I Said It Was The Guv’ner
Being vocal is an understatement when referring an older sister who is the youngest of three girls. But to tell the truth, it sort of runs in the whole family. From here on and in other cases you will know her as “Momma Lou”. That’s what her herd of grand-young’uns call her. She likes to do, what we pronounce down here as “arr-gee”. She’s gonna do her dangdest to have the last word, but this story is only partially about Momma Lou.
“No, Momma Lou, it didn’t happen that way. I was not even there that night.” Convincing her is like trying to talk a frog out of his croaking.
“Yes, dadgum (my word, not hers) it you were. You and Toodlums were there picking your guitars when I got there.”
“No, that was the party that ya’ll throwed over at the Scout Hut when ‘Snag’ Larson told everyone his family was being transferred and everyone put together a going away party.” He made the whole thing up because it was customary for the students to give parties in honor of those whose families got transferred. The oil patch was playing out and getting transferred was a common thing. ‘Snag’ hoodwinked the whole bunch with that one.
“Well, it did happen that way.”
“Nope, did not”
“Did too, Glenn Bert.”
Shaking my head from side to side, “Did not.”
“Shut up ‘fore I slap the shit out of you, I SA-IDD it was the Guv’ner.” Spit spewed with a fine mist as the word “Guvner” came out as we both busted out laughing. I knew I had convinced her of her error but she will never admit to it.
Several other members of the family, sitting around the table, busted out squealing and laughing and hee-hawing. The Boss has been around my family since about the time she grew out of her diaper age and started to school. She laughed with everyone else because it really was a funny, or at least amusing, sight. I caught her eye and I figured out pretty quick she didn’t “get it” and reckon you don’t either.
One of the countless Sundays all three sisters and brother-in-laws were at our house for eating one meal or the other. The main munching had pretty much run its course and we were talking and telling tales with about thirteen conversations going on. That week a representative from the governor’s office had addressed some part of the student body at a neighboring university. It seems to be big local news. The TV news and newspapers had just about worn the story “see through” thin. Whatever his speech had been about was not important. It was the fact that a state official would come so close to where we were. Actually they did that all the time but somehow this was different.
My mother, from here on in this story and future reference, and because all the grand kids call her by this title, will be referred to as Grannie. Grannie always sat at the end of the table and at the adjoing corner Paw Paw took his place. Paw Paw was still finishing his helping of “Arish Stew” and Grannie had pretty much finished up.
“D’jall hear ‘bout the guv’ner coming down to the college this week?” She was picking at a cup of peach cobbler.
PawPaw had just shoveled in a big tablespoon full of stew and chewed several times. “Maw, it wuddent the guv’ner it was one of his men.” That’s what he called her most of the time; Maw. He continued with another spoonful.
“It wuz too the guv’ner. That’s what they been saying for several days up at the Court House Café.” Grannie had worked several years there and knew quite a few people that talked about these type things. “I guess they oughta know what they’re talking about.”
“Well Maw,,,,it waddunt the guv’ner. It was somebody he sent up here to talk for him.” Paw Paw seldom got rilled and was not anywhere close to being where he actually gave a flip one way or another. Now, you take Grannie, she had sort of a temper at times. You could gauge the level of that temperament by the swinging of her leg back and forth crossed over one or the other knee. The swinging was now pretty “peurt”. That was a word from Paw Paw. I never really knew the origin but it means fairly fast or quick: peurt.
Leg swinging stopped: “It wuuuzz the guv’ner.”
“Naw it wuddnet , Maw.” Leaning over his bowl so he wouldn’t drip taking in another spoonful of stew. The thirteen conversations stopped to none. It was kind of like watching a checkers game. Who’s going to move where, next?
“I am going to,,,,slap you,,,,right,, square-daabb ,,,,in,,,the mouth,,,,,,,I saaaiiid,,,,,it,,,,wuuzzz,,,,tha GUV’NER!” Finger pointing and peering down her nose.
It sounded like the Fighting Red Devils had just scored the winning touchdown in the last two seconds of the game. We could not hold it back.
Stifling a laugh and settling for a smirky smile, Paw Paw looked down the table to where I was sitting, swallowed his mouthful of stew and surrendered.
“Well, eye God, Maw, I guess it wuuzzz the Guv,ner then.” The roar of the crowd erupted again.
“Yep. Momma Lou, eye God, you are right. I suppose it wuuzzz the Guv’ner.”