Lessons in language

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

Deck Andrews was an awfully profane man — as habit of conversation. One time they had a big threshing crew at the place with many teams or horses. They came in from the field late after dark and found that Deck’s small children had got into the barn during the day and carried off all the halters so that the crew couldn’t put the horses away for the night and were all doubtless hungry and tired. Deck and his wife got out with lanterns and tried to find the halters. Deck was raving and what the “little sons-a-bitches” had done with the halters. His wife said, “Dexter, I’m not going to take that! Those kids are just as much yours as mine!”

“Wal, hal, Jen,” he says, “You know I didn’t mean it that way!”

He later got religion and then really had problems.

Foreigners who came to this country learned to swear quicker than anything else — those were the words that they heard oftenest. As in the case of a German boy who repeated another man word for word as he chased the geese out of the horse trough.


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