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Archive for July, 2013

“This was the beginning of the greatest generation—about the time [World War II] broke out.”
—Billie Seamans

“Billie Seamans’s black-and-white photographs have recorded the history of Desha County, from the Main Street of McGehee to the cotton farms of the Delta. Since 194[5], he has continued his profession and maintained a successful photography business until the age of 87. Now at the age of 92, his extraordinary work is receiving statewide attention.”
—Arkansas Arts Council

As children of World War II, my wife Marion and I can never recall a time when we did not know Billie Seamans. As long as we can remember, he has been the premier professional photographer in our hometown. For the seven decades of our lives he has captured and preserved the images of the people, places, and events that have made us who we are today.

In this regard, we are not alone. We agree that Billie Seamans may be the best known and most recognizable name in the living history of McGehee, Arkansas. Surely, he is also one of the most respected and beloved men of our era and area.

It is likely that in those seventy-plus years there has not been a person in McGehee and the surrounding area who has not benefited from Billie’s amazing photographic skills, either as subjects of his photographs—individually or in groups—or as viewers of them, and those photos number in the thousands.

Billie Seamans

Billie Seamans, recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arkansas Arts Council (to magnify, click on the photo)

I happen to have had a particular personal knowledge of Billie and his photographic skills since his lovely wife Dorothy and I are related. Her father, John Barrett, and my mother, Vivian Barrett Peacock, both of my birthplace of Selma, Arkansas, a few miles west of McGehee, were first cousins.

Billie and Dorothy Seamans at his retirement

Billie and Dorothy Seamans at the time of his retirement in 2008 (to magnify, click on the photo)

Mari and I, like so many other Arkansans, especially those of us who have known him personally for so many years, have been blessed by Billie’s warm personality and wonderful photos. Since Mari and I have lived in Oklahoma for the past thirty-six years, we have not seen Billie or Dorothy as often as we would have liked.

So we were grateful for the pleasure of seeing them together at the memorial service for Mari’s mother held in McGehee in 2008. Later, we had the good fortune to accidentally run into Billie while visiting the McGehee Veterans Memorial in 2011 where we had an opportunity to chat for a few moments. Since then we have had no personal contact with either of them. (See my earlier post titled “My Bucket-List Trip II: The Arkansas Delta.”)

McGehee, Arkansas, Veterans Memorial

McGehee, Arkansas, Veterans Memorial (to magnify, click on the photo)

Thus we were thrilled to learn recently of a signal honor for Billie in the form of a Lifetime Achievement Award to be conferred upon him at age ninety-two by the Arkansas Arts Council.

In nominating Billie for this award, veteran newspaper editor and publisher Charlotte Schexnayder of Dumas, an Arkansas journalistic institution in her own right, had this to say about him (with photos inserted by me):

April 5, 2013

To Whom It May Concern:

As a contemporary, I have long admired the photographic genius of Billie Seamans of McGehee.

In fact as editor of The McGehee Times, I reported on his daring and impressive experience as an Air Force photographer working in the nose of a bomber during Allied raids in Europe. I should add that he bailed out when his plane became disabled, and thus had courage along with camera expertise.

One type of WWII aircraft in which Billie Seamans flew as part of a three-man crew: Billie in the nose, the pilot up behind him, and the gunner in the rear.

One type of WWII aircraft in which Billie Seamans flew as part of a three-man crew. Billie sat in the nose of the plane with the pilot above and behind him and a gunner in the rear of the craft (to magnify, click on the photo).

Billie Seamans being rescued from the sea after bailing out of his aircraft during WWII

Billie Seamans being rescued from the sea after bailing out of his aircraft during WWII (to magnify, click on the photo)

In my subsequent career as editor and publisher of The Dumas Clarion for 44 years, I continued to observe his fine work and use a number of his photographs in our publication.

Billie Seamans has the ability to capture the essence of his subjects, whether individuals, families or scenes. His portrayals ranging from agriculture to distinctive Delta scenery truly are of museum quality. He also has chronicled many educational and civic events, thus using his camera lens to record Desha County history.

With his remarkable ability and pleasant personality, he has truly focused on the life of small town America in a remarkable manner. He has used his extraordinary gift for the benefit of many.

Truly, Billie Seamans is a Master Photographer, and I am honored to nominate him for a Governor’s Award.

