What a Day I’s Been

What a Day I's BeenWhat a Day i’s Bin

 

Now if ya’ll havin’ trouble readin dis ya’ll mightn’t wanna take a gander at tha HillBilly Terms, HillBilly Medical Glossary, and HillBilly Phrases & Sayings.

 

What a day i’s bin! Right from the git-go things bin goin’ wrong. Seein’s we ate the ol’ rooster for supper last night, we didn’ have no ‘larm clock this moanin’ so ‘course when I woke up the sun was awready high in the sky and the day awastin’. Ol’ Yeller, ahr ol COLIC dawg, BENIGN years old now, and spends most-a his time flopped out on the rug aside my bed. Actch’ly, that’s what he always did, seein’s there’s never been no sheep for him to chase nohow. So ‘course when I opened my eyes and saw the sun a shinin’ through the wender panes, I jumped right up, and tripped oher Ol’ Yeller and fell smack-dab on my face! You’da thought I NODE he’d be there! Ennyhow, whiles I’se stretched out there on the floor, a mouse runs right ‘cross my hand, bold as you please. I pulls myself to my feet and done a quick CATSCAN, but that orn’ry critter was nowhere in sight. Yep, prob’ly out courtin’ his Missus, ‘stead of doin’ his duty keeping them rodents at bay.

 

I lifted my favrit fishin’ britches off their HANGNAIL, pulled ‘em on, and hitched a strap oher one shoulder. No need for fin’ries like puttin’ on dressy-up GENES and a shirt on sich a fine sunny day when my favrit shady fishin’ spot’s out there just waitin’ fer me! I ambled into the kitchen, ‘specting to see my missus, Edna Mae, there with a nice hearty breakfast of grits, sausages, and eggs, mebbe some fried ‘taters too, hot off the stove, and mebbe e’en some real down-home apple pie, all ready and waitin’ for me. And ‘course I wuz hopin’ to see my fine brood of ‘leven young-un’s standin’ at their places ‘spectfully waitin’ on me to take my chair at the head o’ the table and bless the food. But ‘stead of that the kitchen was empty, ‘cept for a pile of dirty dishes in the sink needin’ to be worshed, and a plate of cold breakfast fixins’ sittin’ at my spot, with a swarm of flies feastin’ on ‘em.

 

Now yu’d think that my missus wuda had more respect for me, wudn’t ya? After all, I’m still a good lookin’ fella, mebbe jus’ a bit recedin’ in the hairline and a bit loose in the mid-section p’raps, but I can tell ya’ I still ken turn more than a few purty young heads when I got my Sund’y suit on. ‘Sides which, I’m real CONGENITAL too. And not only that, haven’t I pervided for Edna-Mae purty well? I ain’t sayin’ I’m genrally PROTEIN, but looky here, I gave her ‘leven – count ‘em! – ‘leven young uns! Ain’t but a real man ken do that! And she has this fine four-room house which my great-grand-pappy built with his own two hands. E’en has a fine attic, and I myself tacked up a ladder outside to git up there, so’s the older chilluns got their very own room. There’s even a two-seater privy out back with a heart carved in the door. Thought the missus’d think that was right RHEUMATIC. An’ then there’s plenty of space out in the back forty for Edna Mae to grow all the vegetables she wants, to feed our brood, and I even invested her chicken money savin’s in a milk cow, so’s she’d have milk for the little un’s, and so’s she’d be able to make her man – yep, that’s me – my fav’rit puddin’ ev’ry day.

 

Her, she was goin’ ta spend it on some piece goods to sew up new dresses and shirts for all the younguns, and a new Sunday suit for me, and even some lace to spruce up her Sunday dress, but I NODE that bein’ VEIN only leads to pride and destruction, like the Good Book sez, so I invested it in somethin’ worthwhile that’d nurish the whole fam’ly, and that’d give my missus the priv’lege of serving me my fav’rit dessert ev’ry day. And I e’en had ‘nough cash left over to sneak into the likker store and invest in a jug of refreshment to keep me goin’ when I’m down at the fishin’ hole ev’ry fine day workin’ hard to keep the fam’ly nourished. That’s way more ‘portant that a new Sund’y suit, don’t you think? (I made a lil ol’ FIBULA to Edna Mae ‘bout the tonic since sech things upset her and I perfer to keep the peace. She kin take on and be a tad hot-headed, as y’all’ll see).

