SLIM ACRES SAYS
In the 1930s Harold Pickett began contributing bite-sized chunks of down-home wit, wisdom, and verse to the Union City (Indiana) Times-Gazette, under the guise of "Slim Acres," the name and character he would also eventually adopt for his "Buckeye Poet" persona. The little sayings, many of which were somewhat in the style of Slim's fellow Ohioan Kin Hubbard, were initially submitted as letters to the editor, but they were soon appearing under the title "Slim Acres Says" in a feature that ran for several decades. For this page, his grandson Scott Ryan has selected some personal favorites from Slim's books of newspaper clippings, with a little help from his mother (Slim's daughter Monnie Ryan). Although his contributions to the Times-Gazette also included ditties and Slimericks, we've omitted those from this page since we have separate pages for those.
Slim himself published a collection of selections from "Slim Acres Says" entitled Corn On The Cob, and also scattered some throughout his first book of poetry, Down Country Roads; especially in the latter, he edited their deliberately bumpkin-style phonetic misspellings into more intelligible (but still "countrified") English. Scott has followed suit here, in the belief that that's what Slim himself would have done if he were republishing them today; after all, it's what he did do with the ones he did republish.
Some of them are dated, naturally, and a few of those are included for interest. Most of them, though, are timeless. The list below is nearly chronological as far as we can tell from the books of clippings, but then again we're not altogether sure those clippings are arranged chronologically to begin with. (For more on Slim's history, see About Slim Acres.)
A note on the illustrations: "Slim Acre Says" was illustrated first by Ray S. Meredith (beginning in 1938 and ending with his death in 1941) and thereafter by William S. Imhoff (who, according to the Times-Gazette, was "a special policeman at the Union City Body Company"). Slim reused Imhoff's illustrations in his 1970 book Down Country Roads, so we're assuming he held the copyright or at least a license to use them. On that understanding, we've included them on this page.
We don't know much of anything about either Meredith or Imhoff, so if there's anybody out there who can tell us more, we'd love to hear from you. And if Imhoff or any of his relatives are reading this and have any objections to our posting the illustrations, please let us know.
I guess ever'body reaps what they sow, but it seems to me that some gits a durn sight better yield than others.
I reckon there's times when the Lord forgives a man for lyin', like when Lucy asked me what Hedy Lamarr got that she ain't.
Hitler says nobody is big enough to stop him. I'd like to be watchin' when he tries to goose-step past Saint Peter.
Maybe there is a sucker born every minute, but there's two sharks waitin' fer every one of 'em.
A feller was tellin' me that the G-men always git their man, even if it takes 'em a lifetime. I've met several G-women.
If young fellers would jist listen to me afore they git married, there wouldn't be so many divorces. In fact, there wouldn't be so many marriages.
Luke Potters says all lawyers is fibbers, but I know they ain't. One time a lawyer told me my house was on fire, and sure enough, it was.
I don't like to brag ner boast, but when I start singin' tenor everybody in church turns an' looks at me.
Lucy is purty much worried about when her brother Ezra is goin' to settle down. I'm worried about when he's goin' to settle up.
Europe must be a funny place. Their dictators is men.
I don't mind the Japanese beetles and the European corn borers, but I wish them Poles woulda kept their durn cats at home.
I don't never like to see one of them city fellers ridin' horseback. The horse always looks insulted.
It seems like most self-made men are always willin' to talk about their product.
Sometimes I git purt near mad enough to tell Lucy who's boss around here. The trouble is she already knows.
Maybe money won't buy everything, but what it won't buy it'll make a nice down payment on.
Lucy won't admit she's gittin' old, but she plumb fergot to make me take my bath this spring.
I aim to hear that Buzwell divorce trial. I'm interested in findin' out who's at fault when a feller knocks his wife down with one of her own biscuits.
I reckon family arguments oughtn't to be took serious, but it's sorta discouragin' to git hit with one of them "God Bless Our Home" signs.
When a woman asks me how old I think she is, I always guess plenty low. I'd rather be a liar than a cripple.
I've always said that hard work never hurts nobody, especially them that don't git close to it.
