BND Magazine

August 3, 2014

Patrick Kuhl: There's nothing like a little rhyme to clog your mind, waste your time

My Bonnie looked into the gas tank,

The height of its contents to see.

She lit a little match to assist her,

Oh bring back my Bonnie to me.

Now that you will have the tune "Bring back, bring back, bring back my Bonnie to me ..." running through your mind during the sermon this morning at church, you can blame that darn guy in the newspaper.

To tell the truth, I'm not much for poetry. But I have all these little ditties stuck in my brain someplace, taking up valuable gray matter that should be used for more vital information. What is my own cell phone number? What's the square root of 256? What's the capital of New Hampshire?

I can remember these little rhymes but I can't remember what day the real estate taxes due. Or whether it's the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution that starts "We the people ..."

But rhymes do come in handy. When a friend mentioned that she went to every store in town and still couldn't find a prom dress for her daughter, I consoled her with:

Old Mother Hubbard

Went to the cupboard

To get her poor daughter a dress.

When she got there, the cupboard was bare,

And so was her daughter, I guess.

When a co-worker was lamenting that his college sophomore was still struggling with a career choice, I warned him to stay away from chemistry. "Why?" he asked innocently enough. "Because:

Harry was a scientist

but Harry is no more.

What he thought was H20

was H2SO4. (sulfuric acid, used in making explosives, in case you didn't know)

Some of these, I picked up from Boys Life, a magazine they sent to all the Cub Scouts when I was one. Of course, I tell people that I only looked at it for the articles, but really it was for the jokes and silliness on the back page. Silly things like:

Mary had a little lamb,

A little pork, a little ham.

I know you've heard this tale before,

But have you heard she passed her plate and had a little more?

Others, I picked up from school or books, I guess, because they are educational. Bonnie and the gas tank, for example, has a simple message: Don't play with matches. Here's another safety-oriented one:

Hickory, dickory doc.

The mice ran up the clock.

The clock struck one ...

And the rest escaped with minor injuries.

Some, I picked up from my parents. I especially like these because I can remember nephews and nieces sitting on Mom or Pop's lap and them clapping tiny hands together as they sang them. I sang them to my kids, too.

Fishy, fishy in the brook,

Daddy caught him on a hook.

Mommy fried him in the pan

And baby ate him like a man.

This was one of Pop's favorites because his family used to run the butcher shop in Aviston. And, once upon a time, he was the little wieniewush.

My daddy is a butcher.

My Mamma sells the meat.

And I'm the little wieniewush that runs around the street.

And others are just plain silly:

Jack and Jill went up the hill,

Each had a buck and a quarter.

When they came down,

Jill had two-fifty.

Do you think they went up for water?

I guess there are a lot worse things that could be clogging up your mind. Why am I telling you all these rhymes? Like my third-grade teacher told me:

I'm a poet,

Don'tcha know it.

My feet show it.

They're Longfellows.

Now, when are those real estate taxes due, again?

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