Posts Tagged ‘barbara kingsolver’

When snow melts, the creeks do rise. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams

Remembering my Grandmother

I was reading High Tide in Tucson, an essay anthology by Barbara Kingsolver who mentioned that she was often tempted to use one of her grandmother’s axioms when asked to commit to a future obligation. “Lord willing, and the creeks don’t rise,” she wrote.

My grandmother used to say exactly the same thing — and suddenly my wondering-brain was wanting to know the origin of the phrase  …  and then I was putting down Kingsolver’s book for a bit of research.

As usual, I came up with conflicting stories. One is that the phrase was first used by Benjamin Hawkins, U.S. General Superintendent for Indian Affairs between 1796 and 1818. Supposedly he used it in a letter to Thomas Jefferson requesting his presence in Washington D.C. in which he replied he would be there “God willing and the Creek don’t rise,” meaning the Creek Indians.

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors — and I’m loving this book of essays by her.

Others believe that Creek merely refers to a stream, and that it was simply a hayseed rural term meaning if nothing stops me or all goes well. One example for this is a mock rustic speech from an 1851 Graham’s American Monthly Magazine: “Feller-citizens — I’m not ’customed to public speakin’ before sich highfalutin’ audiences. … Yet here I stand before you a speckled hermit, wrapt in the risen-sun counterpane of my popilarity, an’ intendin’, Providence permittin’, and the creek don’t rise, to go it blind!”

Another example of early use of the phrase, according to Wikipedia, is from the 1894 Lafayette Gazette: “We are an American people, born under the flag of independence and if the Lord is willing and the creeks don’t rise, the American people who made this country will come pretty near controlling it.”

It’s also said to be a sign-off tag line of the 1930s’ radio broadcaster Bradley Kincaid. My grandmother liked to listen to the radio so maybe this is where she picked it up. And finally, it has also been attributed to Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson, among others, on the usual principle that attaching a famous name to a story validates it.

Well, that was enough information, if not exactly uncomplicated, to placate this wondering-brain of mine — until the next time it is wants answers. In the meantime, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll go back to reading High Tide in Tucson. And in case you’re wondering about that title, Kingsolver explains it in her first essay.

Bean Pat: In tribute to Mary Oliver https://deborahbrasket.wordpress.com/2019/01/20/mary-oliver-washed-in-light/  Her words live on.

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Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. Check out her book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon, to learn more. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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 “Misunderstanding is my cornerstone. It’s everyone’s, come to think of it. Illusions mistaken for truth are the pavement under our feet.” – Barbara Kingsolver

What I Didn’t See


Looking across the deceptive shallow waters. — Photo by Pat Bean

There was only one thing left to do in Santa Rosa after my canine traveling companion, Pepper, and I left the Route 66 Auto Museum. Pay a visit to the Blue Hole.

Roadside signs advertising it had been tantalizing me for miles.

I found the attraction just a few blocks off Santa Rosa’s main Route 66 drag. I wasn’t impressed, seeing not at all what the hullabaloo was about. The Blue Hole looked like nothing more than a small, natural swimming hole that had been fancied up a bit.

Even the fancy diving pier didn’t clue me in. — Pat Bean

Pepper and I saw nary a soul as we walked all the way around it, which took about 10 minutes, before getting back on the road and heading to Albuquerque.

It was only later, when I did my usual curious-to-learn-more internet search, that I discovered why I should have paid the Blue Hole more attention. It was sort of like meeting a mild-mannered reporter named Clark never knowing that a Superman lay beneath.

What Pepper and I didn’t see was the 80-foot wide, 240-foot deep artesian well below the surface, its waters so crystal clear that scuba divers come for all over to dive in it.

There’s also a grate down there, blocking the hazardous entrance to some underwater caves that back in 1976 took the lives of two divers

There’s a lesson here. A familiar one. Never judge a book by its cover – or a pond by only what you can see.

Bean’s Pat: Pretty in Purple http://tinyurl.com/bqrz9vc If you’ve never seen a purple gallinule, then here’s your opportunity. And if you’ve seen one, I’m sure you’ll want another look.

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