Father’s Day/Story Swap

Last Monday’s McClay Story Swap was full of sharing and connections, everyone participated in stories and schmoozing, so much in common, as stories often show us.  I put off writing about the Swap, which means Father’s Day has also entered my stream of consciousness . . . my father led me to stories, as Michael has done for his daughter Linda, so I’m going to write about both.

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Mike and Linda reported fun, if wet, storytelling at Renaissance Faire, an opportunity that began when Maria Romine Kantor hired me to tell at St. Charles Christmas Traditions.  I had connected with them one weekend at the Santa Parade and began by helping with crafts in the Depot.  Years after, Maria invited me to audition for Faire when she wanted to move on to her wonderful Swords and Roses productions.  Now Flavia organizes the Gateway Storytellers at Faire, and so it continues.

Linda Bennett told of her band teacher asking for a performance of the piece with which she won State . . . at the last minute, with the wrong instrument, and without her music — and she did it despite those obstacles!!

Michael Bennett shared a story of an outdoor concert broken up by a bear, which sauntered in to eat every sausage on the grill.  No musicians were harmed in either story . . . but these stories prove it takes courage to play the tuba!

Jennifer Bennett told a story of her grandparents’ courtship . . . he fell for the sweet and courageous single mother when he saw how she was with her child.

Courtship stories are wonderful.  It reminded me of a story my neighbor’s now departed mother told at Java G’s, of sending all her girl cousins off on a camping trip so she could have a clear field for attracting the man they all liked — long and happy marriage was the result.

Jeannette Seamon told name stories, long beautiful flower names, and (long Chinese name) first son has fallen in the well.  We talked about the difficulty of memorizing long works, and I remembered Jeff Miller’s advice to learn poems from the last stanza backward to the first, to allow for a stronger finish.  I vaguely remember a (Japanese?) story of a father mouse wanting to name his child after (marry his child to?) the greatest thing in the world — one of those circular stories like the stonecutter on the mountain that leads back to the beginning . . . I can’t find it now — anyone? (See below for Roger’s answer*)

Jeannette also brought a books of Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, which I had read so long ago and have enjoyed again . . . and will take to the next swap for the Bennetts to enjoy.

My own telling began with unplanned earthiness . . . A comment reminded me of Utah Phillip’s story of cooking for a railroad crew . . .  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zb1qsVqjwg&list=LLQ9fK5KQS4WdeOdVuyPIdXQ&index=6

Mike helpfully explained the difference between deer and moose scat, which led to a discussion of practical jokes one can play with chocolate covered raisins . . . and to Doug Elliot’s Scat song . . .  Couldn’t find that on YouTube, but this is even better   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PeJFbC-_KI  and another https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_b9MVR6k9o

I also told “The Farmer’s Fun-Loving Daughter” aka “Filling the House” and our friend Tony played the flute for it . . .

Here’s a link to Kathryn Tucker Windham, which popped up while searching, and will serve to elevate the tone of this post and remember a good woman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3CVpuj-Fgk&index=3&list=LLQ9fK5KQS4WdeOdVuyPIdXQ

 

Father’s Day Musings

He was Daddy when I was little and then Dad . . . and on his stories, “Daddy John” for the bedtime stories and “Uncle John” for the tall tales in dialect.  His stories were a gift — and an even bigger gift, he believed in us . . .   When I came home from kindergarten and announced I wanted to be a teacher, Dad explained that college was expensive and “Daddy’s a working man” so I’d need good grades for a scholarship . . . and I listened. ❤

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Father stories everywhere! Barra’s blog reminded me of my dad’s workbench in the basement.  I used to love to visit the shop class at FHN because the smell of sawdust took me back.  I just watched Gnomeo & Juliet, with a loving but over-protective father.  Great fun, with so many stars in the cast and such cleverness — if I were still teaching Shakespeare, I’d find a way to use it in class, maybe a “catch the allusion” quiz . . . and yes, a much happier ending. ❤

 

I’ll share two of Dad’s “Uncle John” stories.  We kids  were allowed to keep a variety of pets, birds, mice, snakes, hamsters, but never a pig . . .

(BTW, dialect is hard to write consistently).

