A Haven for Vee

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Funny Old Book and Downeast Humor

Yes, what with two surgeries in the family this week, we're in need of a bit of levity.

Thank you for praying for Sam and family. He is home and doing a little better and will continue to do better. The family is still a bit frazzled...you know how vile the guilt monster can be. Sam will require more surgery in about a year as that metal plate in his leg can NOT stay. Odd as it seems, there is no cast. He'll move about on crutches or using a walker just his size.

And John and I thank you as well for praying for John's cataract surgeries. As of nine this morning, both eyes will have been done and he will be one happy camper. Though I do swear that he's ready to drown in drops. Twelve drops a day per eye until we run out of drops. Is it wrong to pray for the end of eye drops? It is, however, a small price to pay for his good sight and good eye health.


We have a lot of old books hanging around the place. They're in various stages of disrepair. I'm not much of a fan of the latest new decorating thing where the covers are torn from old books and they are displayed wearing nothing more than their longjohns.

John is completely disgusted by decorating with books. To him, books are for reading and that.is.that. He tells the story of shopping for old books at the Salvation Army store where he overheard a discussion that went like this:

Lady 1: No, no, not that one. It has to be blue.

Lady 2: Blue?

Lady 1: Yes, the covers all have to be blue.

Lady 2: Will this blue work?

Lady 1: Yes, any shade of blue.

Finally, John could bear it no longer so he asked the obvious question: What in the world does blue have to do with a good book?

The answer: Everything, if you're decorating a client's room and she likes blue.

Sunday afternoon I happened to look at this old green book. In my world, it's hanging about for its green color and the cute embossing on the cover. I had never looked inside before. I couldn't even remember if it was one that belonged to my family or one that John had picked up in his travels. We now believe it to be his.

The cover is nearly off so I opened it gingerly. Inside there were quaint graphics and the most unusual dedication.

How funny I thought. Wonder who wrote this book...obviously not Josiah Allen's wife (Samantha—she's shown on the front cover in the first picture).

It was not long before I was reading snatches of the book to John and we were laughing our heads off.  At one point, a character named Widder Doodle (Widow Doodle) enters the story. Her head is so soft that if she hit the top of it nothing would prevent it from flattening like putty. Maybe we were tired, but we laughed at that for five minutes. And on and on. After a while, I became convinced that Mark Twain must have written the book (though I had never heard of his writing under a pseudonym).

Thanks to the internet, I soon had an answer to my questions. The author was Marietta Holley who in her lifetime was as popular a writer as Mark Twain. Mark Twain was not only a contemporary, he was also a personal friend. By clicking her name you can find out the interesting tidbits. She told stories in the Downeast tradition, which about explains everything.

Downeast humor is known for colloquialisms, malaprops, exaggerations, irony, pure nonsense, etc.

Yes, we have a long tradition of Downeast humor in my corner. One of our state treasures is Tim Sampl*. Above, you see a sample of his style in this short clip called "Is That Your Cell Phone?" If you listen carefully, you'll hear him slip "out of character" ever so briefly. Some may recognize Tim from CB$ News Sund*y M*rning where he submitted a P*stcard From Maine piece every few weeks.

Which Way to Millinocket?

We also have Bert and I stories, which are a wonderful listen. Some are quite lengthy, but worth every second. And dry. Dryer than a hot August Day with a Canadian high blowing in. The clip above is about a minute and a half long and represents the style well.

Our contemporary lady of Downeast humor is known as the Marden's lady: Birdi* Go*gins. Do you suppose that's her real name? And, after listening to this short piece, I really want to know more about her sister!

Have a great day...


  1. I'm praying for the end of "drops" for your husband.

    I hope your grandson feels better soon.

    I enjoyed reading this post.

    Have a great day.

  2. Why did I know, that there would be a *Guilt Monster,* lurking around... Someplace... After Sam's accident?


    And what good does the *Guilt Monster's* inflicted pain, do? For Sam? For anyone?


    "Love and a cottage" is an age-old dream.

  3. (Just lost a comment... Innnteresing)

    Anyway, so happy for the news of John!

    What a lovely old book! You never looked in it, before? :-)

    Please share the secret of how you keep your nails, in such PURRRRFECT condition???

    "Love and a cottage" is an age-old dream.

  4. Oh Vee, I am so sorry to hear about Sam. I hope he mends well! Those eye drops must be such a pain, but just think of all the good they should do. I just love old books...with great covers. That looks like a really neat one. Funny videos. I think I would enjoy Bert & I....love that kind of stuff! Thank you for sharing and for stopping by my and chatting about ancestry. I guess I am going to have to sign up for the World search to find out the Poland and England roots. The Kentucky roots go into the mountains. Seems not too many records were kept in the old days in Kentucky! We shall see! Have a great day my friend!

  5. I wondered if there would be no cast. This is a fun post filled with good news and intriguing old books. And, as you experienced, when we have the time to open the antiques sitting so quietly on our shelves, the pleasant surprises we fine!

