My mother was well known for her colorful speech. No, I don’t mean “salty” or “profane” — that would be her daughter.

Usually her descriptions were couched in similes. Some might call them hyperboles. Occasionally, they were just very blunt observations. My husband and I have come to call these figures of speech “Geneva-isms.”

From time to time, I will share one with you.

Case in point: We had a neighbor across the street who was a well-known booze-hound. The whole family roundly enjoyed their spirits, and it was a rare Saturday night when the “law” wasn’t called in to sort things out.

The younger man along with his wife and family were directly across from her house, and his parents lived on the corner with a house in between.

In a last ditch effort to shape up and behave himself, the young man joined AA and then an evangelical church. He went around witnessing for Jesus, whipping a New Testament out of his pocket and quoting Scripture with every single interaction with a neighbor. He was always going to pray for somebody, if their azaleas weren’t doing well or their grandchild got a B in Spelling.

One day, he saw Geneva coming down the steps of the side-door from her kitchen into her carport, leaning heavily on her cane. He hurried over to assist, preaching all the while, offering to pray for her arthritis. After she was tucked safely into her Chevrolet Caprice Classic, the cumbersome “washtub on wheels” with the big V-8 engine she favored, she revved up the engine, lowered the window, and looked him square in the eye.

“Harold, I swear, I think I liked you better when you were a drunk.”

Then she roared off.

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