Nuff’s Pet Pig  by Uncle John Fussner  collected by Mary Garrett

One day little ‘Nuff were out in the woods, jest loafin’ an’ lookin’ and listenin’, not to larn ’bout nature but to hide from Grandma.  Well sir, he heard a pig squeal, and lookin’ ’round he spotted a skinny little razorback pig.  He slipped up an’ caught that thar squealin’ pig, tucked hit under his arm, an’ scooted home.

Grandpa was out back cleanin’ the barn when ‘Nuff fetched the pig to him.  Showin’ Grandpa the pig, he allowed as how he’d like to keep him fer to make a pet.  Grandpa took one good look at that thar pig and busted out haw-hawin’ so as to ‘most shake the mountains.  Grandma were gatherin’ eggs nearby an’ come runnin’ to see what were so funny.

Grandpa haw-hawed some more and said, “Look at that poor critter — body like a sausage, legs lookin’ like broomsticks, his head is longer’n his body, and his hind end is so poorly made that iffen he’d pick up an apple in that long mouth of his’n, his tail would point straight up.”

Lookin’ at little ‘Nuff he said, “Well, son, iffen that sorry little runt is what you be hankerin’ fer to make a pet out of, seein’ as how his ears hain’t notched nor marked,  I recken hit be righful fer to keep him.”

A couple of weeks later Grandpa were out near the edge of the woods when he spotted the pig’s hind end stickin’ out’n a hole.  Grandpa give the tail a couple of quick yanks sayin’, “Pig, how long you been rootin’ in that thar hole?’

“Week, week,” answered the pig.

“No wonder you’re so skinny,” laughed Grandpa.  “Been rootin’ thar a week an’ hain’t found nothin’ to eat yet?”

 

Hogs Vs. Swine   by Uncle John Fussner  collected by Mary Garrett

One day little ‘Nuff’s pet pig took bad sick.  Grandpa and Grandma tried fer mor’n a week to make him well, but it done no good.  Grandpa be jawin’ with the professor in town one day, tellin’ him ’bout ‘Nuff’s pet pig bein’ under the weather.  The professor went back to the farm with Grandpa to have a look see.  He worked on that thar pig fer mor’n an hour an’ kept callin’ hit a swine.

He finished up and said to ‘Nuff, “Son, take good care of that swine fer a day or two and he will be fine.”

Nuff turned to Grandpa and saked, “Pa, whyfor does he call my pig a swine?”

Grandpa answered by sayin, “Well son, hit’s this way.  Iffin you sit behind a big shiny desk with a lot of book larnin’ in your head, a hog or a pig is swine, but iffin you be feedin’ ’em, wadin’ in the mud, cleanin’ up after ’em, sittin’ up nights when they be ailin’, then they be pigs an’ hogs.

More stories,books, and CDs    More Daddy John stories

*Roger sent the mystery story . . .
At the Festival I heard Motoko tell (as a Japanese story) about a girl mouse and a boy mouse who wanted to get married. She asked her father’s permission but he said — No, a mouse is small and weak. You must marry the strongest person in the world. And that is the Sun. But the Sun declined, saying the cloud could cover the sun and so was stronger than he. The cloud said the wind could blow the cloud away and so was stronger than he. The wind said the wall could stop the wind and so was stronger. And the wall said a mouse could chew a hole in the wall, so the mouse was strongest. So Father Mouse married his daughter to the boy mouse, which was what she had wanted all along.

Motoko contrives to learn the names of a boy and a girl in the class earlier in the program and then introduces the boy and girl mice with those names. Of course, the kids giggle when she says — they wanted to get married! — At which point Motoko says, No, no — it was the mice who wanted to get married. They just happened to have the same names.

Roger

Skeeters

Warm weather, rains, green growing things, frogs singing and — mosquitos!  I am one of those who taste good to skeeters, one reason I mostly enjoy the outside from indoors . . . love the bay window view and listening to the frogs from behind a screen door.

My friend’s blog  http://storytellerscampfire.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/the-truth-about-alaska-mosquitoes/

reminded me of a couple of my dad’s stories . . . take warning and don’t get eaten.

