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Those of you that read this irregular regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile of so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a redneck sort of place, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

I never write about living people except with their express permission, but since these folks are long gone, they are fair game.  They were actually very nice folks, but had some huge quirks, as most folks in my little town did.

Perilee and Sarge were just a little older than my parents.  Sarge (to this day, I never knew his real first name) had been in the Army during World War II. thus the name.  As far as I know they were both native of the area.

Sarge was a big old guy, whilst Perilee was very petite.  She was very quiet and very nice, whilst he was boisterous but also very nice.  I remember that they had a blue Volkswagen Beetle, this being around 1967, give or take a year or two.  Sarge had had cataract surgery, which at the time meant wearing glasses with extremely thick lenses, since lens implants in the modern sense did not exist.

I remember one afternoon my mum and I had walked to the store (only a few hundred feet from our house) and ran into Sarge.  He had just gotten his surgery and was getting used to his new glasses.  He went on and on about how he just could barely see (he was trying to get disability for that at the time, I strongly suspect).  After serenading my mum and me about how he was just about blind, he got into his car and started to drive away.  He hesitated, realizing the position into which he had just put himself.  Then he told us that he did not know why, but as soon as he got behind the steering wheel that the windshield made it so that he could see just fine for driving!  I know that German engineering is world class, but had not ever heard of corrective windshield lenses before.

That was typical Sarge.  He was, as I said, a really nice guy, but he was a tall tale artist.  I think that he actually believed his own tales, as is often the case with tall tale artists.  He was never the type to tell bad things about people, just to inflate (or make from whole cloth) his adventures and situations.

Perilee liked to dress up nicely.  I mean literally wearing evening gowns to come to the little country store to get groceries.  They just lived up the street from the store, so often she would pull a red children's wagon to tote her groceries back, in evening wear and a parasol to keep the sun off of her.  She was quite a site.  She sort of resembled Aunt Clara (the original one) in Bewitched, but was more petite.

They never had children, which is probably a good thing, but they always had a dog.  The one that I remembered (they live across the street from my friend's grandparents) was a larger chihuahua, and not an unpleasant one.  They treated it like a child, to the point of serving it dinner at the table with them.  I forget the dog's name, but remember that bacon sandwiches were his favorite dinner.  He did not much care for the lettuce and tomato, though

Once my friend and I were at his grandparents house and Sarge got to talking about the constellations.  It was getting on towards fall, so he started telling us about "Arthur".  He went on and on and on, and I had never heard of a constellation named Arthur.  He finally described it well enough that I knew about what he was speaking, especially when he told us that Arthur was also called "The Hunter".  How in the world he got Orion confused with "Arthur" is still beyond me, but as I said, he was a tall take artist.

Another time he began telling us about praying mantises.  He correctly told us about how they ate other insects, and then really went off the deep end.  He started raving about how they would emit "blue smoke" to subdue other insects by blinding them.  He also told us that if that smoke got in our eyes, it would blind us, too.  We both wanted to laugh, but had been brought up to show respect to our elders so we did what we had been taught, just to smile and nod.

I did not have as much contact with them as I had with some of the others about whom I write from time to time, so this is a rather short piece.  I will leave you with a memory that I have of him that was so funny that I did have to laugh, but only when my friend and I got out of earshot.

Sarge was painting his house, in a traditional white.  My friend and I were playing at his grandparent's house again and as kids are wont to do, began watching him paint.  He was on the ladder, so his back was towards us for quite a while.  He know that we were there, so it was not like we were sneaking up on him or anything.  He was doing a competent job painting, so I guess that he had gotten used to his glasses.

He got tired of being on the ladder and climbed down to change position for a while.  Now, I know that if I paint with a brush I often get paint on my hands, and I suspect most people do as well.  Sarge had also gotten paint on his fingers.  That is not a big deal.  He was wearing old painting clothes and old painting shoes, so nothing was really a problem.

It was when he turned around that my friend and I just about lost it.  Sarge, and I have said, was a veteran, and at the time veterans tended to keep with the military haircut and to be clean shaven.  Sarge did not have a lot of hair, but he did keep what he had trimmed in the military style and was clean shaven.  He also did not a single spot of paint on his face.  However, he did have two streaks, from his upper lip, each going into a nostril!  The interiors of each nostril were also bright white as far as we could see.

My friend and I politely told him that we had to go and we wished each other a good afternoon and the two of us went to his grandparent's house and got behind it so he could not see or hear us collapsing onto the ground with convulsions of laughter.  It was one of the strangest sights that I had ever seen.

If you have any stories about your early memories, please feel free to add them in the comments.  I would ask that you confine your comments to childhood memories, as I would rather not have this series be a de facto Facebook.

