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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Twisted Talk


Coy-Bow. Sans guns . . . 

My Dad had a speech impediment.
Sometimes, he said things backwards.
Oh, he could control it.
He just chose not to.
An odd trait for someone who was such a stickler for proper pronunciation at all other times.
And don't try to tell me that doesn't have any effect on a young child learning to talk.
For years, I thought the song, Rock-a-Bye Baby went like this:
Rock a bay bybee
On the tee trop.
When the blind woes,
The radle will crock.
When the brough bakes,
The fadle will crawl.
And down will bum caby
Adle and crawl.

You're right. That's not even English. But that's how I thought it went.
I heard some kids singing it the right way and totally confronted them. It happened something like this:
Me: What are you singing?
Them: Rock a Bye Baby.
Me: That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
Them: Let's play somewhere else.

As years went by, I realized that we really didn't put the dirty dishes in the washdisher.
Or that salt didn't come out of a shakesalter.
And that my favourite ice cream wasn't scutterbotch.
Others had to find out for themselves.
My nephew, two-year-old Michael was staying with us while his parents prepared to receive his little brother. The imminent arrival scheduled for, at most two weeks, stretched to six.
Leaving little, impressionable, just-learning-to-speak Michael at the mercy of his grandfather.
It was a happy six weeks . . .
Michael was playing cowboys. And had dressed accordingly.
He had his gun and holster.
His boots.
His overlarge hat.
And his training pants.
He was ready.
Grandpa had just come in from outside and was sitting in his easy chair, waiting for lunch.
Michael stalked up to him in his best 'gunman' style. "Stick 'em up!"
Oh, he was good.
Dad looked at him. "What are you? A coy-bow?"
Okay, for years, I thought that was how it was said . . .
"No, Crumpa, gow-boy!"
"Coy-bow."
"Gow-boy!" He stuck to his guns, so to speak. And his pronunciation.
Dad, one last time. "Coy-bow."
Michael was starting to get a little confused, however. "Gow-pot!"
That's when I broke in. "Michael, do you have to go potty?"
"No! No! Gow-boy!"
Dad laughed. "You're right, Michael, Gow-boy."
Michael had outlasted his grandfather.
A noble feat.
I don't want you to think that my Dad bombarded us with twisted talk all of the time. It was the exception rather than the rule.
And he always correct us afterwards.
But it was fun while it lasted.

10 comments:

  1. Well scutterbotch and bellyjeans...do you think our dads might have been related?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure of it. That would explain a lot . . .

      Delete
  2. My husband is guilty of this as well. I shudder for my children's speech sometimes...

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is too funny! I had trouble following the conversation between your dad and Michael - it takes talent to speak that way!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is so unusual--but it looks like you've gotten quite good with the whole "play on words" thing. . My husband likes to rhyme everything. It drives me crazy because I feel the need to chime in as well. Those little marathons can last hours. Well, let's just hope it's exercising our brains....

    ReplyDelete
  5. My dad did this to any word he could. The, the significant pause, until we roared, No, Dad.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Haha! Sounds like fun, actually. And a whole category of word play unto itself :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Diane, your daddy sounds like such a fun person! All children should have someone who is as playful as this! I grew up in a military household. My daddy was a hard core United States soldier. No scutterbotch or bellyjeans for me! hee hee! :)

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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