 

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Skeeters He’p Grandpa Clear Land   by “Uncle” John Fussner

Ah recken you be thinkin’ that were a powerful lot of work fer one man in such a short span o’ time.  Ah gotta hadmit it were, but you see, he had some hep.  ‘Twere a strange sorta he’p, hit were.

When the warm weather hit, hyar come the dad-blamed skeeters.     Big, powerful critters they be!  Well sir, long ’bout sundown, Grandpa would carry a big ole blacksmith hammer down to the woods whar he be clearin’ land.

“Now, how you gonna clear land with a hammer?” you ask.

Grandpa had hit all figgered out, he did.  He stood ‘side a likely-lookin’ tree he wanted moved, and waited fer a skeeter to buzz up.  That old skeeter ‘twould smell Grandpa, take aim, and hyar he come.  Jest afore he got to him, Grandpa ducked behind the tree.  That skeeter ran his beak right through that thar tree, and Grandpa would take his hammer, and with one mighty swing, he clenched that thar skeeter’s bill.  Wharupon the skeeter ‘twould take off, tree an’ all, mostly toward whar Grandpa was buildin’.  ‘Bout time them skeeters got to the cabin, they’d be plumb tuckered out.  Down they’d come, skeeter meat fer hogs and dogs, and logs fer buildin’ an’ burnin’.

 

Skeeters Ate Grandpa’s Cow  by “Uncle” John Fussner

Grandpa made good use of the skeeters clearin’ land, but as always, hit sort of back-fired on him.  One mornin’ he went out to do the chores an’ Old Bessie the cow war gone, and so was the calf.  After a light breakfast of a half-pound slice of home-cured ham, a half dozen cackle berries, followed by a goodly stack of hot cakes, and washed down with a couple of big mugs of coffee, he allowed as how he’d best be goin’ to fetch old Bessie home.

About the time the sun was noon high, Grandpa came up through the pasture, leadin’ the calf.  Grandma went out to meet him, asking, “Whar be Old Bessie?”

Grandpa said in a sorrowful voice, “Old Bessie hain’t with us no more.  She strayed over to Moonshine Cave, up Skunk Holler, and them dat blamed skeeters done ate her up.  Hain’t nothin’ left of Old Bessie but a pile of bones.  This yare calf got fur ’nuff back inter the cave to whar hit were a leetle tight fer them thar skeeters, or they likely would of got to her, too.”

Well sir, that left Grandpa ‘thout a cow.  He and his brother went off to the sale barn to fetch home another one, but seein’ as how neither one had near ’nuff cash to come close to buyin’ one, they put all thar eggs in one basket so to speak, and bought one cow fer the both of ’em.

Grandpa’s brother havin’ put in the bigger share, he ‘lowed as how the rightful thing to do were to let him pick what half be his.  Grandpa was thinkin’ that since a cow has a right side and a left side, with a back bone markin’ whar they be jined, he ‘lowed as how ‘twould be fair ’nuff.

But as often happens when two people look at the same thing, Grandpa’s brother didn’t see right an’ left, but front an’ back halves.  You all’s seen ’nuff cows to know which end is by far the better half.  Well sir, the brother ‘lowed as how he hankered fer the back half.

Grandpa fed and watered his half fer more’n a month, and come sunup or sundown his brother took a pail of milk out’n his half.  One day Grandpa had all of hit he could take.  Instead of feedin’ his half, he killed hit and dressed out the meat.  Well sir, would you believe hit, his brother’s half up and died, too.

More of my dad’s stories at https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/daddy-john-stories/  and https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/category/stories/daddy-john-stories/

 

Under the Chicken House

Sam Meets the Striped Kitty Cat     by “Daddy John” Fussner

 Mary in Dog House 5030

One day in late February the sun was shining bright, and the wind was blowing from the south.  There was a promise of spring in the air.  It was warm for late February.  Several red birds could be seen around Dough Doughy’s house, along with a dozen or so robins.  The sparrows were already thinking of building nests, though it was much too early to start.  About a hundred pigeons were sunning themselves on the south side of the barn roof.  There were dark pigeons, white pigeons, old, young, all colors and ages.

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Way down in the pasture near the woods, a few deer were grazing on the green grass between the patches of snow.  Near the brier patch, old and young male and female rabbits were busy stuffing themselves with tender green grass and the young shoots of plants making an early growth.  Many little field mice were out looking for food, for they were very hungry after the last cold spell.