This award and the lifetime of service that it honors were also described by columnist Leslie Newell Peacock (no relation) in a recent article in the Eye Candy blog of the Arkansas Times (with original opening photo from the article and additional photos inserted by me and with slight changes in brackets made by his son Harry): 

Photographer Seamans: Lifetime Achievement Award winner

Posted online by Leslie Newell Peacock on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Billie Seaman's 1978 photo of cotton pickers en route to a rally in Washington, DC

Billie Seamans’ photograph of cotton pickers en route to the American Agriculture Movement’s rally in Washington, D.C., in 1978 (to magnify, click on the photo)

The Arkansas Arts Council named the winners of the 2013 Governors Awards for artists and art supporters last week, with the Lifetime Achievement Award going to Billie Seamans, 92, of McGehee, for his career in photography. . . .

Here’s more information about Seamans from the Arts Council:

Billie Seamans was born on May 22, 1921, and has lived most of his life in McGehee where, at the age of 92, he continues to view the world around him with clear interest and wonder.

After his brother Glenn died in the military during World War II, Billie was drafted and served in the Army Air Force. It was there that he learned photography and had a “bird’s-eye view” from the ball turret of a B17 bomber with the 301st Bomber Group. He completed 50 missions and returned to McGehee in 1944. He met his future wife, Dorothy Barrett of Selma, Ark., and they had three sons: Jerry, Harry and Bill. The couple recently celebrated 69 years of marriage.

A B-17 bomber like the one Billie Seamans flew in during WWII

A B-17 bomber like the one in which Billie Seamans flew as ball turret gunner and photographer during WWII (to magnify, click on the photo). One of the few remaining WWII B-17s, named the Aluminum Overcast, regularly visits the Tulsa airport where it offers twenty-minute flights for $485. Although I am neither financially nor physically able to take such a flight into the past, recently I received a thrill when the revered relic made a low-level pass over our neighborhood, rattling windows and reviving childhood memories of “the greatest generation.”

Billie Seamans exiting the ball turret under the belly of a B-17 bomber during WWII.

Billie Seamans exiting the ball turret under the belly of a B-17 bomber during WWII from which Billie shot down an enemy aircraft (to magnify, click on the photo). Billie was relieved when he was later assigned to be a photographer instead of a gunner, an event that marked the beginning of a lifelong career in photography (see the later collection of photos and comments on Billie’s military career).

Billie Seamans at a monument to his brother Glenn, the first serviceman from the McGehee area killed in WWII

Billie Seamans (left) and other veterans at a monument to the seventy-three McGehee-area servicemen killed in WWII (to magnify, click on the photo). The monument is located near Seaman’s Drive, named for Billie’s brother Glenn (see the insert), the first serviceman from McGehee killed in the war. As a boy I planted one of the seventy-three crepe myrtle trees lining Seaman’s Drive in honor of the fallen heroes. In my mind’s eye I can still see the tearful faces of the parents of the young man whose tree I planted as they watched me honor their son. That tree still stands in front of the First Baptist Church, which Billie and Dorothy’s family and mine and Mari’s attended for decades.

Soon after the war, with benefits from the G.I. Bill, Billie entered Arkansas A&M College in Monticello and honed his photography skills under the tutelage of Mrs. Drummond, a professional photographer in McGehee. [Personal Note: Mari still displays a photo of her late mother, Mary Elizabeth “Bessie” Williams of McGehee, that was made during WWII by Mrs. Drummond while Mari’s father, Grover Williams, was away fighting in the South Pacific. For a tribute to Grover, see my earlier post titled “The Passing of a Real Man.”]

In 1949 Billie bought his first camera. It was an 8 x 10 “view” camera, which produced high-quality pictures from 8 x 10 negatives. He did not have a car or a studio, so he made appointments by telephone and walked to each house or business to photograph his subjects. He then developed the photographs in the small darkroom that he built in the back yard behind the apartment in which he and Dorothy and their growing family lived. He was paid one dollar for each photograph.

In the 1950s, he was hired by International Harvester to photograph farm equipment. That job led to employment [as a freelance photographer] with the company [which was his primary work for about twenty years. During the time with HI, Billie was] offered [the opportunity] to move his family to Chicago, but [he] chose to remain in McGehee [because he thought it was a better place to raise his boys].

