Sunday morning 6:00 a.m. and I’ve been awake for what seems like hours. Attila is sleeping, the windows are spaces coloured black. With cabin fever one cannot afford to lie in bed for too long, black thoughts eventually outrun you. So here I am at the keyboard, at six on a Sunday morning, by lamplight. “Ain’t nobody here but us chickens.”
My inner voice has all sorts of sayings and phrases from my childhood. I hardly notice them and seldom verbalize them. This morning they are keeping me company.
Funny, the phrase “ain’t nobody here but us chickens” has always been a part of my world. I never thought about the origin until this morning, and it does make sense. It is possible that I listened to the Decca release of this song as a child, or perhaps just heard the adults around me use the phrase. My grandparents had a windup gramophone and we delighted in playing “old” records; which were actually relatively recent releases in those days, but since they belonged to my grandparents we thought of them as “old”. My favorite song as a child was Side by Side by Harry Woods, although I don’t know who performed the song on the actual recording we played, it might have been Nick Lucas or Kay Starr.
Tonight the outdoor temperature is due to dip to -27C. Attila will try to get ahead of this cold snap by splitting and toting enough wood for three fires in the masonry heater and two separate firings of the little wood stove downstairs. Heating with wood is a love/hate thing, love the heat, the crackle, the dancing flames and hate the inflexibility, chopping, splitting, toting, wood chips, ash and cleaning. Mist thinks this is just silly, wood heat is all good; until the humans fall behind in the quest for fire.
I usually pay no attention to jokes, as many of them these days are made at the expense of others. A fellow “classmate”, who attended the program for old workers with me, forwards email jokes and images that she finds amusing. I love her sense of humour and enjoy almost all the missives she sends my way. Neither she nor I were assisted by the program in finding work that would support us, so the humourous messages are a nice way of keeping in touch without bemoaning the deplorable state of non-employment/under-employment we both experience. This morning three new jokes appeared in my inbox, two of which elicited loud guffaws from both Attila and myself. One of them I found on the Internet, moral of the church gossip, classified as a church joke. However, to my mind it represents life in a small town, or in any place/group with a limited membership and control issues.
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Humidity: 92 %
Wind: WNW 5 km/h
Wind Chill: -14
“who… didn’t show any bitterness about his truncated life, as if he were oblivious to all the evil he had suffered. How different the old man was from some Chinese dissidents who were well supported by universities and foundations.”
A Free Life by Ha Jin (2007)
Song: There Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens (1946 hit)
by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
“There ain’t nobody here but us chickens
There ain’t nobody here at all
So calm yourself,
And stop your fuss
There ain’t nobody here but us
We chickens tryin’ to sleep,
And you butt in
And hobble, hobble hobble hobble
With your chin”
Joke: moral of the church gossip
“Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra-curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.
She emphatically told George and several others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing. George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.”
Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house … and left it there all night.