Take it Home to Mama!

I was watching the national news recently while a southern U.S. Senator was being interviewed. I love southernisms already, and he added one to my lexicon.

He was letting the interviewer know that his vote was in the bag. His way of telling her was to say, “Take it home to Mama!” I love that!

Slap my Mother?

I’m not sure why, but the folks from the south seem to turn a phrase like nobody’s business. They have a way with words that just grabs me. I’m speaking of phrases like, “Well, slap yo’ Mama!” Like that one, many of them don’t actually make sense, but maybe that’s why I like them so much.

When I was a kid, there was a TV celebrity named Tennessee Ernie Ford. He was a singer and all around entertainer. His big line was, “Well, bless your little, pea-pickin’ heart.” I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone whose heart picked peas, but I still loved hearing him say it.

A friend of mine shared one with me recently. He was quoting someone else when he said, “If that don’t light your fire, your wood’s wet!” I can only smile when I hear stuff like that. It just tickles my innerds (sorry).

Painting Pictures

You may remember Jimmy Dean. If you don’t remember him, you might remember his sausage (which seems to have outlived him). Anyway, I once heard him say, “He’s as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers.” Now, that paints a picture!

Speaking of being uneasy, there’s an old one that says, “She was as nervous as a whore in church.” I can’t seem to relate to that one, but it definitely paints a somewhat different scene for us.

Of course, there’s Flo’s ever popular, “Kiss my grits!” I never really liked that one myself, but most other people seem to love it. It’s just not imaginative enough for my tastes, I guess.

Years ago, I asked a guy from the south if he had lived there his whole life. He immediately shot back at me without skipping a beat, “So far…” I’m still laughing about that little interchange.

Sometime, ask someone from the deep south if they enjoyed their meal. You just might get this answer. “It will make yer tongue slap yer brains out.” I’d say it’s a pretty good meal if it can do that.

I’ve been living in northern Virginia for twenty years, and I’ve found that every once in awhile you can still run into a good ole boy who still uses some of those isms. I figure if I live here long enough, I might even become one of them. Being from western Pennsylvania, I’m short on southernisms (and long on droppin’ my g’s—if you get my drift). I can only hope. A good southern drawl is not easy to come by, and I never seem to remember the phrases when I need them.

Reckon I only got one oar in the water.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]

Gotta Love a Good Analogy

Facebook is a never-ending stream of material. A couple days ago, a friend of mine posted this list of “Really Bad Analogies Written by High School Students.” I just had to share them. Here goes…

  1. Her eyes were like two brown circles, with big black dots in the center.
  2. He was as tall as a 6’3” tree.
  3. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master
  4. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 pm instead of 7:30.
  5. John and Mary never met. They were like two hummingbirds that had also never met.
  6. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh—like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  7. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  8. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something…
  9. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  10. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
  11. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock—like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
  12. The lamp just sat there like an inanimate object.

It’s tough to choose, but I think my favorite is number nine. I have to say, however, the one about the lame duck (#8) is a close second. Admittedly, they’re all pretty funny.

Maybe the funniest thing of all about this article is the fact that these analogies are not analogies at all—they’re similes (not that I would have immediately recognized the difference, but it was pointed out to me by an unsuspecting English teacher).

This list reminds me of the old, Art Linkletter show on which he had a segment called “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” He used to line up little kids and ask them questions about everyday life. True to form, they would say the darndest things. Apparently, saying the darndest things doesn’t end when you’re ten years old. The high school students above did a pretty good job of that as well. In fact, I hear adults saying the darndest things quite often. We all need a good laugh from time to time, so I’m glad they do.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun.” In the ensuing list of things, it includes “a time to laugh.”

The lame duck certainly did that for me. I hope you got a laugh from it as well. After all, laughter is like someone chuckling really hard.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]


A Shrewd Retirement

A while back, a friend of mine posted the following story on Facebook.

Oh, those Brits! [From The London Times]
Outside England ‘s Bristol Zoo there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 buses. For 25 years, its parking fees were managed by a very pleasant attendant. The fees for cars was $1.40 and for buses $7.
Then, one day, after 25 solid years of never missing a day of work, he just didn’t show up; so the zoo management called the city council and asked it to send them another parking agent.
The council did some research and replied that the parking lot was the zoo’s own responsibility. The zoo advised the council that the attendant was a city employee. The city council responded that the lot attendant had never been on the city payroll.
Meanwhile, sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain, or France or Italy, is a man who’d apparently had a ticket booth installed completely on his own and then had simply begun to show up every day, commencing to collect and keep the parking fees, estimated at about $560 per day for 25 years. Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over $7 million dollars, and no one even knows his name.

I love this story. Frankly, I’m not exactly sure why I do. This unknown guy bilked thousands of people for millions of dollars. I should hate this story. The guy was evil—at least he was underhanded and a cheat.

I guess I like it because he was creative, bold, and persistent. There’s something about his entrepreneurial spirit that is inspiring. Why no one ever questioned him all those years is amazing. I think I would have chickened out after the first week (if I had made it that far at all).

Come to think of it, though, Jesus told a positive story about such a guy. This man, however, actually worked for someone. He managed the boss’s olive oil business. He did a poor job of it, however, and was wasting the owner’s money and resources.

The boss called him in and fired him, but told him he had to make an account of his management before he left. In order to have something to show, the manager went to some of the boss’s debtors and marked down their bill if they agreed to pay up immediately. He was able to convince enough people to do so that he had some money to give the owner.

Interestingly enough, the owner commended his dishonest manager for being shrewd. This parable is found in Luke 16:1-15. It’s one of the most difficult of the parables to understand. It is so, in part, because it seems so out of character for Jesus to tell such a story.

So, I guess it’s okay for me to like the Brit in our beginning story. He was shrewd, and apparently, that’s a good thing. Who knew?

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]