Warmest regards,

Doc

Originally posted to Translator on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 05:22 PM PDT.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips and recs for (19+ / 0-)

    recollecting old memories?

    Warmest regards,

    Doc

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

    by Translator on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 05:22:34 PM PDT

  •  I've often said (7+ / 0-)

    that no one is gone as long as there's someone to remember them.  Thanks for introducing me to Perilee and Sarge.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 05:25:34 PM PDT

  •  Hi Doc! (6+ / 0-)

    I sure hope you don't run out of people in your little town :)

  •  I'm new to following this group and (4+ / 0-)

    series, and I have to say I'm sorry I didn't find it sooner.

    I will definitely search out your other tales and look forward to more.

    Thank you!

    You go to war with the TROLLS you have, not the TROLLS you might want or wish to have at a later time.

    by klompendanser on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 07:10:07 PM PDT

    •  Thanks! I love new readers! (5+ / 0-)

      I am only a contributor to the group, so can not influence when things get published to it.  However, pieces like this are now regular, and I plan to publish them on or around 9:00 PM Eastern every Wednesday evening.

      At the risk of being accused of diary pimping, I have two other regular series, both at 9:00 PM Eastern.  On Friday evenings, it is Popular Culture, and topic range from music, to television (I call it TeeVee), to any other media topic.  (The previous one was a complete treatment of The Who Sell Out, one of the best albums by The Who).  The other is Pique the Geek, on Sunday evenings, and is about science and technology.  (Usually, but I also like history, and the previous one was about the pre Judeo-Christian origins of Easter, and other Easter related topics).  I hope that you give them a try.  Comments are ALWAYS welcome, as the feedback from readers allows me to improve my content.  Tips and recs are also always welcome.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

      by Translator on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 07:19:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Arthur" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mama jo, Translator, Socratic Method

    Do you think it could be a corruption of "The Archer"?  I would say a mis-hearing, but it sounds like something he heard quite accurately - and whoever he heard it from got it that way.

    Thank you for a lovely diary.

    •  I had never thougt of that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Socratic Method

      You might be quite right, since he was pretty accurate otherwise.

      Thanks for expanding my mind, as thoughtful comments often do.  I always think that the comments are the best part of my posts.  Please read and comment often!

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

      by Translator on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 08:45:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks, doc-- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator, Socratic Method

    your diaries are always a good read for me:

    1)  i try to understand the scientific ones,

    2)  i Love the who,  and

    3)  your hometown stories always send me back
         in time, and re-kindle a forgotten memory from
         my own youth.

    •  You are very kind! (3+ / 0-)

      Just a few remarks about your points.

      1)  I think that science should be demystified.  That is why I write Pique the Geek.  Science is actually elegantly simple, with only half a dozen concepts that you have to know inside and outside.  If I write anything that you do not understand, just post a comment and I shall do my best to explain.  You have been a reader long enough to know that I am very faithful to my readers, and will do my best to make it understandable.  That is why I, very long ago, took this name.

      2) The Who are (or, unfortunately, were) one of the top five greatest rock and roll bands ever.  I continue to sing (if I could) their merits from the rooftops.  Obviously, they are my favorite band.

      3)  We are all children of our upbringing.  I would like to hear some of your stories.

      Warmest regards, and please comment often.

      Doc

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

      by Translator on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 08:51:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and i appreciate your efforts (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Translator, Socratic Method

        at science de-mystification!  i am totally a right-
        brained person [english lit teacher, half-assed arts-
        and-craftsman...craftsperson...whatever.]

        despite my struggles with understanding science,
        i love reading about it, and am so glad when i "get"
        something.

        thank you for your gracious offer to explain--
        Translate, as it were --science things.

        2)  agreed.  definitely in the top five.  [altho my fave,
             as a solo act:  joni mitchell.   musician And poet,
             ...and also an artist.]

        cheers--

         

        •  You might not know that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mama jo, Socratic Method

          English is one of my passions.  I am teaching myself West Saxon, and relating it to modern English.  Unfortunately, West Saxon is the literary, preserved piece, but our language acutally derives from a different dialect.

          Warmest regards,

          Doc

          Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

          by Translator on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 10:04:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ha! i got in an argument one time (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Translator, Socratic Method

            with a lawyer---undergrad in eng. lit.,  j.d. from
            notre dame----waaaay outta my educational league,

            who insisted that the english/american language
            was mainly derived from the latin.

            i respectfully told him that he was wrong---that eng.
            is primarily based in old germanic.

            he didn't believe me, of course.
            but sometimes you just have to stand your ground.

            we changed the subject then.

            cheers---

            •  To your good standing your ground, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mama jo, Socratic Method

              you are about 85% correct.  English has lost most of the inflections for nouns, substituting them for French phrasal ones, but you are much more correct that wrong.

