Appendix 6

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A few words passed on to people who don’t exist – yet

I thought about adding a Tarot reading here that I did in 1980 that I was stupid enough to save, but I changed my mind.  Also, the reading suggested that I will write a section like this.  Hey, it was right!  This would be a good time to be profound, but I’m working with the material that I have.  So here goes.

      I’m hoping that someday, my kids will have as much fun being a parent as I have been having.   Maybe I will be lucky and get to know my grandkids and grand dogs.  I probably won’t be lucky enough to meet the generation after that or the generation after that.   So this whole document is my words to them from me.  I think the phrase, “It’s okay to enjoy a song, even if you don’t understand all the words”, might be useful.  Also be careful using the joke that goes, “It is faults like this that kept me from getting a better wife!”   That has never worked for me.

      Now for the special treat.  I’ve got some words from my dad and one of my grandfathers and one of my great grandmothers to pass on.   If you are my great granddaughter or great grandson, my dad’s Grandma Black is your great, great, great, great grandmother.   She was alive in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  First, from my dad, the words to a song he taught me when I was really little:

    “While the organ peeled bananas,

     Lard was rendered by the choir.

     While the sexton rang the dish rag,

     Someone set the church on fire.

     ‘Holy smoke!’ the preacher shouted.

     In the rush, he lost his hair.

     Now his head resembles heaven,

     For there is no parting there.”

      I’ll bet there are a few words in that silly little song that you have no idea what they mean.  My dad must have learnt it when he was a little kid in the 1920s.  Here is another song that he taught me.  It sounds like something from around 1950 and has a message that he wanted me to remember:

    “The fish never says a word

     About a million eggs or more.

     The hen is quite a different bird.

     One egg and hear her crow.

     We praise the hen, but shun the fish,

     Which leads us to surmise.

     Don’t hide your light, but toot your horn.

     It pays to advertise.”

 

      Both my grandfather on my mother’s side and Chris’ grandfather on her Dad’s side were Polish and lived in eastern Europe (Czechoslovakia and the Ukraine, I think).   Stories about tricking the Devil were common coming from that time and place.  This story could have come from either man; I don’t remember for sure who passed it on to me.  It was either thru my mom or Chris' dad.  It goes like this:   “A gamekeeper is walking through the forest and is stopped by the Devil.  They talk and the Devil boasts that he can do any task that the gamekeeper can think up.   They make a wager.  If the gamekeeper wins, he gets a wish; if he loses the Devil gets the gamekeeper’s soul.   So the gamekeeper thinks for a little bit, then he farts.  He says to the Devil, “catch that fart and put it in your pipe and smoke it.”

      The only phrase that I have from my dad’s Grandma Black was one that she must have said a lot.  My dad repeated it many times throughout his life, even though it made no sense in the context of his current life.  It must have made him feel good to say it and think of being a kid in Minnesota and to remember the wonderful lady that took care of him back then.  The phrase is: “Pray for rain on Sunday, so the hired hand can sleep.”  In rural America in the late 1800s, the farmers paid farmhands to work with them and they worked hard.  Sunday was their day off, and if the weather was nice they would spend it having fun, going fishing or looking for some other young men to help them raise a ruckus.  So if the weather was nice, they wouldn’t get the rest that they needed to do another week of work.

 

      So now you have words that were spoken by your relatives back in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.   I hope this document survives long enough for you to read them.  If it does, I want you to know how proud I would have been to meet you and that there were a lot of people that came before you that helped to build the world you are in.  I hope that it is nice and that you are happy.