by saying; “Hits a right fur piece, as th’ Crow flies.”

The main reason we see the need of an explanation for the differences in our vocabulary; is simply that eventually; some folks, (usually from New Juzzie), will attempt to carry on a conversation with some of our local citizens. We will be derelict in our duties if we did not prevent their embarrassment when they will surely ask,



Man’s best Friend

I have heard all I wish to hear about the fact that man’s best friend is his dog. I have not believed in this statement since 1977; when a poodle was adopted by My Roommate and I.

“Petey” set out immediately to prove to us that he was king of the hill. It only took one sad look from those black eyes and a whine that was more like a cry, and whatever it was that he sought was forthcoming without question.

Perhaps this was instinct, but I suspect that he knew from the start that he had two gullible softies in his grasp and was determined to take full advantage of this fact. Why else would he demand so much from us?

If everything went his way, he would cuddle at our feet with an aloofness that defied us to even change positions. If our schedules changed for any notable time, he would go into the old ‘feel sorry for me’ routine, knowing full well that we would relent and give him his way.

“Feed Petey!” “Take Petey for a walk!” “Find Petey’s sweater/toy!” was practically the extent of our communication during those years. To say that we owned him was a misnomer. “He owned us, lock, stock and flea collar.”

When Petey passed on to that great land of fire hydrants and milk bones in the sky; I was determined never to be subjected to the domination of another animal.

Instead, I took refuge in a more unsophisticated plaything, a Pickup Truck.

Gone were the days when I must first decipher the mood of my companion before I was able to enjoy a casual jaunt through the countryside. I simply approached the vehicle without fear of being bitten: Turned the key, and it responded with a mighty roar of power and did exactly what I wanted it to do.

As long as I occasionally filled its fuel tank, checked its oil; (at least twice a year), and washed it (once a year); it did my bidding. It did not whine. It was not jealous. Its headlights did not take on the look of a whipped dog; (pun intended).

It did not pee on the floor, nor require to be taken for walks on cold, winter nights. It was content to sit quietly in the driveway until such time as I had need of it.

Alas; my vehicle eventually departed for that huge “JUNKYARD in the SKY” many years ago and I still miss it. But for those ensuing years, I managed to survive by relying on the memories of my faithful companion and “BEST FRIEND:” my pickup truck. Mama, on the other hand; dealt with her loss; by Shopping the Internet. She swore that Bill Gates was a distant relative; “Once Removed.


Several years had passed since we had resolved never to let an animal completely dominate our lives when my Partner’s hairdresser mentioned a silver, miniature, poodle that was in need of a good home. Needless to say; “ALONG CAME BEAR.”

Bear immediately ascertained that his Humans were an easy target for his wiles. In the course of a couple of weeks, he had us wrapped around his paws. Whenever he desired anything, he stood at attention before either of his Humans with his stubby tail wagging and his black eyes glistening, No request is ever denied him. Again; communication amounted to… “Feed Bear;” “Brush Bear’s coat;” “Scratch Bear’s belly.” And on and on it goes.

It is truly a shame that, once again; our entire lives revolved around what an sixteen pound ball of soft, wavy, fur wanted. ‘What fools we mortals be?’ Although my Pick-Up answered my needs for quiet a few years later; It was never the same. strong>It’s paint was dulled; it’s headlights were dim; it’s tires were slick; and it coughed and rattled. Realization finally occurred to me, about that time: It was entirely possible that jealousy was responsible for my Pick-Ups untimely loss of ‘Horsepower.’

A Framed Photograph of my friend, now hangs on the wall alongside the shelf that supports “The Bear’s remains.”


Whoever coined the phrase “Dumb Animals,” and/or “Just a Truck;” had never met either Petey, Bear, or “My Friend. the Pick-Up. Dj.

“You just wait.”

“Just wait ’til your Daddy comes home!”

What child has not, at one time or another, heard those immortal words? To be left quaking in their shoes for some infraction; awaiting ‘a trip to the woodshed’ and punishment worse than death; that would surely come upon the arrival of “the executioner.” In many cases, the waiting caused more pain than the actual castigation.

These words were more prevalent; in days past, than in our modern generation. Parents of the olden days were expected, nay; required, to administer enough discipline to thwart any attempts by the child to ‘run wild.’

Of course, there were rare instances when this reproof was carried too far and resulted in the opposite teachings; but these situations were few and far between.

