Where’s the Off Button?

Fred and Evelyn Knaff have been entertaining their grandchildren for the past week, Connie’s boys—that would be the five year old triplets! Yes, those boys are a handful for anyone, anytime, but Connie’s pregnant again and her husband, Ron has just been called up to Iraq. Connie’s nerves have not been very good, lately. She’s not due ‘til the middle of January but she’s been having a lot of trouble. Mrs. Evelyn said that Connie’s doctor laid down the law when she went in for her last checkup. He told her that if she didn’t get off her feet for a few days and get some rest, he was going to put her in the hospital. When Connie chose house arrest, the Knaffs flew up to New York and picked the little yard younguns up at the airport.

I saw Mrs. Knaff at the bank earlier and she was full of grandchildren stories. “Where are they now?” I asked.

“With their granddaddy, thank the Lord!” Mrs. Knaff said with a laugh. “You wouldn’t believe Fred, Shellie. He’s got the patience of Job with those boys. Nothing like he was when we were raising ours. Yesterday he took ‘em out to Old Man Henry’s farm to see the animals. Henry was milking that old cow of his when they got there. The only place they’d ever seen milk was in the grocery store, so that was pretty funny.”

“I bet,” I said. “What’d they think?”

Mrs. Knaff grinned. “Well,” she said. “Fred said they all three watched the milking with big old eyes and then Clay, I think it was, or was it Jay— oh, mercy…I can’t remember now. Out of the three, one of ‘em looked at Henry and said, “I think I see how you get it started, Papaw, but how do you make it stop?”

Hugs, Shellie

Savannah’s Perspective on Nerve Problems

Here’s an oldie but goodie from our official porch mascot, little Ms. Savannah Grace, who happens to be all grown up these days. This story hearkens a few years back to Savannah’s elementary school years.

Julia had picked Savannah Grace and her brother up from school that afternoon. She’d had a difficult day at the office and she was hoping they could go straight home. Wrong— both kids needed school supplies for a science project. Back uptown they went. It was worse than Julia imagined. Savannah was in a cross mood. She couldn’t get satisfied with any of her supplies and she was so irritable with her brother that he couldn’t look at her without it starting a fight. Finally, on the way home, Julia got enough. She trained the rear-view mirror on the offenders in the backseat and read ‘em the riot act.

“Okay, you two,” Julia said. “I’ve heard enough. If y’all can’t get along I’m gonna make y’all hold hands at the table while I cook supper.”

“Gross,” Savannah said, aloud.

“And especially you, Ms. Savannah,” Julia warned. “You’ve been rude to your brother all afternoon. I don’t like the attitude you came home with and I suggest you change it. I’ve had a long day at the office and my nerves are fried.”

“Yes, ma’am,” the kids said together. Everyone rode in silence for a few moments and then Savannah’s voice piped up again.

‘What, Savannah?”

“Never mind…you’ll get mad if I ask you.”
“No, I won’t, Savannah, what is it?”

“Are you sure you won’t get mad?” Savannah asked.
“Yes, Savannah. Come out with it.”

“Well,” Savannah began. “I was just wondering..”
“Are you sure you won’t get mad?”

“I’m sure, Savannah. If you have a question, just ask it.”
“All right then,” Savannah said. “I was just wondering, what’s the difference between my bad attitude and your worn out nerves?”

Hugs, Shellie

Life is Grand

Hey folks! Today’s southern chuckle comes to us compliments of my friend John at the Good Clean Funnies List, that’s . Do yourself a favor and check it out. You can subscribe and get a nice clean free joke delivered to your email box every single morning.  Oh, and did I mention it would be clean? Yeah, that’s my favorite part.

By the way, if you have a favorite joke or family story you’d like me to share with the All Things Southern community, feel free to drop me an email. That’s and I do so love to hear from y’all. We now return you to our regularly scheduled funny.

I’ll be honest with y’all. I love this story but I’ve been somewhat undecided about sharing it with y’all because it’s from the “Kids Say the Darndest Things” file. I realize we’ve done a good many of those in the last couple of weeks and I didn’t want to overdo it. On the other hand, I really did chuckle aloud when I read it, and that made it too irresistible to keep to myself. If you’ve ever been a grandchild or had a grandchild, I think you’ll like this one. The way I see it, that’s bound to cover most of my audience. I know. I’m such a heavy thinker.

The lady who wrote into GCFL with this funny reports that one fine day she was out bicycling with her eight-year-old granddaughter, Carolyn, when she got a little wistful.”Carolyn,” she said, “in ten years you’ll want to be with your friends and you won’t go walking, biking, and swimming with me like you do now.”