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Chatty the squirrel lay sunning himself on the big limb of the old oak tree near the creek.  In the creek could be seen little fish looking for food, bigger fish looking for little fish, and the biggest fish looking for all of them.  Tommy Turtle was slowly swimming around, looking for just anything at all to eat.

Turtles and other critters welcome!

Out in the barn, the mice that can always be found in barns were very busy scampering around, looking for stray bits of grain that many have been dropped and keeping an eye open for bits of paper, string, or anything else that would make a warm nest warmer.  Dough Doughy had left the door open so that the warm, fresh air could dry out the barn.

Under the chicken house lived a cute little animal.  She wasn’t very big, and her coat was black except for the white stripes down her back.  She had lived under the chicken house all her life, and she wasn’t afraid of anything in the barnyard.  She would walk under the six big horses much as if their legs were tree trunks.  Dogs worried her not.  They would only try to catch her once.  After that they stayed well away, leaving when she walked near.

She didn’t bother the chickens, except to take an egg once in a while to make her coat shine.  Dough Doughy didn’t mind, for he often fed eggs to his six big horses to make their coats shine.  The only things that tried to get away when she arrived, but didn’t often succeed, were the mice and the very few rats that lived in the barn.  Some of the wiser mice lived in the barn to a ripe old age.  The rats, however, never lasted over a week.   Rats and mice were Petunia’s main food, and with her around, Dough Doughy had few problems.

The warm weather brought Petunia out from her nice dry nest.  She was as hungry as all the other wild citizens of the farm.  She had already eaten everything around the chicken house.  The food Dough Doughy set out for her was filling, but she was a little tired of it; so she was off to the barn.

Petunia hadn’t been to the barn in three weeks; so the mice were playing all over the place.  Petunia entered the open door, stopped, and looked around.  Boy, oh boy!  What a sight for a hungry skunk!  Way, way over near the far end, fully forty feet away, was a big rat, chewing on a bag of feed.  In between Petunia and the rat were about a half dozen mice.

What should she do?  Should she catch a small mouse that she was sure of, or try for the rat, which was forty feet away, but only six feet from his hole in the wall and safety?  What do you think?  Well, sir, almost faster than the eye could follow, Petunia streaked across the forty feet.  Before the rat knew she was coming, it was too late.  Mr. Rat made a fine meal for Petunia.

After a big meal, most animals like to sleep, and Petunia was no different.  She slowly walked out to the chicken house and was soon fast asleep in the sun.  She had been napping for about an hour when she was awakened by a dog barking.  Opening her eyes and springing to her feet, she saw Sam.  He would lunge forward barking loudly and then back off.  He repeated this over and over.  Petunia couldn’t retreat to her den under the chicken house, because Sam was between her and the entrance.

Petunia didn’t want any trouble; so she backed off toward the barn.  Sam kept coming after her, barking every step of the way.  He didn’t know anything about skunks, but he was about to find out.  Petunia reached the barn, still slowly backing away from Sam, when she realized that Sam wasn’t going to stop making a pest of himself.  She turned and ran as fast as she could.  Sam was doing a good job of keeping up with her as they raced across the pasture.

Dough Doughy was out in the pasture rounding up the horses, and he saw Sam chasing Petunia.  “Well, well,” he thought, “Sam is about to learn another lesson the hard way.  He will be a mighty lonely dog before this is over.”

Petunia reached the fence and raced under it and on into the woods, where she holed up in a hollow tree.  The hole was near the ground, but too small for Sam.  Petunia knew she would be safe from harm.  Poor Sam reached the fence and rolled head over tail, unable to stop.  He then had to hunt for a hole under the fence large enough for him to go through.  He soon found the hollow tree where Petunia was holed up.  He barked, he scratched at the hole, and he stuck his head in; he did everything he could to get Petunia.

Soon, enough was enough, and any more was too much.  Petunia turned her tail toward Sam, up went the flag, and out shot the gas, hitting Sam in the face and front.  Sam let out a howl you could hear for a mile or more.  He rolled in the dirt and rubbed his head on the ground, trying to clear his eyes.  After a while, he could see well enough to go home.  Yelping every step of the way, he reached home in record time.