 

Well, notin’ Edna Mae’s lack of care and understandin’, I stepped out onto the porch and scanned the horizon, lookin’ fer that woman. Fin’ly I seen her way fer down a piece at the end of the corn patch, hoe’n the weeds. At least she was doin’ her womanly duty in that department!

 

“Edna-Mae!” I hollered! “Git yerself up here, and cook me some fresh breakfast! I don’t have all day to waste waitin’ for it!” She kept hoein’ though, and I had to holler’ two, three times more afore she fin’ly straightened up, and started up the row of corn. I could swear she’s just ignorin’ me, when she ought’a be admirin’ and obeyin’ me, as the Good Book tawt. It’s ‘nough to make any man INPATIENT. While she was a’comin’ I noticed that the porch was saggin’ agin. I set myself down in grand-pappy’s rockin’ chair while I waited for Edna-Mae to arrive. I looked down the road, and saw the parson’s daughter sashayin’ along in one of them fancy new-style dresses from Sears caterlog. She’s a right fetchin’ young thing! Real pertee, too, with that new harbao and salon-do.

 

Edna-Mae arrived just then. “Lans’ sake, Edna-Mae, you know I want my breakfast hot and served with a smile when I git up! And where’s the young’uns? How’s a man to be treated with the respect he deserves when there’s no one about to respect him? You’d think that kind of fam’ly larnin’ ‘bout respect and sech wud be more ‘portant then sendin’ the young ‘uns off to that foolish so-called eddication they larn them at school these days! Ask me, them eddicators don’t have nuthin’ under their hats but hair. And by the by, Edna Mae, don’cha think ya oughter shove another o’ them old wood apple boxes under the porch, seein’s it’s saggin’ agin? An’ shucky dern, jest look at you! All dusty in that ol’ dress! Y’oughter at least add a bit of lace to fancy it up! How’s a man s’posed to keep his eyes off other wimmen when his own missus won’t take care’a harself?” The parson’s daughter was opp’sit the porch by then, so I hitched up my pants, ran my fingers through my hair, and whistled. She kept walkin’ and pertendin’ to keep her eyes looking straight ‘head, but I NODE she was admirin’ me out of the corner of her eye. I just know I CAUTERIZE, but to be sure, I said to Edna Mae, “My, oh, my, that gal’s right purty with ‘er fancy dress and salon hair-do,” and I said it loud ‘nough for the little gal to hear the compliment. “Maybe if ya worked a bit harder raisin’ them chickens, Edna Mae, they’d lay more, and you cud buy yerself a new dress and hair-do too!”

 

Now you’d think Edna-Mae would ‘ave appreciated all my good advice, but not her. She was takin’ a hissy. She stomped into the kitchen, and was standin’ by the ol’ woodstove my grand-pappy bought for the fam’ly. Smart man, he was, bought the best stove ‘vailable. And it’s held up for 3 gen’rashuns of women awreddy, makin’ their lives more comferble. Why’d a woman want one of them fancy ‘lectric jobs, spesh’ly when we don’t have nor need ‘lectricity? Them ‘lectric poles and wars they stretched down the county road just ruins the view! So no juice’a that kin’ for me, that’s fer sure! ‘Course I do try to buy a treat for Edna Mae now and agin. When we had ahr ‘leventh little’un, I noticed one of them fancy TABLETS down thar at th’auction, and I thought to buy it fer Edna Mae so’s she could change the baby on it ‘stead of on the kitchen table like’s the first ten litttl’uns. I woulda’ spent a whole doller on it, but some town feller made a MORBID, so I missed out on it, and had to buy me an ice-cream instead. Still, my heart was in the right place, don’cha thank?

 

Ennaway, as I was sayin’ there, Edna-Mae was standin’ with the iron fry-pan in her hand. I ‘spose I shoulda’ noticed the contrary glint in her eye, but my stomach was rumblin’ and my thoughts were on hot grits and fresh coffee. “Well, hurry up and use that pan,” I tol’ her. Now I told ya, this was turnin’ out to be a bad day right from the git-go. ‘Stead of mixin’ up my breakfast in the pan, Edna-Mae turned ‘round, mad as a hornet, and swung it at my head with all her might! Not seein’ it comin’ fast ‘nough, I naglected to duck, and it caught me broadside right ‘cross my ER! That Edna Mae ken be FESTER than greased lightnin’! You don’t want her for yer ENEMA!