  6. P.S. My husband also loves to shop books at GW or SA and sometime finds a real gem. Told him about the blue book and he said, "Doesn't that speak to the times?"

  7. Thank you for a good chuckle this morning with my cup of tea, loved the book dedication!

  8. Good Mornin' Vee! Thanks for the great laugh. I really enjoyed these videos and always liked the Maine accent. I know a guy who has lived in NB for 40 years and still has his Maine accent! Of course, it's not too far away. lol We got about 15 cm. of snow last night! A winter wonderland this morning. Oh well, it will be gone after the weekend with the mild temperatures. Enjoy the day! Pamela

  9. LOL! I love the cell phone clip. I just might have to post that. I'd also like to get that DVD. Hope things are going well for you and yours. :)

  10. Good morning! I enjoyed everything about this. The old book is wonderful...love things like that.
    Got a good laugh out of the videos too...great way to start my day. Praying everyone continues to heal well! Have a good day!

  11. YAY for having the cataract surgery behind him. He'll love seeing through his new eyes. My mil had that done a few years ago and was so happy with the difference.
    I love old books too. I have a copy of Coral Island that belonged to my Dad. I often wonder what to do with it...with the cover torn but still in one piece.

  12. Must say I agree with John, buying books because they are blue..jeesh!


    I think you would enjoy "Letters from Wingfield Farm", an excellent series of one man plays, but I actually enjoy just the audio versions more.
    Give it a google :)


    still trying to find the paint chip to give you the colour number, I'll find it!


    all of Josiah Allen's wife books are free on kindle! Some of them under her real name.

    over and out :)

  13. I love old books and have many, here in Ohio and at our cottage near Lake Chautauqua in western New York...I also abhor the idea of destroying books to make art objects or buying them just to decorate with, though my house is mostly decorated with books! At least, overfull book shelves are everywhere. Near the cottage is Barbara Berry's Books which used to have one room with just old books in bad shape that were only $1.00 each...I actually enjoy reading the popular books of another day and realizing that those people were real people just as we are but living in another world. I've come across lots of Josiah Allen's Wife books, but am not sure that I have any. However, I just ordered a used copy of a recent biography of her from amazon.com and expect to find it very interesting. Thanks for writing about this, Vee!

  14. Oh my on your grandson, I missed that but will hold both he and his parents up in prayer. Benjamin had a twisted break a year ago...11 weeks for recovery, and yes the guilt. He is fine and riding his bike...so sorry yours will have to have more surgery.

    My prayer are with them all

    Too funny and interesting on the book..I will have to look her up...and I too keep way tooooooooo many books.

    Thanks for the humor!

  15. Definitely a great way to start my day! Thanks for the chuckles. As for that book... I am repenting of covetousness as I write this! What a treasure. Widder Doodle sounds like a hoot!!

    Blessings, Debbie

  16. I am the same way as John about books. They are for reading! When we moved into our house we needed bookshelves and went to a large furniture store that advertised they had everything for your home. To our surprise, they did not sell a single bookshelf! We had to go to IKEA for them.

  17. That was so much fun and you put a smile on my face this morning. I love the book too!

  18. Your grandson is going to really strengthen those arms of his by the time he recovers completely. Praying for his pain and ease of travel. Glad John's eyesight is going to be clearer soon and the drops will be done with.
    It's great to be able to laugh out loud over good writing...

  19. I've got to come back for the videos. I was going to do that earlier, but got sidetracked. I just had to stop in first thing this morning and check on Sam. I'm sorry to hear that he'll need more surgery in a year. Do you know if that's because he's growing and the metal plate needs to be replaced or is it because the leg will have healed sufficiently for him to no longer need it?

    Anyway, I'll try to stop by later and watch the videos and read more about the book. My heart just aches for Sam and your family. I hope his hospital experience wasn't fearful. He's little and my wish is that he was treated with lots of compassion so that next year won't be traumatic. Poor little guy.

  20. Glad that Sam is doing better today.
    I think it is perfectly fine to pray for the end of John's eye drops!
    What an interesting fun post today!!
    Love the cell phone video!!

  21. I am so glad you kept the green book then! I laughed here too = and I can just imagine the gems you are finding in it. The dedication page had me in stitches!
    And Sam - I am delighted to hear he is doing well - and oh the relief you must be feeling to know that the cataracts are sorted and that your dear man can now see. Especially while driving! And Vee? Thank you for your comment....

  22. So much to laugh about in this post. The book dedication - hilarious, but also tender.
    About the eye drops - we'll pray that they won't be like the widow's jar of oil that kept on filling. I hate putting in eye drops.

    The Tim S video was so funny. Loved it.

    And oh, dear, I have a confession. While I don't buy books on the basis of their colour, I have been known to arrange books on my shelf according to colour, not subject. But only when I'm in a fit of whimsy.