What usually occurred was a short visit to the woodshed, accompanied by a paddle or a hickory; administered on the tender flesh of the perpetrator. Enough deviation in the exact method to be used was such to cause the waiting and wondering, to be a sufficient deterrent for the transgression.

It was years later, when I learned that the suspense related to, “Wait’ll your daddy gets home:” was an important part of the punishment. If nothing more than a stern rebuff transpired during the trip to the woodshed, the anticipation of what could have happened was enough to discourage further offenses.

The services of a child psychologist as a means of rehabilitating a damaged ego that; was caused by the promise of punishment when daddy gets home, was rare indeed. Children accepted the fact that when they broke the rules, they paid the penalty.

I certainly do not advocate abuse of children; however, it is my belief that they ‘want,’ and ‘expect’ to be taught right from wrong. If this teaching involves an occasional trip to the woodshed, so be it. The pain from an infrequent paddling will not last as long as a jail sentence.

Our two children undoubtedly experienced their share of these promises as well as the sting of firm ‘hand-contact’ with their rear ends with no permanent damage.

The compensation for our attempts to lead them in the right direction has come in the form of their statements to us on more than one occasion when they observed an unruly child, i.e. “You and Mom taught us better than that.”

Perhaps “Wait’ll your daddy gets home,” did a lot to prepare them to become the successful, well-adjusted, adults that Mom & Dad are so damned proud of.


In most cases; the “SPANK-ER” suffered as much, or more, than the “SPANK-EE.” Dj.


I guess that it is true that one never gets too old to learn, but it is also true that learning is somewhat harder in the later years. The art of retaining what we do learn is fading faster than polyester leisure suits. If someone relates a startling new approach to an old problem and fails to write it down for me, it simply is forgotten within minutes.

I certainly hope that I am not the only one to suffer from this malady. Perhaps I can atone by blaming it on advanced years. Write it down; I keep telling myself, but before I can find a pencil, I have forgotten what it was that I was supposed to write.

Yes, the years have not been kind to my once sharp as a tack mind. What I could readily absorb, remember and re-tell, now stops at the absorbing stage. It never ventures any deeper into my consciousness.

This is troubling but it is true. Notes on the table, desk, refrigerator and mirrors will quickly bear this out. In fact “Post-it” has considered putting me on their payroll; as a sales consultant.

I even have tried to remember names by rhyming them with parts of the body. For instance, I was once introduced to a lady by the name of MS. HAIG. “That’s easy, rhymes with leg,” I thought. Imagine my dismay when upon leaving I said to her, “It was nice to have met you, Ms. MUTT.”

This incident brought to mind another affliction that affects those of us who are two years older than dirt. That is; that it takes longer for us to heal from an injury. In fact; after the above incident, the swelling in my face lasted about three weeks and the black around my eyes lasted even longer. I still walk with a slight limp.

Why can’t some smart scientist come up with a pill to solve these dilemmas? I am sure that he could realize a modest profit within four blocks of my house as there seems to be scads of people around here that are similarly afflicted.

Our only salvation, as I see it, is to carry with us at all times a pencil and notebook. When someone says hello, write it down. When they say how are you, write it down. Then at the end of the conversation, read all that you have written and you will have a vague idea about what was discussed.

Just remember though, lesson number one is to ‘mumble to yourself and wander off;’ BEFORE you have to let them know that you don’t remember their name. Consider their words of senility and dotage as attributes to your thoughtfulness for writing down everything that they said.

“Let’s see now, how should I sign this? Where did I put my note pad?”


If you are similarly afflicted; it would be wise NOT to attempt to explain the meaning of the word “CATTYWUMPUS.” Dj.

The “SPY”

The year was 1942. Our country was at War with Germany and the Empire of Japan. Our Army saw fit to train combat soldiers in the rugged fields and woodlands of North and South Carolina. Maneuvers were conducted in and around the home place of an eleven year old boy.

Here was live adventure that he had only witnessed in the scores of comic books that he had managed to accumulate by rushing to the newsstand at the corner drugstore and spending the grand total of ten cents for each one. In the days before children were given an allowance, these coins were hard to come by.

Saving the tin foil from discarded cigarette packages and/or collecting scrap metal for the war effort were the only means of pocket change available to a youngster during the hard times just after The Great Depression.

The boy stood in awe of the many convoys of jeeps, trucks and gun emplacements, during the mock battles of the “Blue” and “Red” Army’s and trembled at the rat-a-tat of the machine guns, firing their blank cartridges.

