Sunday, January 27, 2019

Darke County Update #5

[Editor’s Note: Some of the following could maybe be true, though I wouldn’t put any money on it myself.]

There’s an important expression writers use. Whenever you hear someone teaching writing, or talking about the process of writing, someone’s gonna say it: “less is more.”

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Down right contradictory. But it’s true. Less is more. Leastwise, it is if you’re not talking about cash or wearing clothes. I can testify about the cash part. Less is definitely not more.

As regards clothing, I think some of the young folks get confused about that expression. Maybe their English Composition teachers didn’t tell ‘em, “Hey, we’re just talking about writing. Adverbs, adjectives, the passive voice. Words. That sort of thing.” These young people appear to believe it has something to do with how much clothes one wears. Less is more, right? In any case, there’s some young folks givin’ that saying a whirl when they dress for school.

I was talkin’ to Claudette the other day. And it really did threaten to take most of the day. The conversation, I mean. Talking to Claudette mostly involves listening—it’s sort of one-way. Claudette is one of those folks you wish applied the “less is more” principle to her conversation. Was gonna say I wish she applied it to her yacking but being as how I don’t want to upset my wife, we’ll just stick with conversation.

Claudette always has plenty of conversation. I do believe that lady could talk the hind leg off a mule. When you run into Claudette, you don’t check your watch, you check your calendar.

As I was saying, I was talking to Claudette and she was sharing, well, prayer requests about her neighbors. Leastwise, that’s what she called ‘em. Funny how those prayer requests were givin’ me a lot of information that I had no business knowing and she had no business telling.

So I was trying to distract her onto safer territory. “Say,” I says, “did you know Melvin’s sow had piglets?” Which is true. Melvin’s sow really did have her piglets.

Claudette snorted, “Oh, tosh! Josephine told me that two whole days ago. But you probably haven’t heard that Melvin’s wife was shouting at him in their backyard yesterday. Josephine thinks we should pray for their marriage and I agree.”

Actually, Claudette, Melvin’s wife was shoutin’ at him because he forgot where he put his hearing aids and that’s the only way she can get his attention when he’s not wearin’ ‘em. Don’t you go tellin’ stories about Melvin and his wife. You want to pray for something, pray that he finds those hearing aids.”

She wasn’t interested in Melvin’s piglets or his hearing aids, so I decided I’d best figure out how to move on before she started telling me about Roy’s son getting kicked out of college for dropping a cherry bomb down the toilet. He’d probably have gotten off with just a warning, except for the dormitory bathroom he bombed was on the fifth floor and by the time they got the water under control the first two floors had flooded. I’d already heard that story from Josephine myself.

Well, she was warmin’ up to another tale and I could see the whole day passin’ right before my eyes if I didn’t do something quick. So I dug my smartphone out of my pocket and pretended to be texting Claudette’s latest prayer requests to my wife. But actually, I confess that I was really dialing my own number. I answered it when it rang and acted like it was my wife calling me home because my son accidentally drove over the neighbor’s mailbox. Which wasn’t true of course—I was just desperate to get away from Claudette. After I disentangled myself from the dear woman and was driving home it hit me that it was not a good idea to lie to Claudette. First because lies don’t please the Lord and they always come back to haunt you anyway. And second, because by the end of the day half of Greenville will be praying for my neighbor’s mailbox.

Less is more. Certainly true in this case. The less time I spend listening to Claudette, the more thankful I am.

And that’s the news from Greenville.

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