Billie and Dorothy Seamans at the time of his return from WWII and their marriage

Billie and Dorothy Seamans in a May 2000 newspaper article about Billie’s return from WWII and their marriage (to magnify, click on the photo)

After the work with HI ran out, [Billie built a studio in McGehee and] continued his photography as a profession and maintained a successful business until the age of 87. During those years he became active in the Arkansas Professional Photographer’s Association (APPA) and served as its president in 1977. He was recognized over the years with several state awards from APPA, and in 1985 one of his photographs was a national winner.

Billie Seamans and his family at the time of his retirement in 2008 at age eighty-seven

Billie Seamans and his family (from left: sons Jerry and Harry; Billie and Dorothy; son Bill; and cousin Wilson Ryals) at the time of Billie’s retirement in 2008 at age eighty-seven (to magnify, click on the photo)

As a participant in the Arkansas Delta Oral History Project, which is affiliated with the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville under the direction of Dr. David Joliff, Billie was interviewed last year by Yogi Denton’s Advanced Placement students at McGehee High School. They discovered that he had hundreds of photographs that tell the history and stories of his experience in Delta life. With the help of Brandi Anthony’s EAST Initiative Lab class and Kem Haddock’s Photography I class the project has been expanded.

Many of the black-and-white images that recorded the history of the region from the main street of McGehee to the cotton farms of the rich Delta soil are being catalogued by those students. Some of those photographs have been exhibited at several community events, and now a book is in progress about Billie and his impact in the Delta. It is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2013.

Billie continues to maintain storage of his photographs and negatives dating back to WWII. There are hundreds of them. The McGehee High School students continue to archive the negatives and to preserve them for the future.

Collection of Billie’s Wartime Memories

Many of the photographs made by Billie and others of his service as a ball-turret gunner and photographer on bomber raids over Africa and Europe during WWII have been preserved in a private collection and were shared recently by Billie and his son Harry. That amazing collection is titled:

Billie J. Seamans
World War II Pictures & Commentary
Army Air Force
1942—1944
Northern Africa & Italy
54 missions, 5 incomplete
(credited with 50 missions)
—12 as ball turret gunner
—42 as photographer

All of the black-and-white photos featured in this blog post were lifted from that priceless collection with permission from Harry and Billie to whom I am deeply indebted. To view that fascinating collection of historic and personal photographs of Billie’s childhood, military career, return from the war, and marriage to Dorothy, along with Billie’s personal commentary on these photos and events, click here.

Billie Seaman's crew in the B-17 bomber in which he flew in WWII

Billie Seamans with the crew of one of the bombers in which he flew in WWII. Billie is the first airman on the left in the front row, the only one not wearing a head gear (to magnify, click on the photo)

Meanwhile I am indebted to Pat Scavo, owner of the Blue Moon Art Gallery in Hot Springs and a native of McGehee, who also nominated Billie for the Lifetime Achievement Award. It was she who first informed me about Billie’s upcoming honor and provided me much of the material and many of the photos and links about it that I have featured on this post.

Trey Martley, executive producer of the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in Fayetteville, has interviewed Billie in connection to a documentary the Center is producing on the subject.

Congratulations to Billie Seamans
for His Lifetime of Service
to His Country, His State, His Region, and His Community

In addition to all these well-deserved honors and distinctions, this post is a personal tribute from Mari and me to Billie Seamans, Arkansas’ War Hero and Master Photographer. Along with the thousands of our fellow Arkansans who have known (or known of) Billie and his military service and his marvelous body of photographic work we would like to say:

“Congratulations on your achievements and awards, Billie. Keep flying high and taking your photos as we here below guard and treasure the precious moments and memories you have left us to appreciate and enjoy. Your legacy will live forever”!

Source of Photos
Used by permission

The recent photo of Billie Seamans was used with permission of The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville. http://pryorcenter.uark.edu/ 

The photo of the column of cotton pickers was taken from: “Photographer Seamans: Lifetime Achievement Award winner,” an online article about Billie Seamans posted in the Eye Candy Blog of the Arkansas Times by Leslie Newell Peacock on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, and used with permission. http://www.arktimes.com/EyeCandy/archives/2013/07/16/photographer-seamans-lifetime-achievement-award-winner 

Except for the photo of the cotton pickers above, all the black-and-white photos in this post were taken from “Billie J. Seamans World War II Pictures & Commentary,” compiled by Billie and Harry Seamans and used with their permission. The collection can be accessed at: http://www.peacockeditorial.com/BillieJSeamansWWII1943Pictures.pdf

The recent color photos of Billie and Dorothy Seamans and their family members were provided by their son Harry Seamans.