During a calm between the battles, he would ride his bicycle to a campsite and marvel at the pup tents, the camp kitchens, the stacked rifles, and the soldiers, busy with the cleaning of their equipment. Most of them were very friendly and talked to him about their struggles to defeat the enemy.

Since they were not allowed to leave the camping area, One particular Soldier asked if he would ride his bicycle to the nearby store and get him a package of cigarettes. He readily agreed; and the G.I. gave him $1.00. Pedaling as fast as he could he returned with a package of “Wings cigarettes and .85 cents in change.” The soldier told him to keep the change. (Incidentally; the boy and this G.I. exchanged Christmas cards for many years thereafter.)

The light bulb above the boy’s head lit, and he rushed home to scrounge a wooden box to which he fashioned two horseshoes to fit over the handlebars of his bike. Clutching the .85 cents, he went to the store and bought six more packages of Wings cigarettes. He still had .10 cents left from the $1.00. (Mr. Watson forgave the sales-tax for ‘the young entrepreneur).’

He went back to the campsite and asked if anyone wanted to buy a package of cigarettes. It was only a matter of minutes until he had sold all of them for much more than he had paid for them.

With the extra money he made another trip to the store and re-stocked his box with more cigarettes and candy bars. The soldiers were happy to get these treats and everyone gave him a tip, amounting to quite a bit more than he had spent.

He made daily trips to the campsites with goods that were not offered from the Army and his “nest egg” increased substantially. The soldiers began to look forward to his visits, and all of them re-reimbursed him well; for his willingness to shuttle to and from the store.

The boy’s Daddy had a haystack at the edge of one field, and the boy decided that he would help his “buddy’s;” the soldiers, who had been so kind to him. He climbed atop the haystack to look for the opposing aggressors in order to alert his friends of the oncoming enemy. He had no idea that if these operations had been conducted during a real war; “He could have been shot for a SPY.”

Too soon; the maneuvers ended and his friends departed for their base camp. Many of them thanked him for running the errands that they were not allowed to do and for providing them with snacks and smokes. A few even shook his hand and left a couple of crumpled one dollar bills in his hand. Their appreciation for his efforts was evident when he clutched the bills and coins in the pocket of his overalls.

This was the first enterprise that the boy attempted with his bicycle and he would never forget the generosity of the soldiers for the eleven year old, whose only possession was a battered bike with a wooden box attached to the handlebars, via horse shoes.

These memories are still vivid simply because, “I was that boy.” Dj.


Correct me if I’m Wrong.

Lately I have experienced difficulty in understanding some of the terms that are employed by today’s “with it” generation. Perhaps there are plausible explanations for this, since they have no desire to appeal to someone who could be considered “over the hill.” Examples of the confusion which these words and terms cause me, follows along with my own interpretation.

LONG DISTANCE CARRIER: The person whom you send to return the borrowed milk bucket to your grandmother who lives eight miles away.

SWEEPSTAKES: Branches from a dogwood tree that are tied together for the purpose of ridding the yard of debris.

ADDER: In addition to being a type of snake, this word can have two meanings. A. “You younguns can’t go play until adder you git yo’ lessons.” B. “Mr. Jones, I’ll pay my grocery bill if you’ll adder up.”

HARD CORE: “If you don’t watch out, you’ll break a tooth on the hard core of that pear.”

UNCALLED FOR: “Mazie put on her new dress and fixed up for her date and set there in the swing for two hours, uncalled for.”

BENIGN: “That happened last year ’cause Jethro was eight an’ he’ll benign next month.”

HEAD FOR THE MOUNTAINS: What all us flatlanders do when we take a vacation in the middle of the summer.

BYTES: What we get all over our bodies from them red-bugs when the blackberries get ripe.

SOFTWARE: “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times not to put “starch in my drawers.”

HARD DRIVE: “From here to Kannapolis is a hard drive in a model A. It takes most of the day.”

RAP: Instead of a type of music accompanied by a loud thump-thump beat, ‘Rap’ is what you got over the head “if you didn’t git yo’ lessons.”

Since I am definitely not considered “cool,” my only alternative is to consider that today’s youth simply “ain’t had no raising;” and strive to alleviate the inaccuracies which dominate the speech patterns of today’s society.

