Friday, June 29, 2012

People In Hell Want Iced Water, Too

This is what I grew up hearing from a neighbor's Dad.  He was a single Dad, which was an infrequent situation in the late 1960s.  He had one daughter my age.  After we each had finished our homework and whatever chores were on the docket for the day, we met outside and played until it got dusky.  That was our cue we had to go in - to our respective homes.  If we got thirsty, we drank from the garden hose.  Had to let it run awhile or the water was hot enough to make tea, but if you let it run a minute or two the water became cool enough to quench our thirst.  There were no Capri Suns then.  There weren't juice boxes or Powerades, bottled water or instant powder packets to flavor your bottle of water.  There was water.  Out the garden hose.

My friend's Dad worked hard.  I don't remember what he did for a living (I was eight years old.  It wasn't what I paid attention to.) but it must've been some kind of mechanical work because his hands were always dirty, fingernails always greasy, and white t-shirt always sweat stained.  When he got home, he got a beer from the fridge and put it up to his cheek and said "Ohhhhhhh yeah".  Then of course he proceeded to drink it (and several more).  For this reason, I was never allowed to go IN my friend's house.  We were Play-Outside-Friends only.

At any rate, occasionally my friend's Dad would come outside where we were playing in the packed sand street of the cul de sac (although they weren't called that then.  They were dead end streets and our particular one dead ended into a sand dune.) and watch us play, and talk to us for a few minutes before stumbling back inside for another beverage.   Every now and then when that particular situation occurred, my friend and I would have been discussing a new toy we had seen on TV or heard of from another friend.  My friend would say, "Dad, I want a (fill in the blank).  It's a new toy."  It NEVER failed, my friend's Dad responded the same. way. every. time.

"People in Hell want iced water, too, Sookie Jane."

My friend already knew what that answer was going to be.  She would face me and mouth the words along with her Dad as he spoke them.  As I recall she added a massively dramatic eyeroll and a diva sigh for effect. I think when you are eight years old, you listen to these pat Parental Advise Comments but don't hear them.  Never in a million years would you spend time focusing on what it means and how it pertains to your predicament.  It was simply the response you knew you were going to get.  Here are some more I grew up with:

"He's drunk as Cooter Brown."  

"Do you kiss your Mama with that mouth?"

"You don't know your ear from a hole in the ground."

"You keep lookin' in that mirror you'll see the Devil."

"You are cruisin' for a bruisin'."

"If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one."

I was well into adulthood when at some point I would hear one of these quotes and a light bulb would come on. I'd recognize there was truly a legitimate, appropriate, and meaningful connection to a real life situation in the words of the quote, and I was to connect the dots and apply it.  DOH!!  

I still would like to meet Cooter Brown.