Saturday, May 14, 2011


STEP RIGHT UP! Buy a ticket! Win a prize! What are the chances that we might win an iPad 2 or a Kindle or a hand-made quilt, a case of wine or a Starbucks gift basket? The proceeds go to a good cause which makes buying chances even more tempting.

This is the sight that greeted us on our way to dinner earlier this week. We'll know if we won anything on June 2 when drawings will be held at a festive gala.

Neither Mr. Bob nor I have a fabulous history of winning things. When I was pregnant with our third child, I won a month of free diaper service which was most welcome, since those were the days of using cloth diapers.  I had 2 children in diapers and of necessity had to hang out our washing to dry in the sun. In fact, when that third child was finally toilet trained, I sent out announcements. Even my closest friends didn't understand what it was all about. I wrote a very "beat generation" poem which began with
        "The hanging line is light,
          Freed from its burden of many years......."

And ended with "Timmy is toilet trained
                            And his mother is beat."

No one "got" it.

Reminds me of when I had the bookshop and ran an ad  in the local paper advertising a new shipment of Appalachian folk toys. It read:

       "We've just received a new shipment of gee-haw whimmydiddles."

I envisioned people rushing in to the store to see what they were, but no one even mentioned a word about it. One can't, I learned, be subtle with the general public. But since I know that through this web log, I'm dealing with a group that has some curiosity, I'll tell you what it was all about.

Gee-haw whimmydiddles are, to my mind, better than a sleight-of-hand magic trick.

To “operate” the gee-haw whimmydiddle, the stick is rubbed to and fro against the series of notches on the notched stick, which makes the propeller whirl around. If you hold the rubbing stick in your right hand, crook your index finger over it and let your index finger contact the far side of the whimmy, it will make the propeller gee (twirl to the right). If you adjust your hand forward so that the index finger doesn’t contact the whimmy, but the thumb rubs against the near edge of the whimmy as you go up and down the notches, it will haw (twirl to the left).
It's quite amazing to the onlooker and how I got from raffle tickets to an Appalachian folk toy is equally astonishing. Some things cannot be explained.


  1. How fun!!! People do not talk the time to think or to use the curiosity they were born with! Nice to see Jack so happy! Also,..... I do not get the be.?????be.attitude? What is be. ?

  2. Susan H. writes. How fun tehy were as kids, I remember you sold them in the shop. Gee and Haw are still used in dog sledding. fun