There Once was a Man who Spoke Country

Today is my father-in-law’s birthday.  Here’s a poem to honor one of the funniest moments I’ve experienced with him as we discovered the secret to understanding his country draw.  Happy Birthday Greg.

There Once was a Man who Spoke Country

There once was a man who spoke country.
His voice filled with accent and tobaccie.
Red handkerchiefs of southern culture danglers
From his back blue jean pocket of his wranglers.

His age not even close to being retired
And yet his friends were all old and expired.
And the rhythm he spoke carried a southern draw,
one you might find hard to break apart and thaw

Words he used could make a yankee boy titter:
Doohicky, thingamajig, and flat as flitter.
His son-in-law, a city boy, had a hard time
Understanding the phrases of his particular rhyme.

Until one day all that changed, the stars aligned
and language and hope and comprehension combined.
The city boy and country man sat with family together
To play a game that their destiny would eventually tether.

A board game they played, on a cold country day
Around a coffee table, a card he drew and must obey.
“Speak like a Russian” the country man’s card read
And all waited in suspense to hear what he said.

To their great surprise, as if life now a riddle,
The words he spoke were clear as a whistle.
Perfect english pronunciation flowed from this tongue
And the yankee boy sat in awe, his world undone.

Laughter erupted, roaring through the air
tearing through the cold and breaking all despair.
The code had been cracked, life now made sense,
and together they laughed in all of their accents.

A lesson I’m sure there is to be found
when trying to understand someone more sound.
Listen closely to their words, hear their discussion.
And if that doesn’t work ask them to speak Russian.

By Rob Collins
For Greg Harbin


4 thoughts on “There Once was a Man who Spoke Country

  1. Greg Harbin

    With all the words i have at command
    i’m sure that you’ll never quite understand
    My words are of wisdom, tho sometimes they drool
    and your pokin’ fun is sometimes plain cruel.

    Our bond is a friendship
    that ain’t understood
    But you ought not make cracks
    ’bout i don’t talk so good.

    I’ve said it before
    and i’ve said it out loud
    Of both of my “boys”
    i’ve ALWAYS been proud.

    So let’s call it even
    and toast with a glass
    I’ll kiss your right cheek
    and you…..well, you just keep makin’ me proud, Rob…

    With all the words i have at command, you’ll NEVER know what my poem meant this day!

  2. Lloyd & Barbara

    Rob, I just found your blog spot (I guess that is right to call it a blog spot) You surprise me every time I listen or read something from you! You will become a great and wise preacher as you grow older. Do not change your attitude and Love for Christ. I Love you and Casey (Greg)


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