Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bee EYE Bee !!!

I was visiting my Marine veteran grandson’s new house and got thirsty, so I went to the refrigerator to help myself to some iced tea...or whatever I could find.

Behold! A beautifully sculptured chocolate and raspberry cheesecake wedge glistened in a snaplock vinyl pie dish.

Prominently displayed on the top of the container were the broad, black, felt-tipped indelible CAPITAL letters: “B I B”

“John,” I yelled to the newest member of the local police force, my bachelor sportsfan, engrossed in a telecast. “You know the B I B story, huh ?”

“Everybody in my outfit in Iraq knows the B I B story”, he laughed. “It kept us all civilized.....”

The B I B story:

One day, ‘way back in the mountains, squirrel hunting, Hoover McConnell and I and our first squirrel dog, Spot, stopped to rest under a big Tulip Poplar. The two of us–not including Spot–could not touch hands around it.

This was a long time ago, before the virgin poplar was gone and there were cherry trees and white oaks that you, nowadays, would not believe.

It was “fence-law days” when the stock ran wild and there were just ear notches for “brands” so everybody could settle arguments over calf and shoat ownership without bloodshed.

We were just hunkerd down, smoking and lying about the size of trout and the acuity of Ol’ Baldy’s tracking on coon, when Hoover peered out across the autumn strewn woods floor and said:

“Looky Yonder...”

“Whut,” I asked, “d’ y’ see?”

“That red writin’ up there !”

“Oh, I see it now,” I said, “It’s a big wide barrel stave...”

We stood and walked through the brush to a bright yellow-pink clad sassafrass sapling on which the rude sign was nailed. Painted in highway department off-red were three capital letters:

“ B. I. B. ”

They needed no exclamation point. The anger and emphasis was in the calligraphy.

“Wonder what that means,” I said, remembering the word “Excelsior” from a snowy poem in school.

“Hail Far !” Hollered a new voice from a ledge just above the sign, half hidden by the sassafrass top foliage , and a scattering of laurel. “Kaint chew see?”

“Well, Hallo, Com!”, grinned Hoover. “That yore sign ?”

“Yessir,” said the grizzled old mountain man, identified by Hoover as Commodore Helton. “Painted it my own self !”

“Well, whut does it say? “ Hoover asked. “Looks like jus’ bee-eye-bee tuh me...”

“Naw, NAW, N A W!” screamed Old Helton. “Read it ! I mean jus’ READ IT, Boy !!! It sez:

So forever after to all Allens and all McConnels, B I B means everything from “Back Off” to “This Seat is Taken”.

Do you have, for instance, a B.I.B. purse or pocketknife?

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