Don't rightly know folk first off, (my papa said)
see'in howse they are proper s'picous
o' people askin' questions nun there bus'ness.
Well, I remembered that strong
and kept my council close,
and my comments small like whittle shavings
until my stick was sharp --
no purpose though 'cept
showin' I respected a keen edge
and slow patient stone
spit on after a swoller of cider. (learnt from Granny)
I was sittin' idle with friends
and dogs feet up in the sun lazy
when the Parson amble by to invite
hisself to dinner and pluckin'
by the night fire afore
the story tellin'.
"You might be needing that stick there,"
he offered, then said nuthin'.
Now I scratched my mem'ry
of preacher stories and local talk,
but didn't free no tick
'cept maybe that rumor 'bout
a skeleton up to Clevis Ridge
with Hawthorn stakes
through its eyes.
Parson was like that --
a simple little statement meanin' nuthin'
and every Jack and Jane were afixin'
to tell a ghost yarn that night.
Me? I set to figurin' how he was gwanna
turn this scarry fedaddle
into some spiritual lesson.
Well, nigh on whisper ember time
with no one willin' to put another log --
and the stories new all gone
and the old'ones half told again,
it came to me that bein' skeert
was all from not knowin'
but wantin' to set an answer
where none fit --
and of wantin' to warn youngins
of hid dangers and trouble lurkin'
which stuck in mem'ry fast
when yer eyeballs is big.
So I tweren't surpised
when Parson took his turn.
"I stopped by the Larkin cabin today."
"Here it comes," I thought.
Nobody been near that place since the fire,
what with Jeb toasted inside and all.
Single guys stopped chattin', and
couples nestled close quit spoonin' quick.
Yes sir -- they was ready to be scared.
"I heard all sorts of strange noises
and saw colored light between the logs,
and though of spooks or witches right off."
I grabbed by stick awaitin' there,
just ready fer the call. (not scared though!)
"Yup! If I had hung back and skulked away,
like some folks I be knowing …," (he offered slow)
"I'd be tellin' you now to stay far away,
and fetch yer kids up from the pond." (his hands aflyin')
"but I went right up and offered my hand,
just like the Book been tellin' you,
and even helped a bit with cleaning,
and painting and putting windows in."
I kinda chortled low.
"Fella name of Fred Fowler bought the place,
and is fixing it up something grand,
seeing he has only one arm from the war.
And his Annie gal sure turned a chicken right,
and said she was baking berry pies
in case other nice folk herebouts
He turned to me and grinned.
"That stick will help a lot
with the chinking in narrow cracks.
I told them I'd be seein' some neighbors
and pass the word …"
Then Parson done what he always do,
just strolled off alone,
never skeert a'nothin'.