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No, this was not President Trump’s final retort, to Jim Acosta, during the donnybrook in the East Room. But, if you read this little tale, you may find the phase on your lips at socially delicate moments. I report it just as my father tells it. Use with caution, my friends.
A Tale from My Father: The Inquisitive Postmistress
My home township in Pennsylvania had three crossroads villages, each with a general store. Each store had its own personality. The staff was typically small, two or three persons. It would offer canned and dry groceries, plus milk, sodas, and such. I remember the red letter day, in the late 1940’s, when one of them acquired an open top, floor model freezer, and offered, for the first time, Birdseye frozen vegetables.
The canned goods were stored on narrow shelves as high as the ceiling. They were retrieved by a long wooden pole, with a squeeze grip at one end and a grabber at the other, which would be used to tip the can off the shelf, so that it would drop into the clerk’s other hand. This is the origin of the baseball term, “a can of corn!”
The store also purveyed galoshes, muskrat traps, .22 ammunition, 3-in-One oil, and dollar pocket watches, that, in my experience, would tick for about a week.
The nearest such store sold gasoline; the school bus was a customer. Said bus would stop, en route home, and allow the children to run in, to buy penny candy: pinwheels, caramels, green leaves, licorice, anise dolls and non-pareils. They also had the post office concession, and thereby hangs a tale.
Things were sometimes quiet, and one of the staff—a woman well into later middle age, with gray hair pulled back severely, and wire-rimmed glasses—used to read the mail. Postcards were easy, sealed letters she held up to the light. No Stasi agent was more informed than she. especially when she could compare notes with a certain farmer’s wife who had access to a party line.
One time, my middle brother, about age ten, walked in and caught her reading the mail. She looked down at him, and, being well versed in customer relations, said: “What do you want?”
He replied, “A civil tongue in your head!”
That was his finest hour.
Ladies and gentlemen, the story you just read is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.