Reward for my diligent efforts would be to hear one young person say:…,

“ADDER” a “HARD DRIVE” up there to Waxhaw; I jus’ want to take a bath, change my SOFTWARE, put some Calamine lotion on them ‘skeeter BYTES and HEAD FOR THE MOUNTAINS. Since Jethro’ll BENIGN soon, how come he can’t use th’ SWEEPSTAKES? Mazie; she’s been “UNCALLED FOR,” so she can be the “LONG DISTANCE CARRIER.” If she objects, jus’ “RAP” her over th’ head. Besides, I jus’ got the “HARD CORE” of that crab-apple stuck in my “wind-pipe.”

It’s obvious that I expect no more from others than I, myself, am willing to give. After all…. “It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.”



The tin roof of the barn has long since faded from the original bright red to a dull orange, but the huge letters are still visible for miles.

This form of advertising was popular in the years before television became an effective mode of publicizing. In addition to promoting the attraction, this method of announcing the unusual rock formation atop Lookout Mountain, Tenn. also provided a source of income for the Farmer who leased his barn roof for this purpose.

These practical billboards were prevalent in the ‘1940’s-1950’s’ and were not limited to the touting of Rock City alone. They appeared adjacent to major highways throughout the South and expounded on the distinctive characteristic of each tourist attraction.

Barn roof signs such as “See Rock City;” “See Silver Springs through glass bottomed boats;” “See Chimney Rock,” and of course, “DON;T MISS “BO’S ALLIGATOR FARM;” – 7 MILES: were scattered throughout Southeastern, U.S.A. and were as much a part of travel as other smaller signs denoting Clean Rest Rooms, and Burma Shave rhymes. No one would dare return from a vacation without at least one bumper sticker attesting to the fact that they had toured one of these natural wonders.

It was not unusual for families to plan an entire vacation around one of these attractions, and if their financial status was such that they could afford to spend a few dollars more, would even stay overnight at Ma Haley’s Tourist Cabins – 3 miles.

The extolling of these Natural Wonders were directed primarily at the inhabitants of the rural communities who had neither means nor inclination to tour strange lands and would instead opt for the unusual that was easily accessible within a short distance.

As a general rule, a trip to one or more of these attractions could provide conversation for months afterward.


Billy Bob: “Where’d y’all go on yo’ vacation?”

Bubba: “We went up thar an’ seen Rock City.”

Billy Bob: “I’ve not never saw Rock City, but I went ta’ Chimbley Rock oncet.”

Bubba: “I seen that thar bumper sticker on yo’ A-Model.”


Sign on Veterinarians door: “BE RIGHT BACK:” “SIT.” “STAY.” Dj.

Affluence vs Status

A fine line separates the two. It is rare to find one who possesses both. Such is the case with my friend R.T. Blake. R.T. was born, the middle son of sharecroppers, when the country was emerging from the great depression of the early 1930’s.

Poverty was a way of life for the Blake family for all of R.T.’s childhood years. Unlike many of his family and friends, R.T. never accepted this and from early youth became determined to remedy a bad situation.

With hardly any formal schooling, he nevertheless gained an uncanny knowledge for mathematics. His ability to calculate complex problems soon was known far and wide.

Although his expertise was in the field of math, his wishes were to be assured that others did not suffer the hunger pangs which he had endured for much of his life. At 14 he became the youngest short order cook in the history of Layton County, South Carolina.

The Pit Stop, where he plied his chosen trade was the talk of the town and soon was known throughout the state for his delicious concoction called The R.T. Dog.

For three years he combined the secret ingredients which had made the hot dogs famous and had propelled The PIT STOP into the forefront as THE place to eat. Even though he was somewhat of a celebrity, he still maintained close family ties and much of his meager earnings went toward a better life for them.

At 17 he opened his own hot dog stand in an abandoned corner building facing the courthouse. With hardly room enough for his bought on time equipment and a counter with several stools, he began what would one day become a multimillion dollar chain of R.T. DOGS & FIX’INS,

His success did nothing to dramatically change R.T. He still spent most of his time in assuring that his hot dogs were of the finest quality and his fame did not deter his goal of providing the Best for the Least.

Proof of his measure of success and status were offered at a gathering of the Sons of Rest club at the barbershop. Overheard were the remarks…

“Have y’all heard that old R.T. has become affluent?”

“I don’t care what his religion is, he still makes the best dang hot dogs in the whole state. And besides, he’s still just a good old boy.”


Only a Southerner knows that “fixin” can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.