Dough Doughy had waited out by the barn after he drove the horses in.  He listened to Sam as he made his way to the hollow tree.  Dough Doughy knew just what was going on every minute of the time.  When Petunia threw the charge of gas from the glands under her tail,  Dough Doughy heard Sam yelp, and he knew what to do.  Going into the barn, he opened the door in a little cabinet and took out a bottle of medicine for Sam’s eyes.  He then went to the brooder house, where the baby chicks are kept, and filled a big tub with warm water.

  Soon Sam was home, his eyes were taken care of, and he had been given a hot bath, a good drying off, a warm bed in the brooder house, a hot meal, and plenty of time to think about chasing striped kitty cats.  For about a month, no one came near Sam except to bring him his food.

More of Dad’s stories at

https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/category/stories/daddy-john-stories/

Room(s) of Requirement 

We adopted a new name for the spare room formerly named “junk.”  It’s a more positive view of that room and its contents, a reflects a willingness to share.  (more on giving, Wopila)   https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/wopila-a-give-away/

 It has, among other things produced —

Stationery and ink pens for Moriah and Robin for camp and school,

A shoulder bag for Alan Portman’s  new Tablet, (though we had to branch out to the kitchen stash of more recent bags to find one that exactly met his size specifications)

Some fabric, piles of yarn . . .

Books and tapes and much miscellany.

. . .  and currently, if anyone needs AAA batteries,  I seem to have bought too many, so come on over . . .

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 (photo: Mary in the doghouse)

Here’s my dad’s story of a doggie version of that miscellany . . .

Sam the Pup  by “Daddy John” Fussner

Early one morning just as Dough Doughy was sitting down to a nice hot breakfast of hot cakes, bacon, eggs, milk, orange juice, and coffee, he heard a noise at the kitchen door.  Something was whining and scratching, trying to get in!

“What is making that noise?” asked Dough Doughy as he pushed his chair back from the table.  He went over and opened the door, and there stood a small puppy, about ten weeks old.  It was thin, long-legged, big-footed, flop-eared, and crooked-tailed, and its coat looked like it had been made out of left-overs.  Dough Doughy picked up the pup and closed the door.

“Well, well, what do we have here?” asked Dough Doughy.

“I don’t know, but you name it, and you can have it,” laughed his wife.

“Why, madam,” replied Dough Doughy jestingly, “’tis easy to see that he could rightfully have but one name.”

“And what would that noble name be?” asked his loving wife as she placed a small pan of milk on the stove to warm.

“Sam, of course,” answered Dough Doughy.  “It is plain to see that he is a mixture of all breeds, just as the U.S.A. is a mixture of all races of people.  Therefore, I think we ought to name him after our good old Uncle Sam. In looks he seems to have picked up the worst traits of all the breeds, but perhaps he has the best of all the breeds between those two floppy ears of his.”

“Let’s hope he does have a brain,” remarked his wife as she gave Sam a bowl of the warm milk.  “He sure doesn’t have a surplus of good looks.”

Sam was just a pup, no more, no less, a pup that was just there one cold morning.  No one knew or was ever to find out where he came from.  Sam was not a prize-winner for looks when he was a pup, and he didn’t improve any as he grew older.

His feet, though far too big when he was a pup, seemed to be in a race to see which of the four could grow the fastest.  Not to be out-done, his legs seemed to be trying to get as far away from those big feet as they could.  Nobody, but nobody could remember a dog with longer legs.  It was decided that he had the legs of a greyhound, with a few changes.  His feet could only be from the St. Bernard, the large dog of the Alps, which has large feet to help it walk on snow.

His looks surely didn’t improve as your eyes took in the details of his body!  Sam was broad-chested, much like the bull dog.  The length of his body looked as if it was measured for a dachshund, the little sausage dog.  For Sam, it did add a little more space between his long front legs and his longer rear legs, but not nearly enough.  His long rear legs were always trying to pass his front legs.  His front legs acted as if they didn’t even know the back lags, and Sam’s big feet were forever getting all tangled up, tripping him.

