March 10, 2021

The Rev. George Yandell, Rector


Not sure why, but some of the most striking, hilarious expressions have come to me from a few wonderful southerners. They made Lewis Grizzard seem tired and bland.

Annie Lee Brown, Guest House Manager at Virginia Seminary, former house mother for the Delt Tau Delta’s at Auburn: “She was going down like the wreck of the Hesperus.” “He is like a lost ball in high weeds.” “He is one egg short of a dozen.” “He’s like a blind dog in a meat house.”

Rick from Americus GA during Emory days: “When they were giving out brains, you thought they said ‘rains’ and you ran for cover.” “When they were giving out noses, you thought they said ‘roses’ and you asked for a big red one.” “When they were giving out looks, you thought they said ‘books’ and you asked for a funny one.” And more.

I was a young deacon, 26 years old, assigned to Church of the Holy Communion in Memphis. Bowlyne Fisher (priest, Ph.D., hailed from Henning TN) associate to the rector, introduced me to the lore of Memphis. One afternoon, standing at the picture window of his 8th floor mid-town apartment, he pointed to the street below and exclaimed, “There’s Prince Mongo.” I said, “What? Who?” Bowlyne said, “Yeah, he’s a fixture here. Has a bar down near the river. Get’s raided pretty often. Claims to have been born on the planet Zambodia around 333 years ago.” This man in a big late model convertible, top-down in winter, parked, got out and started walking down the street. He was wearing fluffy white leggings like a Zulu warrior. Bowlyne said, “He always wears goggles and a long white wig in public and wild clothing. He lives about 3 blocks from here.” Prince Mongo had run continuously in every Memphis mayoral election since 1978, sometimes intermittently running for Mayor of Shelby County. In the 1991 mayoral election, Prince Mongo got 2,000 votes, which put him in third place. Bowlyne summed up Mongo, “He’s out of his green leafy tree.”

During Lent we were sent to Montesi’s Food Store to get some last-minute items for a Lenten Supper. Walking through the parking lot a woman in big new Cadillac whizzed by us and parked close to the store in a handicapped parking spot. She leapt out of her car and raced into the food store. Bowlyne turned to me and said, “Must be mentally handicapped.” Other of his sayings: “All his leaves aren’t raked into one pile.” “Always off-key in the band in his head.”

I miss these people – can’t imagine how they became such comedic sages. I guess it’s in the water we southerners drink and the company we keep. George Yandell