The photo of the McGehee, Arkansas, monument to the military veterans from the McGehee area was taken from a personal snapshot made by Jimmy and Marion Peacock in 2011.

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“Not a lot of people know about Oklahoma. We aren’t Southern or Midwestern. We are our own territory, which makes us infinitely intriguing. It makes us exotic.”
—Oklahoma lawyer/writer quoted in Tulsa World

“When I read the quote above, my response was: I know . . . that you are neither cold [Northern] nor hot [Southern]. I wish you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot [Southern] nor cold [Northern]—I am about to spit you out of my mouth’ [God speaking to His people in Revelation 3:15-17 NIV]. Now if I could just get God to spit me out of Oklahoma [Purgatory] and back into Arkansas [the Holy Land]!”
—Jimmy Peacock, Exiled Arkie of the Covenant

As noted, throughout my blog but particularly in the post titled “Some Southern Stuff IV: Do You Speak Southern?” I examined in detail many of the differences in Arkie and Okie dialects experienced by Mari and me after moving from our native Southeast Arkansas to Northeast Oklahoma thirty-six years ago.

Most of that information, including Southern terms versus Northern terms such as “y’all” versus “you guys,” “Coke” versus “pop,” “supper” versus “dinner,” “cain’t” versus “can’t,” etc., was true at that time and most of it still remains so today.

Map of the American South (in red), including both Arkansas and Oklahoma

The American South, (in red) including Arkansas and Oklahoma (see following maps of each of these two states)

Incidentally, when we first moved to Oklahoma it was because of Mari’s Arkansas accent that as a veteran teacher she was not allowed to give out the spelling words in her new school because the Okie kids often misunderstood her speech. What is strange is that the school official who denied Mari that privilege herself used the Okie pronunciation of “egg” as “aig”—thus causing our Arkie son to miss that one on his spelling test because he didn’t know what an “aig” was!

Arkansas as part of the South in the United States

Arkansas (in red) as part of the South in the United States

As an added evidence of different cultures, the Okie teachers thought our Arkie sons were being “cute” and “disrespectful” because they said “sir” and “ma’am”—as they had been taught “back down home” in Arkansas!

Oklahoma (in red) as part of the South in the United States

Oklahoma (in red) as part of the South in the United States

“Why Cain’t Okie TV People Set a Good Example
of Good Ole ‘Down Home’ Suthun Speech?”

“Why can’t the [Okies] teach their children how to speak?
This verbal class distinction by now should be antique. . . .
One common language I’m afraid we’ll never get.
Oh, why can’t the [Okies] learn to set
A good example to people whose
English is painful to your ears?”

—Paraphrase of Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady

However, as bad as it was in those days, since that time we have come to notice even more terms that differ from our native dialect. But even more disturbing and irritating than that is the fact that we have also detected an increased tendency to sharpness, hardness, nasality, whininess, and especially harshness in the accents and tone of Okie language, as compared to our more relaxed, drawled out, and generally softer Arkie speech.

This tendency toward typical “Yankeefied” language is particularly noticeable to us in the speech of Okie television announcers, commercial spokespersons, and news anchors, including weather forecasters and sports reporters.

To be brutally honest, many of these harsh voices actually grate not only on our ears but also on our nerves and especially our Dixie-starved souls. (See my earlier post titled “Keep Arkansas in the Accent” in which I wrote to congratulate a young female Little Rock radio spokesperson of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism on her soft, sweet, “magnolia-scented” voice.)

As a contrast, one lovely young blonde Tulsa TV news anchor is identified by the announcer with a one-word name: “LARRmahs.” It was only because we had seen her name written on the screen that we would ever have recognized her real name, which is actually: “Laura Moss.” To us, that name would be pronounced as two soft words with only a hint of an “R” as “LAW-rah MAWss.”

But the problem is that virtually all Okies pronounce the letters “aw” as “ah” (thus “saw” becoming “sah” and “awe” becoming “ah”). Our own Okie grandkids say “Ah-some!” rather than our native Arkie “Awe-sum!” This Okie habit is particularly irritating when Okies call our beloved home state “ArkanSAH” rather than “ArkanSAW.” (For more on this subject, see my earlier posts titled “Arkansiana I: The Name of Arkansas,” “Arkansiana II: Pronunciation of Arkansas,” “Arkansiana III: Change the Name of Arkansas!” and “Arkansiana IV: Arkansas’ French Connection.”)

