Friday, March 7, 2014

The Sayings of Anec Bishop

My father was James Anderson Bishop, but his younger brother, Frank, called him "Anec" as his speech corrupted "Anderson".  So to my mother he was "Anderson" but to most folks he was Anec.

And Anec Bishop was well known in our small town, as his five sons would discover as we navigated the ups and downs of life in our small town of less than 4k people.

Anec only finished 11th grade but managed to play college basketball, known then as "Pot" Bishop, not for any affinity for marijuana, which was totally unheard of, having apparently not yet been invented.  The "Pot" came, according to his telling, from his pot shot ability to sink long baskets.

He became a barber at an early age, and cut sailors hair in North Africa in WW II.  I became a shoeshine boy in my dad's barber shop when I was 7 or 8 years old and passed about 12 hours each Saturday until I was 15 or 16 and got a day job as a lifeguard at the local country club.  Consequently I heard his jokes and stories over and over.  I also read every major magazine between about 1958 and 1965, because he filled his shop with Life and Look, and Reader's Digest, and a few other magazines and those were, in truth, fairly literary in those days.

Here are a few gems I picked up along the way:
  • It takes a big hog to weigh a ton.
  • I can't go because it's " too far and snaky.  (Never said seriously, always with a  big grin).
  • “Shoulda twisted him out!”  (Refers to a method for extracting an animal from a hole).
  •  "I think I'll go to the woods and go to bed." (Referred to going to the bathroom before bed in the old days).
  • "Have you had your a$$ whipped today?" (About as crude as my Dad ever got, was always said in a joking voice but as if it were a serious query).
  • "I could sleep in a hollow log."  (Refers to bears who do this sometimes- indicated how sleepy he was).

From my brother Patrick (who must be close to 50 yoa now),

"In elementary school, I came home mad one day because of something someone had said about me. Dad asked if it were true. I said ,'No.' "
"He said, 'A lie can't hurt you. Only the truth can hurt you.'  I thought that was interesting enough to have stayed with me!"

Probably the most important thing I learned from my father was his respectful treatment of everyone, but especially older people.  My pop died at the age of 84, but as a man in his 70's I recall his respect towards the few he encountered who were older.

Because he was a barber with a constant turnover of customers, he could tell the same joke to a new audience over 12 times per day for almost 2 weeks ... and he did.  What was most impressive was that he seemed to enjoy the 150th telling as the first.  In his last 10-12 years of barbering, he created a barber shop on the front corner of our childhood home.  My mom commented on being awoken each morning with the sound of laughter coming from his shop.  Perhaps a bit irritating, but there are worse awakening sounds.

Well, as Pop-Pop used to say,
"It's time all honest folks were in bed."

1 comment:

  1. I love hearing this about your dad. You've told me a few stories about him, but I hope you chronicle more about his life and your childhood. I'm genuinely interested (not like usual) and would love to read more.