Sam’s ears, long when he was small, acted as if they were afraid of being so high off the ground.  The faster Sam’s legs grew, raising Sam higher and higher, the longer his ears grew, reaching in vain for the floor.  Soon they were so long that they would overlap if held together under Sam’s short, fat neck.  While every other part of Sam was running a race, Sam’s neck seemed to stop growing.

Sam’s tail was long, slim, and crooked when he was a pup.  It stayed long, slim, and crooked as he grew.  As for his skin, it looked as if it was a hand-me-down coat.  Take a small three-year-old boy, dress him in his large five-year-old brother’s clothes, and that’s Sam.  No doubt about it, someone in Sam’s family tree was a big, sad-eyed, loose-skinned bloodhound.   Sam’s color, though, was not of that ancestor.  It looked as if Sam’s color came from all of his ancestors at least as far back a Noah’s ark, with a few odd bits picked up from other sources.

It was Sam’s eyes that really were Sam, for the eyes are the windows of the soul.  Sam’s eyes were bright, intelligent, alert, and had a proud, sad look.  Sam’s eyes saw everything, and his brain was a thing of wonder, always alert, always coming up with the right answer, always doing the right thing.  It was only when the body received the command from the brain that things went wrong.  Even the most intelligent, alert brain in the world couldn’t cope with the body poor Sam was stuck with.  For instance, when the brain asked for a burst of speed, Sam’s legs responded like a greyhound’s, but four big feet would trip him, and over and over rolled Sam.

Sam had a normal puppyhood.  He soon learned to bring his master his evening paper, house slippers, and other items.  However, it took Sam a long, long time to learn not to chew on house slippers, newspapers, furniture, and many other items.  For chew he must!  A young puppy’s teeth are growing and need to be used.

At long last he was taught to act as a dog should act around the home.  Dough Doughy was very proud of his dog, Sam.  As he said, “Sam has the best of all the dogs in his family tree, but,” he added, “’tis a shame it was a nut tree.”

More of Dad’s stories at

https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/category/stories/daddy-john-stories/

 

Quiet — Rest

Quiet — Take Your Nap, Get Your Rest

My sister’s favorite story was the one he told her about nap time and bedtime.  Mom had her own “story” at nap time, “Just lie still.  Even if you don’t fall asleep, the rest will do you just as much good.” (I’m sure our lying quietly for an hour or so did HER much good).

I sometimes told myself that same little falsehood when dealing with insomnia.  I also sometimes told myself, “No, tomorrow’s not a workday, and there will be no 5 a.m. alarm,” and I often fell for it, so gullible!

I so easily fall for good stories that when I had a sleep study done, I fell asleep despite the many wires by telling myself “Sheherazade” — “Long ago, in a kingdom far to the east . . . “

Mom, Dad, Donna025

                                                                           Mom, Dad, and Donna

Donna’s Star by “Daddy John” Fussner

Little Donna was sitting on her daddy’s lap one night.  It was just getting dark.  The sun had said good night some time ago.  the last few rays of sunshine were handing from the bottom of the clouds, as if they were trying to keep from going to bed.  Like all little ones, they at last gave up and were seen no more that night.  Soon the moon was peeking over the hill, very quietly, with a soft, soft light, as if he was afraid that he would wake someone up.  One by one, the little stars took their places in the sky, all clean, bright, and twinkly.

Little Donna said, “Daddy, what makes the stars shine so bright, and who hangs them up in the sky?”

“Well,” said Daddy, “that is quite some story; so if you will get all comfy here on my lap, I will tell you all about it.  A long, long time ago, there were very many little fairies and brownies with nothing to do.  When fairies and brownies have nothing to do, they can’t be happy.  You see, they have to help people and do good things to be happy, just as little boys and girls are happy when they help Mommy and Daddy.  The Head Man Brownie and the Fairy Queen thought and thought about how to find more good things for the idle fairies and brownies to do.

“Suddenly, the Head Man Brownie said, ‘I saw Mr. Stork today, and he said that he’s giving many babies to mammas these days.  Maybe we can think of something there.’

“ ‘Why that’s it,’ said the Fairy Queen.  ‘We can give each little baby a fairy and a brownie to watch over him or her and keep him or her from harm.’