Virtually all of the Tulsa TV anchors and meteorologists (with one exception, a TV weatherman from the Southeastern United States) pronounce certain Oklahoma towns as follows:

1. Pawhuska (Okie “PAHSkah,” pronounced by us Arkies as “Paw-HUSK-kuh”)

2. Talequah (Okie “Tahla-QUAH,” what we call “TAL-uh-QUAW”)

3. Ponca City (Okie “PAHN-kah City,” to us Arkies “PAWN-kah City”)

4. Shawnee (Okie “Shonny” to rhyme with “Johnny,” to us Arkies “SHAW-knee”)

5. Lawton (Okie “LAHT-un” to rhyme with “cotton,” to us Arkies “LAWT-un”)

And then there’s the good-natured, big-toothed, grinning young TV sports anchor who always “tocks” (i.e., “talks,” or as we Arkies say, “tawks”) about that university out in West Texas he calls “TAX-iz TACK,” which I insist does not exist, only “Texas Tech” (i.e., “Tex-iz Teck”).

There is also the Okie weatherman who proudly pronounces “channel” as “CHIN-nl” and “chance” as “CHIN-ce.” Reminds me of the young nerd from “Wiss-KOWN-sun” (Wisconsin) who had the audacity to inform me that what was wrong with Southerners was that “ahll you peeble hive sich a NIZ-le” (i.e., “all you people have such a nasal”). This was the same young nerd who then got up and called the group’s attention to “the peeper thit you heeve in your hins” (i.e., “the paper that you have in your hands”). That young geek would have loved this Okie weatherman since they both speak the same “LING-widge” (“language”).

But even worse is to hear one of these Okie TV personalities say something like:

1. “SEM’nal” (for “Seminole,” which we call “SIM-uh-nowl” to rhyme with “DIM-uh-bowl”)

2. “tuhNAYdo” (for “tornado,” which we call “tar-NAY-dah”)

3. “in-SHUR-ance” (for “insurance,” which we pronounce Dixie-style as “IN-shurnce”)

4. “ICE cream” (which we say Southern-style as “ice CREAM”)

5. “bot,” “thot,” etc. (for “bought,” “thought,” etc., to us “bowt” and “thowt”)

6. “coo-wul,” “skoo-wul”, etc. (for “cool,” “school,” etc., to us Arkies a one-syllable “kool,” “skool,” etc.)

7. “pence” and “dont’s” (for “peanuts” and “doughnuts”), and “strahbreeze” and “blubreeze” (for “strawberries” and “blueberries”), “notty” for “naughty,” etc.

And then there are these Okie jewels straight from Yankeeland:

1. “meer” (for “mirror,” which to us is either “meer-rah” or “meer-ruh”)

2. “maire” (for “mayor,” which we pronounce “may-yur” or “may-uh”)

3. “even” (pronounced by Okies as “EEE-ven” as in “I don’t EEE-ven care!” when it should be “even” as in “I don’t even CARE!”)

4. “anyways” (as in “Anyways, that’s how I feel,” when it should be simply “Anyway, that’s how I feel.”)

5. “alls” (as in “Alls I know is what I hear,” when it should be “All I know is what I hear.”)

And the list goes on endlessly, such as the Okie pronunciation of “roof” as “ruf,” “root” as “rut,” and “route” as “root” rather than “rowte.”

But the point is short and simple, as I summarized it at the end of that oft-referred-to earlier post titled “Some Southern Stuff IV: Do You Speak Southern?” Okies don’t seem to know which side of the Mason-Dixon Line their Indian frybread is buttered on! And the batter is not getting any better (a pun there for fun)!

Too bad. Who in their right minds would deliberately choose NOT to sound Southern and therefore NOT to be identified as Southern when they have the chance?

The answer: Okies!

As scientific evidence, in a recent survey by the Southern Focus Poll of the University of North Carolina only 53 percent of Okies identified themselves as Southerners, while 81 percent of Arkies identified themselves as Southerners, the same percentage as the residents of Georgia, a thoroughly Deep South state.

But even worse, in that same Southern Focus Poll it was revealed that only 69 percent of Okies say that their community is in the South, while a whopping 92 percent of Arkies say that their community is in the South.