Yesterday a salesman come around on a bicycle an' tried to sell me a book on how to make a million dollars.
That city feller thought he was gittin' a genuine antique when I sold him that bedstead, but he wasn't. My great-great-grandpaw made it hisself.
Luke Potters said his ancestors come over on the Mayflower. I told him I was glad they did, because my ancestors were gittin' purty lonesome over here by themselves.
Ezra Horntoot's wife left him three weeks ago. She said she wasn't never comin' back, but Ezra is still worried.
Maybe love makes the world go round, but it sure makes a lot of pocketbooks go flat.
I been listenin' to a hillbilly singer on the radio this mornin'. He wants to go back to Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Montana.
Of course I wouldn't do no business on Sunday, but me an' Luke Potters done a lot of dickerin' and arguin' so we'd be all set to swap mules first thing Monday mornin'.
Lucy's niece believes in makin' little things count. She's a kindergarten teacher.
A communist is a good-hearted feller. He's always willin' to split anything you've got fifty-fifty.
I think what this country needs is a good five-cent nickel.
Lucy was all broke up about her Uncle Lem dyin' till she found out he left everything to Aunt Carrie.
My sister Bessie has got a job ironing clothes in a laundry. She says life is just one damp thing after another.
I'm sorta undecided about my politics. The Democrats claims I'm a Republican, an' the Republicans claims I'm a Democrat.
Lucy is mad an' won't speak to me today. I'd sorta enjoy the silence if I didn't know how it'll be when she does bust loose.
I think the word "obey" should be tooken out of the marriage ceremony. It ain't foolin' nobody any more.
I've seen many a man chase a woman till she ketched him.
They tell me the roof of the capital building was gittin' in purty bad shape. I guess hot air is all that's been holdin' it up.
All that I am and all that I ever will be, I owe to my creditors.
My grocer is too honest fer his own good. I asked him how much pork chops was worth, an' he said, "Ten when I buy an' thirty when I sell."
I ain't payin' no barber forty cents for a haircut. I let Lucy cut my hair an' save eighty cents a year.
Lucy is as happy an' cheerful as a meadowlark. The other day a salesman asked her if her mother was home.
Luke Potters is a troublemaker. Ever' time my cows goes down to his place, he milks 'em an' chases 'em home.
I ain't definitely decided yet what New Year's resolutions I'll make this year, but I reckon they'll probably be the same ones.
All work and no play makes a heck of a long day.
Lucy is a purty good cook, but she never could bake pies like grandpa used to tell grandma great-grandma used to make.
I always pay my debts sooner or later. I usually pay the little ones sooner, an' the big ones later.
Luke Potters don't go to church any more on account of they won't let him make his own change.
Luke Potters has been cutting his corn. Nobody could drink it straight anyhow.
I always figger if a feller ain't got a good reason for doin' somethin', he's got a mighty good reason for not doin' it.
There's a lot of tombstones settlin' on top of fellers who thought the world couldn't git along without 'em.
A statesman is a politician with the newspaper on his side.
There's them that don't like to work, and then there's liars.
My old Duroc sow really tore up Lucy's flower bed. I reckon maybe the meat'll keep if I salt it down real good.
If I could live my life over, I might make a few changes, but not enough so it wouldn't be me.
Lucy is purty good at keepin' a secret, providin' she can git enough of her friends to help her.
I wish they'd hurry up with them fall an' winter catalogs. We're already started on our last spring an' summer.
Luke Potters quit usin' his milkin' machine. Something went wrong with it last week, an' afore he got it stopped he had three buckets full of hamburger.
Lucy wouldn't admit she needed glasses till she run our tom cat through the clothes wringer.
The Ladies' Aid met at our house yesterday. All the members were present, so they didn't have much to talk about.
Lucy got one of them Emily Post books fer Christmas. It tells you how to eat when you ain't hungry.
As near as I can figger out, a man's reputation is what people say behind his back, and his character is what his wife knows about him.
If you want a thing well done, don't pay fer it in advance.
A fool and his money are soon married.
All music copyright © (various dates) by Scott Ryan. All rights reserved.
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