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Some gleanings that are good anytime
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With summer winding down, with school and football (How about those Tigers?) reving up, with the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention energizing the political scene, it's time to leave commenting on the contemporary to experts.

Instead, let's relax with some quotations I have taken from various sources.

Puns: (Some require literary, historical, mathematical knowledge.)

1. Evidence has been found that William Tell and his family were avid bowlers. Unfortunately, all the Swiss League records were destroyed in a fire, and so we'll never know for whom the Tells bowled.

2. A man rushed into a busy doctor's surgery and shouted: "Doctor, I think I'm shrinking!" The doctor calmly responded: "Now, settle down. You'll just have to be a little patient."

3. A famous Viking explorer returned from a voyage and found his name missing from the town register. His wife insisted on complaining to the local civic official, who apologized profusely saying: "I must have taken Leif of my census."

4. There were three Indian squaws. One slept on a deer skin, one on an elk skin, the third on a hippopotamus skin. The one who slept on the hippopotamus skin had twin boys. This just goes to prove that ... the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaw of the other two hides.

5. A skeptical anthropologist was cataloguing South American folk remedies with the assistance of a tribal elder who indicated that the leaves of a particular fern were a sure cure for any case of constipation. When the anthropologist expressed his doubts, the elder looked him in the eye and said: "Let me tell you, with fronds like these, you don't need any enemas."

What Southerners know (perhaps instinctively):

1. How many fish, collard greens, peas, etc., make "a mess."

2. The general direction of "yonder," how long is "directly" as in "I'll be back directly."

3. The difference in "right near" and "a right far piece."

4. The difference in a redneck and a good ol' boy.

5. That the best gesture of solace to a neighbor who has troubles is a platter of fried chicken and a bowl of potato salad.

6. That you don't scream obscenities at a little old lady driving 30 mph on the freeway; you just say "Bless her sweet heart."

And to all of you who are still trying to understand this Southern stuff: "Well, bless your heart; I'm fixin' to explain it to you."

A 19th Century nun's prayer (reportedly a favorite of Margaret Thatcher and definitely appropriate for me):

Lord, thou knowest, better than I know myself, that I am growing older and will soon be old.

Keep me from getting talkative and particularly from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every occasion.

Release me from the craving to try to straighten out everybody's affairs.

Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all. But thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind from the endless recital of details. Give me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips on many aches and pains; they are increasing and my love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.

Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally it is possible that I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a saint - some of them are hard to live with. But a sour old man or woman is one of the works of the devil. Amen.

Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.