 

Ennaway, I went down, and that’s the last thing I ‘member ‘til I started to hear voices. “No, Doc, it ain’t LABOR PAIN he’s sufferin’! He’s never worked a day in his life!” Yep, that’d be Edna Mae, bein’ disrespectful and badmouthin’ me agin. Yu’da thank she’d be all tore up ‘bout my condition, spesh’ly since it was she done hit me!

 

“Maybe we should take him to the HOSPITAL,” said a lovely young voice. Ah! That’d be the parson’s daughter. See, she did notice me, and e’en come into the house ta rescue me!

 

“Yes,” the doctor’s voice chimed in. “That’s probably best. Do you know where the hospital is, Edna Mae?”

 

“Ha!” hooted my wife. “How cud I miss it? It’s the biggest buildin’ in town, other than Joe’s feed warehouse or Frank’s lumber mill! But I got me a better idea. Why don’t we just BARIUM right now?” Now that’s a down-right mean thing to say ‘bout a man who’s done all I done for that woman, don’cha thank? Still, I was gittin’ a bit worried, seein’s as I’d always hoped to DILATE, and be recognized in the obityuarees as an IMPOTENT man, which anyone with a grain of sense cud see I am. Yep, I alwa’s figgered to end up old as Methuselah! I always been real healthy, too, ‘cept for that one time I took the train down to the big city, and its un-human speed made me get TERMINAL ILLNESS by the time I ‘rived at the stashun. Ennahow, I started thinkin’ that if I’m sick ‘nough now fer the doc to be talkin’ ‘bout hospitals, and Edna to be talkin’ bout buryin,’ maybe my end really is VARICOSE! And I’d always hoped for at least one or TUMOR young un’s afore I go to the purly gates. An e’en dozen or better yet a baker’s dozen seems to me to be the kind of leg’cy a man of my stature shud leave behin’. No needin’ a PAP SMEAR fer to prove they’s all mine, either!

 

Buoyed up by them cheerful thoughts, I gathered all my strength tagether, and weakly croaked, “Afore y’all make yer buryin’ plans, I just wanna tell ya, Doc, that I don’t need no HOSPITAL, ‘cause I’m stain right here. Ennaway, I’se heard ‘bout them places. We can’t ‘ford what they costs, e’en if they had NITRATES. We’s not rich like Elvis, ya know, or even his second cousin, PELVIS. From all’s I’se heard, them hospitals is jest full of useless money-wasters like them thar RECOVERY ROOMS. Now why, tell me, wud a place that’s s’posed to be for healin’ sick folk, be runnin’ an upholstery business on the side? An’ iffen ya put me in the hospital, soon’s I got home the POST OPERATIVE would be leaving a bill in my mail-box big ‘nough that I’d have to mortgage this house my great-grandpappy built, and I’d still not to be able to pay it all off, and sure’s as not I’d end up in the CORTIZONE ‘splaining my sitchashun to the judge! If I’se really hurt that bad, why don’t y’all stop whisperin’ behind my back, as if there be some great SECRETION? That ain’t no way to treat an OUTPATIENT. I tell ya, I kin hear y’all, an’I kin take the truth of my candishun, and ennaway, I tell ya, I’se jest fine!” Now I do declare, that be jest one of the finest speeches I e’er made. But the effor’t’all, in my present delicate candishun, overcome me, and bein’ plumb tuckered out I slid back into the dark place Edna Mae’s fry pan put me in the first place.

 

