The first was by Jim Nyberg, who asked if my Latin (?) was good enough to translate something for him. Then he proceeded to write the following: Se Ville der dago. Tausen bu es in aro. No Jo demis trux. Sumwid cowsin sumwid dux.
The second one was about "bundling," which in the olden days permitted unmarried men and women to court in bed. It was traced to a frivolous custom in Scotland, to guesting in Holland and bundling up in Wales. Then in the late 19th century it came to America where, I guess, it didn't last long. Ministers thundered at the idea, and single women blushed when they thought of admitting lovers to their bed – but it lasted in New England until about 1827.
The third is about Johnny Appleseed (not sexy like the previous one). He was born in 1774 in Massachusetts, and went about the country planting the trees which bear his name. All I know is that I saved a clipping about him, thinking it would be worth a column some day. I was wrong!
The fourth one is a silly letter I kept for the same reason. Possibly you have already seen it, but I'm including it because I think it's funny. It was an epistle from mother to son in the service. She wrote:
I'm writing this slow cause I know you can't read fast. We don't live where we did when you left. Your dad read in the paper where most accidents happen within 20 miles from home. So we moved.
This place has a wash machine. The first day I put four shirts in. I pulled the chain and haven't seen them since.
The coat you wanted me to send you, Becky Sue said it was a little too heavy to send in the mail with those heavy buttons, so we cut them off and put them in the pockets.
We got a bill from the funeral home saying if we don't make the last payment on Grandma's funeral bill, up she comes!
Your Uncle Jedro fell into the whiskey vat. Some men tried to pull him out, but he fought them off successfully – but he drowned. We cremated him and he burned for five days.
Three of your friends went off the bridge in a pickup. One was driving, the other two were in the back. The driver got out and swam to safety. The other two drowned. They couldn't get the tailgate down.
Not much news. Nothing else happened. I was gonna send you some money, But I had this letter sealed.
There you have it – four for the price of one. At least my desk is clear now.
(Translation from the second paragraph:
See, Willie: There they go. Thousand buses in a row.
No, Joe. Them is trucks. Some with cows in. Some with ducks.)
© 2007 Robert F. Karolevitz