By Charles Cooper
Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.
As I’ve written several times over the years, I’m afraid that in this age where the tyranny of political correctness is running amok. We’re losing not only our southern way of talking, but also our legendary southern sense of humor. It’s almost impossible these days to write or speak about anything without offending someone.
Speaking for myself I say enough is enough. Until enough of us call their hand, they’ll continue to encroach on our freedom. What do they offer as an alternative—a society where nobody is responsible for anything, where it’s always someone else’s fault.
During the 75 years following the end of the War Between The States and the mobilization act just before World War II, southerners lived with adversity every day of their lives. They countered with a dry sense of humor, such as the farmer who told his mule he was better than him because he could vote but after the election he realized he had been a bigger jackass than his pappy.
Like John Wright, whose house was right on the edge of the road, which was the kid’s playground. When Jim Gore asked him why didn’t he go on and put his house in the road, Mr. Wright replied, “Then the kids wouldn’t have any place to play.”
When someone saw Alton Avant crossing the street with an axe and asked him where he was going, he replied, “I’m getting Mary’s ax sharpened It’s a sorry man who won’t keep his wife a sharp axe.”
My uncle, John Cooper, in spite of being warned, put some hot food in his mouth and struggled and finally swallowed. He was asked why he didn’t spit it out and he replied, “I didn’t want to burn a hole in the floor.”
An Evangelist named Swope came to hold a revival at Jumper’s Chapel. When Brother Kennedy asked him why he was wearing his winter suit he said, “If it keeps out cold, it’ll keep out heat.” The poor guy probably didn’t own another suit, but he dealt with it by making a joke.
When one of our neighbors crossed his legs you could see he had a big hole in his shoe. He was asked by a friend why he didn’t get it fixed. He said, “That’s the only way I can keep my feet cool.”
Papa Badley’s friend, Sump Smith, said that if a tornado approached, he was heading for the pea patch because the peas had saved his life for years and they would probably save him again.
An early country singer, Charlie Poole, was in court for hitting a policeman and the judge told him, “Mr. Poole, what you need is a good lawyer,” and Mr. Poole replied, “No, what I need are some good witnesses.”
In the 1920s, a lawyer with questionable ethics told a prospective client, “My fee is $200 and I’ll furnish the witnesses or $400 if you furnish the witnesses.”
Now I realize that today some of you younger people will wonder if we found things like that funny. But, these people were dealing with their hard lot in life with their dry sense of humor. Not only that, but it was always directed at themselves instead of others and that’s the key. Today everyone takes themselves too seriously. They also have too much time on their hands and exception to everything.
We southerners have a lot in which to take pride. For example, in 1736 John Wesley founded the first Sunday School in America in Savannah, Georgia. Still Wesley went back to England feeling that his trip to the New World had not been a success.
I still find evidence of the basic goodness in people because I had jammed a CD into my car player and my mechanic told me about a black man named Eric who could fix it. I went by his shop and he asked me if I had something to do for about 30 minutes.
He removed the unit and I ran a couple of errands. When I returned he put the unit back in and tested it. I asked him how much and he said, “Twenty dollars.”
This was a bargain as everyone I had contacted before wanted to sell me a new unit rather than fix the old one. I handed him the $20 dollars and he thanked me and handed it back and said, “Give this to your preacher Sunday.” This proves that in spite of all the negativity around us, there are more good people than bad if we would just look for them.
My email address is email@example.com or write me at P,O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101 and have a great week.