OK, I can’t believe it but school starts for the girls on the 11th. Today’s poem is one my Dad used to have my brothers and I practice when we were in school, so that we would enunciate clearly and read aloud with expressiveness 🙂

Who goes around enunciating anymore? My Daddy was an old-fashioned Southern gentleman who believed in the beauty of language and the efficacy of communication. As a teen, I could escape discipline for any minor infractions (no smirking, please) if I could present a cogent argument for my point of view. It worked most off the time…

The Duel by Eugene Field

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat; 

‘Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!) 

Nor one nor t’other had slept a wink! 

The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate 

Appeared to know as sure as fate 

There was going to be a terrible spat. 

(I wasn’t there; I simply state 

What was told to me by the Chinese plate!) 

The gingham dog went “bow-wow-wow!” 

And the calico cat replied “mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so, 

With bits of gingham and calico,

While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place 

Up with its hands before its face, 

For it always dreaded a family row! 

(Never mind: I’m only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!) 

The Chinese plate looked very blue, 

And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!” 

But the gingham dog and calico cat 

Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw

In the awfullest way you ever saw- 

And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew! 

(Don’t fancy I exaggerate- 

I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning where the two had sat 

They found no trace of the dog or cat; 

And some folks think unto this day 

That burglars stole that pair away! 

But the truth about the cat and pup

Is this: they ate each other up!

Now what do you really think of that! 

(The old Dutch clock it told me so, 

And that is how I came to know.)

Play songs: Istanbul (try the version by They Might be Giants); The Weasel (Heywood Banks — you’d be surprised how funny a song about a garden tool can be); King Tut (Steve Martin); Banana Split for My Baby (Louis Prima); Greenback Dollar (Kingston Trio); Shipoopi (true, it’s funny in The Music Man, but OMG, The Family Guy’s version is riotous); Kaw-Liga (Hank Williams); Arkansas Traveler (try the Jerry Garcia & Dave Grisman version); If I had $1,000,000 (Barenaked Ladies); Doin’ What Comes Naturally (Doris Day has a great version); Hit the Road Jack (Buster Poindexter); Battle of New Orleans (Johnny Horton); Jeepers Creepers (Count Basie & Tony Bennett); and any version of Splish, Splash.

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road. –> Henry Ward Beecher

Take care,

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