  23. Vee
    I too would love to hear the rest of the story with the lady who's sister is tied up on the porch!
    I'm glad to hear John and Sam are on the mends! Poor little fellow.
    Please reassure your daughter that
    these types of injury are just part of raising children. I've found myself in the emergency room with everyone of my kids at one time or the other. They can't be watched 24-7 and they like to push things to the limit sometimes, unfortunately.
    I'll say a prayer for both of your men.

  24. Hi Vee...I'm so sorry to hear about your grandson but happy that the surgery went well for both him and your husband. Wishing you all well and keeping you in my prayers!!


  25. Love all those comedians! Fun stuff! Somewhere in my youth I heard one of those "you can't get they-ah from he-ay" jokes. We've used it ever since!

    Glad John's surgeries are done, and that Sam is home and adjusting! No guilt - these things happen that is why they are called accidents!


  26. What a fun visit we had with you today via the world of blog. I saved yours to visit when Louis Dean is with me so he coould see the videos too.

    If laughter is good like a medicine- and we know it IS! - then you and John should be feeling pretty good about now!
    Perhaps you should share your clips with your grandson!

    Prayers for all of you and a quick recovery for your grandson - and that the eye drops will go FAST!

    What a blessing our sight is. And what a pleasure reading is!!

  27. It's good to hear that Sam is doing a bit better. I hope that his recovery will be smooth and swift. I will be keeping him in my prayers.
    Also glad that by now John's surgery is over. With any luck the drops will be over soon too.
    I had to laugh at the conversation John overheard. Don't tell him, but I have been known to buy a book or two just because they were blue or yellow or green.
    The dedication in that old book is most unusual. Sounds like it was pretty humorous as well.
    I will be coming back to watch the videos as it's time to get dinner on the table.

  28. God bless that Northern New England humor! Some of it spills over to this nearby state. Can't get they-ah from he-ah e-tha. Sorry about Sam. Praying he heals quickly!

  29. Hi Vee,
    Praying for complete healing for Sam,peace for his parents, grandparents,and all, also for John, and for your back as well! I am so sorry I missed all this. Tonight I decided one thing for sure , as I am trying to get caught up, that no matter how sick I am, that from now on I am not going to miss the goings on here at Haven. I feel so bad that i wasn't here to offer comfort, and prayers.
    The book is priceless, and the dedication was a hoot to read!
    Enjoyed the laughs and smiles with the videos too,... and they say we here in the South talk funny!! ~smile~

    I will paste your note party, and hope to be able to join, if time doesn't permit i will certainly try and visit those who do, I am so far behind on my work! here at the farm, both inside and outside ~smile~

    Take good care of yourself, and know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers. You are such an encouragement to me, I have always said that you amaze me in how you are able to take lemons and not only make lemonade but cherry lemonade, you have been and continue to inspire me.
    Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
    Much love,

  30. I'm glad the little fella is doing better, John is seeing better, and you two are finding some amusements!

  31. I love old books and the interesting covers, but NOT the old musty smell!
    Hope John and little Sam convalese with no complications!
    My son broke his tibia and fibula on a trampoline accident when he was 11 yrs. old. He was in a cast for almost 6 months, but did fine. Now he has a titanium plate in his forearm from a car accident when he was about 24--may have to have it removed someday.

  32. So good to know that John's cataract surgeries are behind him now...and soon the eyedrops too! It is also good to hear that Sam is doing well. Children heal so quickly. In no time, his parents will be having to hold him down from doing too much!

    I know the guilt. I once let my son walk around for 10 days with a broken foot! He had jumped into shallow water. But he was not a complainer, and so I had no idea that it was broken. His soccer coach (who was also a pediatrician) alerted me to the fact that he should not still be limping this many days after the injury. I lost my Mother of the Year status immediately. When the foot was x-rayed, it was already beginning to heal correctly, so we paid an orthopaedist to instruct him not to jump or run for a couple of weeks. Ryan was disappointed that he didn't even get a cast.

    I hope that you have had all the excitement that you will get for one week! {{Hugs}}

  33. I'm so happy to hear Sam is a little better! He will be okay, the little ones mend pretty quickly. Hope his parents and grands will be okay, too! I didn't remember reading about John's surgery. Glad he's done with it and on the road to recovery! Soon you'll be able to laugh about all the eyedrops!
    I'll have to come back another day and watch the videos. Hope you and John have a wonderful weekend!

  34. I'm just getting caught up here - came over expecting to read about cataracts and bike accident.
    I think your Down East humour is pretty much like Maritime humour!

  35. Good laughs! Much better than heading out so bright and early to the hospital yesterday! Thanks for sharing these...loved the cell phone bit.
    Glad John's surgeries are behind him and now it is just crisp and clear views ahead.

    Still praying for little Sam that he heals well. No guilt for the parents...these things happen. Frankly, I think it is a miracle that they don't happen even more often with the adventurous nature of kiddos.

  36. Glad to hear Sam is doing well! My grandsons are keeping me busy, and I'm enjoying every second.

    I love your vintage book, Vee. I found quite a few among my Mom's books that I've kept.


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