I Cain't Tell It!
by JIM "PAPPY" MOORE
Sep 10, 2017 | 573 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One of the things I like best about living in a small town is the way of speaking which has endured. It's not uncommon to speak to complete strangers at the grocery store while in line, or in the parking lot of a general store.

"How's the world treatin' you today?" rings out the question. "Oh, I cain't tell it!" might be the rejoinder. The "g" on "treating" must be omitted, just as the "i" must be added to "can't" to make it sound right. These are the kind of expressions which have been said in East Texas among friends, acquaintances and strangers for at least the past six decades. I treasure these traditions living on.

Another one is "how are you doing today?" You might reply "I can't complain." Your friendly stranger might reply, "wouldn't help if you did!" These are the type of hellos that have been around ages, and those who use them find comfort in their currency.

"Is it ever gonna rain?" we hear when it's been dry. "Is it ever gonna stop rainin'?" we hear when it's been wet. Use them often. Rinse and repeat.

"I don't remember the summers being this hot when I was growing up" we might say. The guy standing next to us in line might reply "It couldn't a been! We ran around outside all day and didn't have air conditioning when we went in the house." You might add "unless it was one of those old moldy water coolers with a fan that blew across water."

Sometimes all it takes is a look and a sigh. One person looks at a youngster with his waistline on his jeans hanging too far down. He makes eye contact without another senior citizen who is checking out the same thing. The stranger lets out a sigh, and you reply "what are you gonna do?"

There's a little man I see at the grocery store. Don't know his name, don't know him, but we have a running dialogue about his favorite topic - the Houston Astros. He sees me in the store or parking lot and calls out "did you get to see them play last night?" "No, I missed the game. What happened?" I'd reply. He'd come back with "oh, they won again!" If it makes him happy telling me, it makes me happy listening.

People mosey on over to where the Chief of Police is having breakfast. "They keepin' y'all busy?" The Chief smiles and responds "always!"

Life is friendlier in a small town. People expect things to move at a slower pace. People expect others to be courteous, or at least cordial. People expect to have short, relatively meaningless conversations with the person standing next to them, or that they pass in the store or the parking lot. It takes so little time to be friendly, you have to wonder why it's not done everywhere.

Copyright 2017, Jim "Pappy" Moore, all rights reserved.

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