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Winthrop Potters Letter to Pastor Knootsin

Sir, in all my ninety-years – has the Lord forgotten me? – I ain’t put a foot in church no more times than fingers on one hand, a fact you pius folk might think wicket, and my dead wife never let me forgit, houndin’ me like she done most of our fifty years of bedlock (not all bliss, neither) until I put her under some twenty years ago, I guess – and a good woman she was, too. But now to the point: before she went down and went her way up yonder as you churchers say, she pleaded me with bawlin’ that I’d go “under the water” and get myself a good dunkin’ – before I get called to her – and we be man and wife once more (but in a nicer way, she was always tellin’ me), and, well, ya know, enjoy ourselfs as the Lord meant for man and wife, and with improved bodies, I am prayin’ hard. Well, sir, Pastor Knootsin, I ain’t sayin’ I said Yes or I said No. Truth is, I ain’t said nothin’, not a word since her head dropped on the pillow before I could say nothin’. It happened that fast, it did. Now that was goin’ on twenty years ago, and I ain’t done much nothin’ ‘bout it since, except some months ago when my trusty hound “Sniffer” – best dog ever was – fell through the ice chasin’ a coyote and was carried down river, he was. The McKonkle boys found him days later wedged between some rocks, frozen stiff. Nearly kill me to bury him – I ain’t given to tears or foolish lady feelins, (not even when the wife decreased), but I come darn close with my hound. Best dog I ever had, he was – could catch a flushed out quail like he had wings, he could; and run down a rabbit until the critter could kick up dirt no more. Well, sir, Pastor Knootsin, I’ve been givin’ some thinkin’ of late ‘bout what the wife said – ‘bout goin’ under for a dunkin’ I mean. I figure it’s time. Got this feelin’ in my belly – not a voice, mind you – just a feelin’ that my time is come. You bein’ a man of God, you must know the feelin’. Now, you know I ain’t got much schoolin’ or fancy readin’ – only got as far as grade six, mind you, like most boys of my day. And I ain’t got nothin’ against books and them edjucation things, neither. As I see it, books don’t make a man – and I’ve known quite a few of them edjucation boys – nice and polite, most of ‘em, but dummer than a stubborn cow when it come to takin’ my advice on simple praktable things. Made me proud I never got beyond grade six, it did. But stupid I ain’t, and I done the best with the little I was givin’ – the wife always said so – and you bein’ edjucated and all, you can see I ain’t lived this long by bein’ dumm or idle. Thankin’ you in advance, Pastor Knootsin. Now I ain’t the kind to tell another man his bisness, no I ain’t – except in this matter. Sure wouldn’t want to miss the occasion and get the wife upseted like she was liken to when forgot to do an important errand for her – you know how a wife can be, I suppose. And, oh, Pastor, Sir, one last request: About “Sniffer” – ya think he’s up there with the wife? He sure got hisself a darn good dunkin’. And well, I know he’d be alot happier with me there too.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021




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Date: 4/26/2021 2:31:00 PM
Sorry, love, it's not hillbilly but New England Yankeeism – like I heard it spoken growing up. Somehow it didn't get lost in the other languages I carry in my head! Glad you enjoyed it. Many thanks for commenting. / Maurice
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Date: 4/26/2021 2:25:00 PM
I know Sniffer is up there with the Missus. This is such a tribute to your knowledge of good ole hillbilly conversation!
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Maurice Rigoler
Date: 4/26/2021 6:30:00 PM
Sorry, love, it's not hillbilly but New England Yankeeism – like I heard it spoken growing up. Somehow it didn't get lost in the other languages I carry in my head! Glad you enjoyed it. Many thanks for commenting. / Maurice
Date: 4/25/2021 2:28:00 PM
Maurice, you held me from the first word to the last, and that's saying something! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Writing dialect like this is not easy, I know, for I've tried my hand at it several times over the years. You've done a fine, fine job!
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Maurice Rigoler
Date: 4/25/2021 5:06:00 PM
The dialect in this poem is based on listening to real Yankee characters I knew as a young man some 70 years ago! I've written at least a dozen poems based on Yankee speech and characters etc. It pleases me that you enjoyed reading it. Many thanks. / Maurice
Date: 4/25/2021 1:44:00 PM
maurice - i don't always read such a long poem to the end, but i enjoyed this so much i was sorry to see it reach its conclusion. you really nailed this character's voice in the most entertaining way! thank you for a delightful read...
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