Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dancin' at the Grange

Did I ever tell you 'bout the time Shorty Jenkins whup Nate Skinner?  Shorty, ever'body call him Shorty so long, twel no one rightly know him by ary other name.  Waal, he were short.  Sometime people tag a moniker like "Shorty" on some tall drink a water, or they mought call a man-mountain "Pee Wee," sorta sarcastic in a funny kind a way, ef you know whut I mean.  But Shorty, he were short.  Stand maybe five-two in his work boots.  Prolly weight 97 pound, but he warn't a weaklin', no sir.  He were a powerful man, an' ever'one in these parts know thet.  I one time saw him move a upright pi-ana offa his truck into his house by hisself.  Offered to he'p, an' he on'y grin and say, Stand back, Gramps, 'n I'll l'arn you a thang or two.

So anyhow Shorty's wife, Tressa, even now in her forties, is a moughty fine figger of a woman.  She know hit, but she is modest, don't flaunt herself none, and Shorty know hit, and he accept thet the fellas is gonna wanna spend time talkin' to Tress when they are out to a social or whatever.  'N he don't mind, on account he know she is goin' home with him.  She never give a fella any wrong notions, an' she never give Shorty any cause to worry.  They got four boys, 'n ary one an 'em could pass for "Shorty, Junior," an' they got that girl, Alana, right in the middle a'n 'em, 'n she is purtier than a pitcher, her mama all over again.

So Nate, he come over here f'um Wichita, or maybe Tulsa, I fergit right now, but the thing is he warn't f'um around these parts.  Now Nate was a bit of a looker, an' he fancy hisself to be the cat's pajamas, doncha know.  So he been aroun' here oh, maybe five-six months, not long enough to know much, or to be much known, 'n he decide to go over to the dance on Sattidy night, a good enough thing to do, on account a near ever'one would be there.  Waal, to shorten this up a bit, Tressa dancin' with Jake Waters, 'n at the time, Shorty was sittin' in with the band, Prairie Ramblers, hit were.  Shorty play a right mean fiddle, an' all the bands around know him and ask him to he'p them make some music.  So Tressa capture Nate's eye as he were awatchin' the merriment.

So after th' number, Tressa havin' some lemonade and laughin' it up with some a th' gals, Nate saunter over and inject hisself into the group, so to speak.  After awhile amongst much laughter and banter, a number or two gone by, the band strike up one a them waltzy thangs, 'n Nate say to Tressa, he say, "Mought I have the honor of this dance?"

"Why, certainly, Sir, I would be delighted."

So then they are on the floor dancin', when of a sudden Tress break away f'um Nate and flounce offa th' floor.  Shorty f'um the stage see that purty yella dress, the teeny, tiny waist, all those crinolines underbeneath a th' skirt, the one allus make his heart go pit-a-pat, go a swingin' over to'rd the punch bowl.  Nate just ahind her; but Shorty get to her afore Nate did.

"What's goin' on?" Shorty ask.  Now he know hit ain't usual fer Tressa to leave the floor middle a dance.

"Nothin', really,"  Tress smile at him, but he ha'n't been married to her twenty-five year an' he not know somethin' happen out there.

"Aw, c'mon now," Nate clomp up 'n chime in, "you know I was on'y funnin' with you."

"Okay, Mr. Fun Times, whut did you do yonder?" Shorty.

"Let hit go, Godfrey, hit were no big deal."  I never hear Tress, nor nobody else, fer that matter, call Shorty "Godfrey."  Godfrey.  No wonder ever'one call him Shorty.

"No," Shorty assert, "I will know right now what happen."

"He only suggest we go outside and 'get some air,'" say Tressa, looking Nate square in the eye when she say it.

"Yeah," Nate say, "an' whut bidness is it of your'n anyhow?"

Shorty square his shoulders and rear up to his full five foot two, look up a foot into Nate's eye an' say, "You invite my wife outside, you invite me outside.  Le's go.  Now."

"Wait a minute; wait a minute."  That's Preacher chimin' in.  "No use anyone gettin' hurt.  Apologize to this fine couple, Oklahoma."

"Say whut?  Apologize to this meddlin' fiddle sawyer?  I'll stuff him down the middle hole in yon outhouse!   Ow-w-w-w!"  For by this time Shorty had Nate's right arm twist ahind Nate's back, hand plumb up atween his shoulders, and was amarchin' him to'ard th' door.

As the two combatants plunge thoo th' open door, Shorty use his left boot to pro-pel Nate eight-ten feet ahead, where the lummox land on his face in the dirt.  Shorty atop him in a trice.  "Who is astuffin' who where?" holler Shorty as he pull the left arm up, up, "Ow-w-w-w!"

"Sorry!" holler Oklahoma.  "Hit won't happen again."

"See thet hit don't.  An' be keerful who you messin' with aroun' these parts.  Learn to mind yer manners, if'n you have any, an' you'll get along jes' fine."

Shorty go back into the hall, walk up onto the stage and pick up his fiddle.  As he pull the bow across the strings, he look across the floor to spot thet gorgeous thang in the lovely yella dress, she a sashayin' with Rex Wilson.

I reckon Nate went on home.

© 2014 David W. Lacy


Vee said...

The "cat's pajamas." It's been a long time since I last heard that one.

Shelly said...

Oh, I know I'm home! Great storytelling, as always~

vanilla said...

Vee, expressions come and go. (A current one, but one much too old now, which I wish would go is "That being said." Just trying here to inject a bit of the flavor of the era.

Secondary Roads said...

You have a great way with a story.

Speaking of expressions, When all is said done, there will be more said than done.

vanilla said...

Shelly, oh, I am so happy you have safely returned. Can't wait to hear about it.

Chuck, thank you for the encouragement. As to the said vs. done issue, that is an immutable universal truth, be it in committee, in a formal meeting, at a social gathering, or, dare I say it, at church. It is excusable at the social gathering, the other venues, not so much

Grace said...

The 'accent' is different in this one from the others -

I still use 'cat's pajamas', tho it is before my time and 'when all is said and done' but I also use 'that being said' - Sorry!

vanilla said...

Grace, you have keenly attuned ear and eye. I wrote a disclaimer regarding Uncle Jep's delivery, but have not published it here (until now). "A note about Uncle Jep’s patois, or lingo. This does not represent itself to be a dialect, so one should not look for that. Imagine you hear the Old Uncle’s delivery in a deliberate way, not quite a drawl, but slow nevertheless. We recall that Mr. Miller grew up in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, so it is natural that some of the expressions he uses may well originate there. But remember also that he lived sixty-six years of his adult life in a very specific Western locale."

My father's variation on "that being said" was "I said all that to say this. . ." Heard him say it dozens of times.

Sharkbytes said...

Wonderful, as always. I can just hear it being said as I read it.

Secondary Roads said...

Of course you dare say it. In fact, I believe you just did.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, I thank you.

Chuck, you are right. I did, didn't I?