Seemed like a long spell later, I started to hear voices again, kinda hazy, in the distance, like Edna Mae’s voice when she shouts up to me from down the end’a the corn patch when I’se restin’ on the porch chair. It sounded like the voices of young ‘uns, but the bits and pieces’a the conversashun didn’t make no sense ta me. I heard snippets of this an’ that, like, “I went out to the playground after lunch by way’a the BACTERIA… Yep, learned ‘bout the CEASAREAN SECTION taday. Mis Smith sez that’s where the SEIZURE of the Roamin’ Empire had his place…. That’s URINE cup. This here’s mine…. Billy Bob ‘vited me to come down this Sat’day and watch the G.I. SERIES with him on the barbershop T.V.…. Miz Smith only give me a D on my writin’ seein’s I fergot ta put in a COMA, and I plumb fergot ta put in a BOWEL or two in ma’ spellin’ too…. Yep, I figger watchin’ the series is my patriotic duty, seein’s as how it shows s’port for our US military boys scattered all oher the worl’ bringin’ Amerikin democr’cy to unciv’lized furners, and teachin’ ‘em the great Amerikin game’a baseball… In Histr’y today we lerned that there’s a big Bush down in D&C. I always thought it was all jest city…” I fin’ly realized that the voices must belong to my young ‘uns who wuz discussin’ o’er their school daze larnin’ at the supper table, seein’s I warn’t there to make shure they NODE that young ‘uns shud be seen but not heerd.

 

I op’nd my eyes and was mighty happy ta see I was still right here at home layin’ up in my own bed, snug as a bug in a rug, right comferble on the corn-husk mattress Edna Mae makes fresh fer us ever’ fall. I bin kind’a worried I might fin’ myself standin’ at the Purly Gates, ‘splaining to Saint Pete whys he shud be lett’n me in; or even worse, wakin’ up in a pine box six foot under, and not able to git out! From the addled conversashun, I’da e’en thought mebbe I’da bin sent to t’other place, seein’s as it didn’ soun’ like nuthin’ enny upright, all-Amerikin fella like myself knows ennythin’ about. But then it come ta me that it was just my young ‘uns talking that fool’shness they bin learnin’ down at the schoolhouse wheres they’s s’posed to be gitting’ an eddication, though what’s the use of it is b’yond me. Boys need to be tawt how to fish and spit straight. Girls oughter be tawt ta keep howse and be a PHARMACIST, ya know, keeping the vegetable patch a goin’ and sech. That’s plenty ‘nough larnin’ for anyone!

 

I tried to sit up, but felt mighty dizzy. I was still aplannin’ to git some fishin’ in, but wen I looked out the wender, I seen the sun was jest adroppin’ o’er the hill back of the outhouse. What a wasted day! I retched over for my fishin’ rod ennyway, and leanin’ on it I was able to git myself up on my feet. Thet rod might be hand carved from a willow branch cut down by the crick bottom, but, yep, it’s still a mighty fine pole, if I do say so myself. Way better fer sure than them fancy MEDICAL STAFFS I seen in pitchures, that doctors are s’posed to carry. Never did see a doctor really carry one though. Guess mebbe them city folks is sceered’a the snake wrapped round the pole. Pole like that shure wouldn’t be no use for fishin’ neither. ‘Sides which, ya don’ want too many’a them fancy things lying ‘bout the house. Just tempts folks what has a penchant fer ENTERITIS.

 

Ennyhow, taking a good GRIPPE a’ my fishin’ pole, I hobbled out to the dinin’ room, and set myself down in my place’a honor, heada the table. Edna Mae quick as a flash come from her place at the enda the table, and served me up a heapin’ platter of good ol’ fashioned home cooked vittles. An’ laid it right there in front’a me, jest as a good woman shud do fer her man. She e’en brought me a cuppa good strong coffee already saucered and blowed. Then the young un’s and Edna Mae stood straight at their places. (Ain’t no need, I figger, for young ‘uns to have chairs, seein’s as they need the practice of standin’ straight, and no need for a woman to have a chair neither, seein’s as she needs to be able to wait on her husband whene’er he calls her!). They all bowed their heads and I asked the Good Lord to bless us all, and I thanked Him too fer the food I work so hard to pervide fer the family. After all, they needs to be reminded from time ta time who’s the one providin’ for ‘em! I reminded the young ‘uns, too, that we’s an upstandin’ fam’ly with good mannahs, and that cawse of that, chillen at the table is to be seen and not heerd. I leaned back in my chair then, and surveyed my fam’ly with pride. Why, it made me happy as a hog wallering in mud jest to see ‘em all there, bein’ respecful an’ all. Biscuits and gravy, it felt dandy to be alive and the king a’ my castle! I picked up my spoon and dug in, then waved to the rest and told ‘em to go ahead and eat too. It’d been a rough day, alright, but I was back in my honored place, and my world was jest fine once again. And if the Good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise ther’ll always be fishin’ tomorra!

 

Norma Hill

 

Date August 16, 2006

 

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