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