The little girl shrugged and responded with wisdom that was hard to refute. “Yes’m,” she said, “But in ten years you’ll be too old to do all those things anyway.”
Hugs, Shellie

Too Much Culture for Mr. Clyde

I was surprised to see Mrs. Cecelia uptown this morning. I thought she and her man were still out of town. I told her so once we had exchanged howdies.  Mrs. Cecelia said they pulled into town late yesterday evening.

Mrs. Cecilia retired from the public school system in May. A couple weeks later she and her husband, Mr. Clyde, took off in their new travel trailer on a well planned trip to see their kids and grandkids. I think they have something like five or six married kids scattered clear across the States.

“How was the trip?” I asked. “I suppose y’all made all the rounds?”

“Sure did, Shellie,” Mrs. Cecelia said, “we even made it up to see Greg and Allyson in New York City. They took us to a lot of plays and musicals, too. I enjoyed ‘em tremendously. Clyde, on the other hand…” Mrs. Cecilia rolled her eyes. I smiled because I sort of knew what was coming.

“That man of mine,” she continued, “was a pain in the neck. You know he gets claustrophobic in the city, too much concrete he says; not enough trees. One night we went to hear a famous opera singer and Clyde snorted and grumbled the whole way through. During intermission this poor fellow next to him turned and tried to strike up a conversation.

“I’m sorry,” the man said, “but I couldn’t help overhearing some of your conversation earlier. I understand you are tourists. Tell me, what do you think of the Big Apple?”

I jumped in before Clyde could and answered for him, “Oh, we think the city is just wonderful.”

The fellow beamed! “Excellent,” he said. “Now, I must say you’ve made a wise choice in entertainment. What do you think about the singer’s execution?

Unfortunately, Mrs. Cecilia said Clyde beat her to the punch line on that one. “To be honest,” Clyde he told the man, “I’m not enjoying it a ‘tall but I think taking him out is a mite extreme.”

Hugs, Shellie

Sarah and Her New BFF

The beloved hubby and I just returned from Houston, TX, where we enjoyed watching our oldest grandson, The All Things Southern Beau Czar, play in his Saturday morning soccer game. As an extra bonus, Grant Thomas even scored a goal that morning. I may have cheered loudly and I may have taken one or ten thousand pictures. Now, I’ll be honest with y’all. This sports loving, ex basketball coach doesn’t know diddly about soccer, not yet. But if Grant keeps playing it, I can guarantee you that I will get up to speed. I’m just saying that I won’t be like the woman in today’s chuckle. Sarah has always been a sensitive soul. She recently graduated from college and considered herself fortunate to find a job in her field as an elementary school counselor. When it came time for her first playground duty, Sarah approached the responsibility seriously. Recess had barely begun when she noticed a girl standing by herself while the rest of the kids seem to be enjoying a soccer game at the other end of the playground. Sarah approached the small child and asked her if she was all right. “Yes ma’am,” the girl replied. Sarah hesitated. She wasn’t so sure, but she still had a round to make through the playground to check on the other kids, so she moved on. She made a big circle through the yards and upon her return she found the little girl still standing alone in the same spot. Somewhat concerned, Sarah approached her and gently asked, “Would you like me to be your friend?” The girl shrugged. “I guess so.”

Sarah was encouraged. She stood there quietly a moment and then she spoke up again. “So, tell me,” she said. “That is, if you want to talk about it. Why are you standing here all alone?” “Because,” the child said with obvious frustration, “I am the goalie!”

Meaningful Conversation Can Be Tricky

One day an old man walked into the small town lawyer’s office and announced to the receptionist that he was there to get a divorce. 

After a short wait, he was escorted to the lawyer’s office where he repeated his mission. “I want to get one of them divorces.”

“I see,” the lawyer said. “I’m sorry it’s come to that for you, but I believe I can help. Tell me, do you have any grounds?”

The old man frowned. “Not sure what that has to do with it, but yeah, I got about a hundred fifty acres.”

The lawyer struggled not to laugh. “I’m afraid you misunderstood me,” he said. “I was asking whether or not you had a case?”

The man was just as slow with his answer. “No, sir. Don’t much care for Case. I drive a John Deere, always have.”

The lawyer was beginning to lose his sense of humor. “I mean a grudge. Do you have a grudge I can record for the court?”

“Sure do. I park my car under my grudge.”

They weren’t getting anywhere but the lawyer was determined so he changed tracks slightly. “Sir, is there any reason to believe that you have a good suit?”

The older man was getting irritated himself. “I reckon I do,” he said. “I wear it to church every Sunday.”

The lawyer was beginning to wonder if he was on a remake of Candid Camera, but he forced himself to try one more time. “Do you beat your wife up, sir? Does she beat you up?”

