My grandmother, as I’ve said before, was a real character. She was practically deaf, dipped snuff, had a wicked temper, and could hold a grudge like no other woman.
The partial deafness was the result of an illness early in her life and it followed her throughout. I know she missed a lot. The misses included schooling. She would phone me when letter writing and ask me to spell words. Since she couldn’t hear, those calls turned into a frustrating screaming, phone banging, hair raising, stress-filled occasion for me. She was blessedly ignorant of the performance on my side of the phone.
You see, ‘c’ sounded like ‘d’ and ‘b’ sounded like ‘e’ and ‘g’ sounded like ‘p’ . You get the picture.
I got my impatience from her.
She had an expression she often used when waiting for a response to a statement or question. She would say, ‘speak ass, mouth cain’t’. I believe it was intended to convey a certain frustration with her partner in conversation at a mulish refusal to comment.
For years I have deliberated this simple phrase, hoping for an epiphany.
Alas, it is not to be.