Instead, most Okies would identify themselves as Mid-Westerners and their state as being in the Mid-West, while most Arkies would identify themselves as Southerners and their state as being in the South. Which is why I am careful to keep my Arkansas accent and wear Razorback caps and shirts and display Razorback stickers on my cars—not just to show that I am a fan and twice-over graduate of the University of Arkansas (“Woooooooo Pig, Soooooey!”), but to proudly say, “I am not an Okie, I am an Arkie of the Covenant! I am not from the Mid-West, I am from the Mid-South! There is a difference, thank God!”

So, Lord love these crazy mixed-up Okies . . . and hep me luv ’em too, but it ain’t gone be easy, Lord, bless thur homemade-Yankee harts!

Additional Southern Speech Sites

“Are You a Rebel or a Yankee?” (based on tests of personal pronunciation)

“Relocation Arkansas” (a twelve-minute video about a WWII Japanese-American Relocation Camp near our hometown of McGehee, Arkansas, featuring scenes of the flat Arkansas Delta land and cypress sloughs, and the faces and Southern voices of several Arkansans such as Bill Clinton, former governor of Arkansas and president of the United States; Rosalie Gould, former mayor of McGehee; Skip Rutherford, dean, Clinton School of Public Service; Mark McElroy, Desha County, Arkansas, judge; David Strickland, Center for Arkansas Studies—plus the faces and voices of some of the former Japanese-American internees and their descendants and views of the camp and the art work and handicrafts of the Japanese-Americans in the camp—a must-see linguistic, geographical, cultural, and historical presentation; to read a review of the book about the camp titled Camp Nine written by Vivienne Schiffer, the daughter of Rosalie Gould, with lots of quotes about and photos of our beloved Arkansas Delta, click on the title above. )

The current theatrical movie titled Mud which was filmed along the Mississippi River in our county and the ones above and below it with Matthew McConaughey and Reece Witherspoon and especially two authentic “gen-u-wine” Arkie boys, a Hollywood movie in which all the SEARK accents are right on except for calling the evening meal “dinner” (instead of “supper”) and pronouncing the town of DeWitt as “Duh-WITT” (instead of “DEE-Witt”); to hear the authentic Arkie accents, go to the site and then scroll down and click on the first brief movie trailer.

Correction, Addendum, and Arkie Accent Anecdote

In my previous post I noted that Arkies pronounce the words “Mary, “merry,” and “marry” the same way (as “Meri/meri”). Afterward I suddenly realized that we pronounce “marry” to rhyme with “Harry” or “hairy.”

To read a column on the dialect poll from my previous blog post written by Tulsa World columnist Michael Overall titled “Oklahoma is swirl of languages” (or “Oklahoma breaks language borders”), click on these links.

As a contemporary anecdote involving the difference between the Arkie accent and that of a certain state to the west of Arkansas, here is a personal anecdote sent to us recently by Mari’s sister describing her experience in a hospital in that state:

Since my May/June 2013 hospital stay was the first one I have experienced in a while . . . I discovered that one of the new practices regarding meals is that patients who are able to do so are supposed to order their own meals [by phone] from the provided menu. . . .

So the second morning I ordered the yogurt with granola & fresh fruit plate, hot mint tea and some whole milk (that is how it was listed on the menu). I thought I would drink the milk around mid-morning.

My order was delivered while I was out for x-rays. So when I got back to my room, I looked under the covered dish to find a gorgeous plate of fresh fruit and some yogurt and a small cup of granola. The mint tea was there . . . nice and hot, but I did not see the milk. I just shrugged off the oversight of omitting the milk.

However there was another covered dish on my tray. I lifted the cover to see a steaming bowl of oatmeal.

With my lack of appetite, I thought that there was no way I could eat both of what I ordered AND the oatmeal and was wondering why in the world they put hot oatmeal on my tray. So I re-read the menu and the light bulb went on. With my [Arkie] accent, which often comes across more pronounced on
the phone, they had misinterpreted my order of “Whole Milk” as “Oatmeal.”

Thawt you mite git a kick outta thaat.

Source of Quotes, Maps, and Photos

Map of the American South: http://www.bilerico.com/2010/04/usmap-south.jpg

Map of Arkansas as part of the South in the United States: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkansas

Map of Oklahoma as part of the South in the United States: kw.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma

Lyrics to “Why Can’t the English Teach Their Children How to Speak?” from My Fair Lady:
http://www.guntheranderson.com/v/data/whycantt.htm

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