More Tillman County wit


By David Barnett



David Barnett Contributing Columnist


Tillman County, Oklahoma is my birthplace and the place where I learned much of the ethic that I have lived by for most of my life. I would characterize the Tillman County ethic as consisting of a deep faith in God, a strong work ethic, and a “twinkle in the eye” kind of humor, sometimes so subtle that a “foreigner” might miss it. I have come to really appreciate this Tillman County “wit” and consider it a valuable part of my heritage. I have become interested in preserving some of the examples of Tillman County Wit”.

One part of the keen wit of Tillman County pioneers is that most of them tend to very conservatively estimate their own skills in some area of expertise, partly out of a concern that they might be perceived as bragging, consistent with advice from Proverbs — “Let another praise you and not your own mouth, a stranger and not your own lips.” One of the best examples is from John Hugh Taylor, a cattleman who raised, sold, bought, and otherwise handled many thousands of steers in his lifetime, and who could very accurately estimate the average weight of a pen of steers by merely walking through them. On one occasion, someone asked John Hugh to guess the weight of a bunch of steers. True to Tillman County form, John Hugh responded, “Oh, I’m not really very good at guessing the weight of animals. Once I tried to guess the weight of a rooster, and I missed it by 13 pounds!”

Merle Johnson is credited with one of the best observations on memory. In a discussion of first memory at Spain’s Philosophy academy, someone told of their earliest clear memory and assured the class that the event happened when they were scarcely three years old. Not to be outdone, Merle assured the group that his earliest memory was of the dog barking as the Doctor drove up in the yard to deliver Merle!

My dad, Frank Barnett, when confronted with a person who seemed to always gripe, might say, ”Well, I believe that guy would gripe if they were going to hang him with a new rope.”

These are just a few examples of “Tillman County Wit”.

Reach David Barnett by contacting Kathleen Guill at pressled@pldi.net

David Barnett Contributing Columnist
http://www.press-leader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/web1_pic-of-Barnett-2.jpgDavid Barnett Contributing Columnist

By David Barnett

Reach David Barnett by contacting Kathleen Guill at pressled@pldi.net

Reach David Barnett by contacting Kathleen Guill at pressled@pldi.net

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