When his new client responded that they usually got up about the same time, it was all the lawyer could do not to scream. It took everything he had to keep from raising his voice when he asked his visitor if he could simply tell him why he wanted a divorce.

“Why, that’s easy,” the older man said. “I can’t seem to have a meaningful conversation with the woman.”

Buford and Lou Ann Party Down

I’ve always heard it said that opposites attract, and I believe it. For starters, I could offer you the evidence of my enduring love affair between me and my farmer. His quiet ways are a blessed counterpoint for my loud personality and his life-long habit of thinking things through has saved my jump-first-ask-questions later hide more times than a few. But, I’ve seen the principle of opposites attracting in plenty of other couples, too.

Take Buford and Lou Ann. I changed their names a long time ago to protect the not so innocent. Lou Ann is your social butterfly, married to a homebody. The girl doesn’t want to go out partying, in the nightclub jumping sort of way, but she does hate the idea of missing a couples’ get-together and should they get an invitation to a nice wedding, Lou Ann thinks it is simply a travesty not to attend. Buford would just as soon send a gift and call it done. It takes some compromising to keep everyone happy.

The last wedding that Lou Ann managed to drag Buford to was a big deal, complete with a lavish reception. Lou Ann loved every minute of it!  Buford enjoyed the reception, and in particular, the food. He may have enjoyed it too much.

At one point, Lou Ann pulled him aside and tried to explain that it would be a good idea to take is easy on the dessert table. Her man wanted to know why.

“Because,” she said. “You’re embarrassing me, Buford. That is the third time you’ve gone back for more.”

“So?” Buford asked. “Your point is?”

“My point,” Lou Ann continued, “is that everyone over there is going to think you’re a pig.”

Buford finished off his mini-strawberry cheesecake and smiled before telling Lou Ann that he wasn’t worried about that.

“And why not?” Lou Ann asked.

“Because,” Buford told his sweetheart. “I’ve been telling them it was for you.”

Mama Takes Care of Her Man

My parents love story is into its fifth decade. Their relationship is strong and enduring and pricelessly idiosyncratic. I’ve told so many stories about those two here at All Things Southern that my readers and listeners have fallen for their love story, too! Occasionally I try to rest them from the spotlight but it never lasts. If I go too long without a Charlotte and Ed update, I start hearing from readers who write in to check on ‘eparents1m.

My parents have faced some health challenges in the last few years and they’ve battled them in typical make-the-best-of-a-bad-situation fashion. Mama had an extensive back surgery a while back that tried to get the best of her, but she has soldiered on like the steel magnolia we know she is. Before that, there was Papa’s heart attack. That was scary for all of us but Papa was discharged into strong, capable hands. Mama had a list of post surgery orders and she was bound and determined her man would follow them to a letter. It was a long time before Papa could drive again and even longer before Mama let him out of her sight, but eventually she relented and began to give him a little breathing room.  On one of those rare occasions, Papa stopped by the house full of his customary good humor.  With Papa, you never know if he is making conversation or setting you up for a punch line. It’s usually a bit of both.

“I just came from Wal-Mart,” he offered, as I poured him a cup of coffee. “I didn’t think I’d ever find a parking spot.” Parents2

I commented that it was strange for them to be so busy on a weekday morning.

Papa grinned. “Oh, they weren’t that busy,” he said. “It’s just that your mama wasn’t there to tell me where to park.”

Hugs, Shellie

Terminal Trouble

It’s been years since I first rode one of those super fast terminals in the Atlanta airport but I still remember the instant education I got on translating the disembodied voice blaring from the speaker. When the nice lady suggests that you hold on because the train is leaving the station and it will reach a high rate of speed, she is actually saying, “You can either hold on, or you can check out the floor up close and personal; your call.”

Since then, I have never been able to ride that terminal without looking around to make sure everyone around me is holding on to something or someone. Try as I might to stay out of their business, I can’t take my eyes off of the people who jump on without looking up from the smart phones, and if it looks like they aren’t going to find a pole, I will encourage them to before we’re cleared for takeoff. I can’t help it. It’s probably my Southern Mama coming out in me. I just can’t help tending to people.

My last terminal ride reminded me of a good old joke. Perhaps you’ve heard this one, but I’ve got to share. It’s too good to miss.

The way I heard it, a lady boarded a bus and grabbed a hold of the nearest pole. A young man who was also holding onto that pole gave her a quizzical look, but she didn’t think much of it. Several blocks later, the young man cleared his throat. “Excuse me, ma’am, but this is my stop.”

Now it was the lady’s turn to look puzzled. She wasn’t blocking his way.

“Well,” she said, “go ahead.”