              Warmest regards,

              Doc

              Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

              by Translator on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 10:30:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for another great story (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator, Socratic Method

    You asked me why I like your writing. It's tender and full of affection. In this I related your descriptions to people in my life. Mary Louise Henzie. Her face was frozen in a snarl and her eyes didn't work together. She wore mismatched clothes on her almost daily walk to the little neighborhood grocery store. We would say hello, but no more, in case a neighbor heard us and told our parents were were harassing her. Knowing more about mental illness now, she had some strengths to be admired.

    •  I understand but am troubled by this: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sallym, Socratic Method
      We would say hello, but no more, in case a neighbor heard us and told our parents were were harassing her.

      The problem in understanding your message is the "were were" phrase.  I am sure that it was a typo, but it distorts your meaning.  We are friends, so please take your time and go into detail.

      Did you harass her, or were you were just saying hello to her?  It matters a lot, as a future piece will point out here. The way I read your comment, you were being nice and your parents were the ugly acting ones.

      Please be honest.  Even if you were less than kind then, it was a very long time ago, and you likely learnt not to be mean from that example.

      I am beginning to think that this series might be the most important one that I ever have thought of written, because it, unlike science, sort of forces us to examine our own souls.

      Please be frank, and never call me Frank!  LOL!  We need a joke now and then when examining such soul searching topics.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

      by Translator on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 10:14:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks very much for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Socratic Method

    the Community Spotlight placement!  All that I can say is thank you, and that I hope that you enjoy the piece.

    Warmest regards,

    Doc

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

    by Translator on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 11:13:47 PM PDT

    •  you're very welcome (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoosierDeb, Translator

      I found it charming and thought other folks might, too.

      Did you know that if you access your diary through the CS group blog view you can see who rescued your diary and read their blurb about it?

      I'm never sure if people know this or not.  One of the little things I've always enjoyed about the rescued diaries are the little blurbs the rangers write.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 01:09:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I did not know that, but now I do. (0+ / 0-)

        I remember the old Version 3 Rescue Rangers, but this seems to be much more efficient.  I am just now beginning to learn the expanded features of Version 4.  Unlike many reactionaries, I really like Version 4, even though it has some quirks.

        Warmest regards,

        Doc

        Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

        by Translator on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 07:11:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What a cute story! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator, Socratic Method

    Sarge and Perilee seem to have been made for each other.

    "They had fangs. They were biting people. They had this look in their eyes,totally cold, animal. I think they were young Republicans."

    by slouching on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 11:38:24 PM PDT

    •  The longer that I live, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Socratic Method

      the more examples that I see.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

      by Translator on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 11:48:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I just love the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Translator

      evening gown at the grocery store.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 01:09:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  With Sarge as a husband, where (0+ / 0-)

        is a girl to go in an evening gown?  LOL!

        Next week we shall discuss Francis Worthen, the lady that ran the railroad depot.  This will be a hoot, especially when I reveal that she and another woman were "hot" for the same man, late in their 60s.

        Warmest regards,

        Doc

        Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

        by Translator on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 07:13:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hey Doc! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator

    Reposted to Personal Storytellers, and thanks for continuing to write these awesome personal accounts. Sarge sounds hilarious!  

    Breathe. If you can, you ain't dead yet.

    by Socratic Method on Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 11:56:29 PM PDT

  •  Corrective windshield lenses for cars.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator

    German engineering...you may be on to something Doc.  

    I can see it now..."Why wear glasses when you drive? Use our Prescriptive windshield for better driving vision and save your glasses for reading books".
    Brought to you by Better vision by Ford...or something like that.  Have it as an option like power windows or heated power seats.

    "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General.

    by Mr SeeMore on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 12:45:07 AM PDT

    •  I was just little, and it (0+ / 0-)

      floored me!  That was before that I knew that I was extremely myopic.  Until several years later, when I got some horrible black plastic rimmed glasses, that I discovered that trees were not just green blobs, but actually had structure in their leaves.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

      by Translator on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 07:15:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another great diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator

    I have hotlisted it as well. Off to work !

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time." ~ Harry Truman

    by ozsea1 on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 07:50:06 AM PDT

    •  Thank you very much! (0+ / 0-)

      Comments, tips, and recs are the mother's milk for unpaid writers, so thanks for the encouragement.

      Warmest regards,

      Doc

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over, then either I really love you blindly or I am a Republican.

      by Translator on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 07:16:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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