“ ‘So be it,’ said the Head Man Brownie.

“That is why every little boy and each little girl has a little fairy and a little brownie of his very own to watch over him.  your fairy and your brownie are watching you every day while you are awake.  When you go play, they go, too.  You may not see them, but they are there.

“When you lie down to take your nap in the afternoon, your little fairy sits close by, where she can see you.  Your little brownie finds a nice, close, quiet corner nearby, opens a little box which he always carries, and takes out a nice little star.  While yo sleep, your little fairy combs her hair as she watches you, and your little brownie shines your star.

“Of course, as soon as you wake up, they must stop, and if you don’t take a nap at all, well, that’s not so good, because then your little fairy can’t comb her pretty long hair, and she doesn’t like that at all.  Your brownie can’s shine your star if you don’t take a nice long nap, and that’s bad too.  Why?  Because when you go to bed at night, the last thing your brownie does before he goes home is to hang up your star for everyone to see.  Now, you wouldn’t want your brownie to have to hang up a dull, dirty star, would you?”

Little Donna said, “No I wouldn’t, but if my brownie hangs my star after I go to sleep, how will I ever see it?”

Her daddy said, “Maybe you won’t, but I see it every night right after you go to bed, and it’s a beautiful shiny star.  Let’s tuck you in for the night, and I’ll come back out and look for it.”

More of Dad’s stories at

https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/category/stories/daddy-john-stories/

Mary, Joy, & Donna034

Mary, Joy, Donna  — bedtime stories to a new generation

Moon and Moonshine

Moon and Moonshine 

How cool that in just a few hours there will be a lunar eclipse (hope the clouds let us see it) a bit less cool that there is snow on April 14.

When I taught in Jamaica,  I learned to like curried goat and akee and Blue Mountain coffee.  I learned that “bats” meant “moths” — the ones I called bats are known as “rat bats.”  When I used everyone’s coffee cups and soda cans to demonstrate how an eclipse works, there was amazement because, “You are an English teacher, not science!”   A photo from home of a late snow on leafed-out bushes called for identification of “those white flowers” followed by, “oh, I have heard of snow.”

Then someone remarked on the pretty moonshine one evening. I told them what moonshine meant back home in Missouri, and we laughed and laughed.

 

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This is another of my father’s dialect stories.

The Sunshine Pump by “Uncle John” Fussner

Seein’ as how Grandpa’s farm was in a narry valley ‘twixt two high mountains, he didn’t git much sunshine.  ‘Twas ’bout midmornin’ afore ole Sol could much more’n peek down at the valley.

As the yars went by, they be more ‘n  more younguns to feed.  Grandpa ‘lowed as how ‘twould he’p iffin’ he’d put a windmill and pump on top of old Smokie to pump the sunshine down to his farm, which he did, and likewise which the pump did.  Things went right well for a couple or three yars, ’til one day the wind didn’t blow fer more’n a week.  Grandpa got plumb restless without the sunshine fer his crops.

Well sir, one morning he told his two fust born boys to take a couple of buckets and fetch down some sunshine.  Them mountins bein’ as high as they were, hit took a whole passel of climbin’ to git to the top.  When at long last, they stood at the very tip top, Eb cast an eye to the sky and said, “Zeb, look at that sun.  Hit’s half gone and none too bright.”

“Don’t fret ’bout that,” answered Zeb.  “We’uns is in the same fix an’ ah reckon ’tis no mind to no one nohow.”

Well sir, them two younguns filled thar pails and started down the mountain.  Zeb slipped and bumped Eb, and ah’m tell’n you all, they skittered down a sight faster’n they climbed up.  When at long last they rolled to a stop, thar be Grandpa lookin’ down at ’em and he twern’t smilin’ nohow.  Zeb got up and tole Grandpa the sorry fix the sun were in.

Grandpa howled, “You addle-brained young’uns, that thar sun you saw were the moon!”  With a howl and a growl, he yanked the pail outen Zeb’s paws and took a big swig.  Atter that he was smilin’ happy.  Yep, thar’s a mite bit of difference ‘twixt sunshine an’ MOONSHINE.

 

More of Dad’s stories at

https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/category/stories/daddy-john-stories/