“I can’t,” he replied. This is my pole. This confused the lady even more until he added, “I just bought it at the hardware store to hold up my shower curtain.”

 And with that, he picked up his pole and carried it off the bus.

Hugs, Shellie

What To Do About a Dead Horse

I can’t take an ounce of credit for today’s Southern Chuckle. It was passed on to me by a member of the All Things Southern community who got it from someone else, who got it from someone else, who took it from someone else. They all wish to remain anonymous, but this is how I heard it. Among the accumulated wisdom of the ancient peoples of the world were certain principles that were routinely passed on from generation to generation. Sadly, much of this wealth has been lost over time. In ages past, people understood and repeated certain axioms. For instance, when you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount immediately and find a healthy live horse to ride.

Today, however, our leaders are applying vastly different strategies. What follows is a summation of the steps they often take to deal with a dead horse. I shall let you, the listener, decide on their effectiveness. Today, when faced with a dead horse, our leaders might:

1. Buy a stronger whip.

2. Change riders.

3. Appoint a committee to study the horse.

4. Arrange to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.

5. Lower the standards so that dead horses can be included.

6. Reclassify the dead horse as living-impaired.

7. Hire outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

8. Harness several dead horses together to increase speed.

9. Provide additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance.

10. Do a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.

11. Declare that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.

12. Rewrite the expected performance requirements for all horses. And, of course… the most widely used strategy of them all:

When faced with a dead horse, our leaders often promote it to a higher position.


Hugs, Shellie

Working Vacations

Remember when I told y’all about Barry in West Texas? He’s the fellow that offers “work vacations” to help make ends meet. He puts advertisements in a few big city newspapers, offering work experience on his farm. He talks it up big, you know— get fit while experiencing nature, that kind of thing, and he gets a lot of suckers. I mean, takers, he gets a lot of takers. Even with the economy like it’s been, he’s had plenty of folks willing to pay him to let them work. Nice gig if you can get it going!

One summer a cocky little fellow named Norman showed up. Barry planned to let Norman ease into things but, no, Norm was impatient. He wanted to get right to some real farm work.

“Well,” Barry said. “I was gonna milk the cows tomorrow morning. You’re welcome to join me.”

The next morning Norm, decided he didn’t need to wait for instructions. While Barry was talking to some of the farmhands about a fence that needed repairing, Norm snuck off to the barn, got a bucket and a stool off the wall, and set out to milk himself a cow. Problem is, he settled down next to Widow Maker Wannabee —Barry’s prize bull. I’ll spare you the details, but the guy ended up in the hospital and to add insult to injury, he found out his insurance wasn’t gonna pay.

Once he was released from the hospital, he called the insurance company on his smart phone while sitting on Barry’s front porch. Everyone within a country mile could hear him blessing out the entire agency. He kept right on fussing after he hung up.

“Can you believe that?” he asked Barry. “They dismissed my claim!”
Barry shrugged.
“What does that mean?” the city fellow asked.
“Well,” Barry said reluctantly, “you did tell ‘em you tried to milk a bull, son. That’s pretty much admitting that you’re an idiot. I reckon they considered it a pre-existing condition.”

Hugs, Shellie


Down by the River

As I’ve mentioned on the porch, I am the granddaughter of a Southern Baptist preacher, and I’m from the south, AKA, the Bible Belt. I like to say I was in church nine months before I was born and ever since. My point? You might think I would’ve witnessed a river baptism or two. I haven’t. I’ve heard about some good ones, though. My Papaw Stone used to tell this story about a river baptism he witnessed as a young boy.

One day the whole congregation met down on the banks of the river to baptize some brand new members. After much ado, the old preacher in charge, who was more than a little hard of hearing, prepared to dunk an older lady who had recently confessed to seeing the light!

The preacher dipped her below the water, brought her up and asked, “Do you believe?” Unfortunately, his new convert had gotten a bit of river water in her throat and she wasn’t able to answer as quickly as he expected.

The reverend’s response was to repeat the process. He put her under and pulled her up again. “Do you believe?” he asked.

Bless her heart, the lady tried to answer but seeing as she was more than a little bit waterlogged her voice came out as a whisper— and that meant the preacher still didn’t hear her. Again he dunked her in the water and again he pulled her up.

“Do you believe?” He asked.

Finally, gasping for air, the woman yelled, “Yes! I believe!”

With that the preacher said, “Wonderful! Then turn and tell the congregation what you believe!”

“I’ll be glad to,” the poor old lady said. Turning to the crowd the woman managed to raise her voice and say, “I’ll tell y’all what I believe. I believe this old goat here has ‘bout near drowned me!”

Hugs, Shellie