Welcome to my “once I’m home I’m not going out” season. That cold snap this week felt more like a cold slap, and although we’re not in the clutches of old person winter yet, my bones tell me it’s time to start working on that pick-up load of firewood I bought from Felipe Avalos a couple months ago.
Yes, we do have electric heaters and propane for keeping the house warm, but there’s nothing like burning firewood in a cast iron wood stove.
Some friends of ours have switched over to pellet stoves, but I still like going out to the backyard and splitting wood. It’s kind of therapeutic, both physically and mentally; swinging that maul…releasing a little bit of stress. Besides, if the power goes out, the computer in the pellet stove goes out, too, so there you go. If that’s not the weirdest way computers have horned in on our world, I don’t know what is.
Heck, I remember being surprised to find out computers were being put in cars, but that’s nothing nowadays. For example, they’ve got a dog collar now with sensors to monitor your canine’s temperature,and calls your cell phone if it’s getting overheated. And for the owners of felines, you can get a computerized cat food feeder that you can control from anywhere in the world through the internet. While we’re talking about animals, forget those old-fashioned ID chips for cattle. Ranchers can now opt for wireless internet sensors that not only ID that bovine but also monitor its overall health.
If that’s not enough, parents can now get an SMS message that their baby has wet diapers.
There’s also a coffee machine that you can start brewing remotely, a computerized Christmas tree and a mirror that remembers what you looked like yesterday. And get this, a gadget that lights up your toilet bowl at night.
Personally, I don’t care how sophisticated the “internet of things” gets, there’s no CPU that can replace the bent-wood rocker on our porch. That’s about as cutting-edge as I like to be. And it’s good for my “mainframe.”
Today, Nov. 15, by the way, marks the 81st anniversary of Sadie Hawkins. I don’t know if anyone remembers the long-running Li’l Abner comic strip set in Dogpatch, Kentucky.
According to one of the strip’s plotlines, Sadie was known as “the homeliest gal in them hills” and therefore unable to snag a husband, so her rich and powerful father, Hekzebiah, proclaimed a Sadie Hawkins Day. Sadie would then go gallivanting around looking for unattached boys who, in turn, would be hightailing it to the hills.
The story goes that after seeing a big feature in Life Magazine, people wanted real life Sadie Hawkins events, including Sadie Hawkins dances, to which women would ask men to, instead of the traditional other way around.
Back when I was in school, we had a Sadie Hawkins dance once a year when girls got to ask boys to go, and then got all gussied up in cornpone hillbilly outfits that Minnie Pearl made famous. The girls would paint their cheeks with freckles and us boys would be chewing on a piece of straw, and everybody would say things like “shucks” or “you all.”
Come to think of it, I still say things like that, thanks to my Tennessee-bred mother. Hoot and holler, high (or low) cotton, catty-wampus and “pert near but not plumb,” all come to mind.
And if we were raising a ruckus she would say we were “tearing up Jack and turning over Josie.” We would get the drift, but I never heard anyone else use that turn of phrase.
I guess I still have some good ol’ boy left in me, but then again I am well-acquainted with other country-isms from watching black and white westerns; the ones where Gabby Hayes was always the sidekick, from Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy to Randolph Scott and John Wayne. Gabby ranks high in my esteem for the ability to cuss up a storm without using profanity, and I’m thinking we should bring back some of those epithets, like durntootin’, dadgummit, persnickety, whippersnapper and hornswoggle.
If you watch enough of those old horse operas – you can stream a lot of them now – you can catch some of the best of Gabby:
● “Stand on your feet, you lyin' buzzard! It's agin my principles to shoot a man sittin' down.”
● “Sassafras and shootin' irons! They're rustlin' the herd!”
● “I can do everything from pot biling to pot wrastling, story-tellin' to lie-swappin'. I'm a pretty handy sort of feller whether for fun, frolic, or fright!”
● “Look out, there. Don't try any tricks or I'll salivate you.”
And then, there’s Gabby the philosopher:
“Every little bit makes just a little bit more.”
Dagnabbit, if that ain’t the truth.