Friday, March 03, 2006

Boy, Giraffes are Selfish

GrowingSense readers have heard me talk about my friend Adam, one of the Batesville friends. Adam lives and works in Beijing. China's Great Firewall blocks Blogger so Adam cannot read GrowingSense and was disappointed to learn that he cannot set up his own blog. His stories are way too funny not to share with the world, so I'm making him a guest blogger. Adam may be the biggest Andy Griffith fan I know. He had his own take on Don Knot's recent passing.

"Boy, giraffes are selfish!"

This has always been one of my favorite Barney quotes.
The scene is this… Barney is trying to allay Opie’s
fears that the stray dogs he and Andy had just left
out in a field outside of town will come to harm
during a thunderstorm.

Barney says, “You see Opie, dogs are low to the ground
so they can’t be struck by lightning. So they’ll be
okay. Now if they was giraffes running around out
there, then we’d have some problems.” A loud clap of
thunder is heard, and Barney continues, “Also, Opie,
dogs look out for one another, the big ones they’ll
take care of the little ’un” Another awkward pause…
“Giraffes don’t… no, they don’t look out for one
another. They just run around all day, looking out for
number one… Boy, giraffes are selfish!”

There is something so immediate and identifiable about
the character of Barney… maybe it’s the fact that we
all have our Barney moments (or years, or decades),
where we find ourselves in utterly absurd situations,
created by our own stupidity and stubbornness, like
the time when Barney and Gomer got lost in the woods
while trying to show off their mountaineering skills
to the Mayberry Scout troop on an camping trip.

Or maybe it is that, especially those of us from small
towns, can really identify with this character because
there were so many colorful characters like Barney
walking down our Main Streets. It seems that my
hometown of Batesville, Ark had more than our fair
share of Barneys. Lones O’Daniel (ed.- "Lones" is pronounced Loan'-is) is one dear soul who
pops into mind here. A thin, diminutive man, he could
become quite animated, or at least long-winded, when
talking about things he loved, like the Razorback
Football team, the Boy Scouts, or the Royal
Ambassadors for Christ (or RAs, ed.-- Southern Baptist Boy Scouts).

He was known for cornering people
in our church and beginning conversations that seemed
to have no ending, or beginning for that matter. It
was like he was having a conversation with himself and
he would just start speaking/mumbling out loud
whenever he found someone within earshot.

Lones, like Barney, loved wearing a uniform, though
Lones’ was a scout leader uniform. And Lones, also
like Barney, loved music even though he wasn’t blessed
with a great baritone voice (like Rafe Hollister) or
the musical talent of the Darlin’ family. However,
nothing dissuaded Lones from sharing his voice with
our church whenever he got the chance to sing a solo…
for some reason those opportunities always seemed to
come to him on Wednesday night potluck when the fewest
number of people were present.

And if Barney would show off his creative side by
writing poems for Juanita over at the diner, Lones
also had a creative side… he wrote a song entitled
“I’m Glad I’m an RA” If I remember right, it went
something like this:
I’m glad I’m an RA, yes I am.
I’m glad I’m an RA, yes I am.
I’d rather be an eskiman, than be the king of many
I’m glad I’m an RA, yes I am.

I can’t remember any other verses, maybe there weren’t
any, but I do remember feeling puzzled the first
couple of times he sang it for us. Doc McClain
especially, was perplexed trying to figure out what an
“eskiman” was. He was thinking it was some sort of
northern Native American tribe that was related to
the Eskimos. But we were finally able to figure out
that Lones was singing, “I’d rather be in His

Lones was also, not unlike Barney, attuned to the
world around him, even the Far East. Remember how
Barney would often go to Mount Pilot with Thelma Lou
for Chinese food, and he even took Judo lessons when
he turned his body into a ‘lethal weapon’. Well, Lones
had an affinity for things Korean since he spent
some time there back during the war. He once cornered a
poor Korean teenager who had come to our church with
a Korean youth choir that was performing at churches
around the US. Lones insisted on singing the
entire Korean national anthem to him, in Korean. The
youth fidgeted nervously and planned his escape route while
trying not to look Lones in the eye. Since none of us
could speak Korean, or K’reen, as the McClains
pronounced it, we don’t really know if Lones was able to
pull it off, but you can’t help admiring the guy for
trying. And if he got a few words wrong here and there
(after all it had been 40 years) he made up for that
in earnestness… though the Korean boy did make a mad
dash for the bus as soon as Lones finished.

Sadly, neither Barney, nor Lones, is with us these
days but both have left us with more than a few warm,
if flaky, memories.


Blogger Troy said...

Ah, Lones. He also had a pronounced stutter. I can't resist pointing out that while it is true that his singing voice didn't garner primetime spots in the church music program, we kids were always amazed that his stuttering problem cleared right up when he sang. And he did have a featured solo at one Sunday night service. He whistled several verses of Precious Memories.

True story, his stuttering problem disappeared completely after a sudden blow to the head a few years before his death . I can't remember how the miraculous accident happened, but I believe the end results were documented in the Batesville Daily Guard newspaper. Does anybody remember that

1:12 PM  
Anonymous jennie said...

I do believe that solo was on a Wednesday night, because I was the one accompanying him! Imagine my surprise when we practiced and he sang the words without stuttering! I couldn't believe the whistled verses, but it's still one of my favorite memories of FBC Batesville.

He had a stroke, didn't he? He didn't stutter after the stroke, and he also became a lot more affectionate toward Lorreine. Is that how you spell her name (or is it another name entirely)? I remember seeing him hold her hand and sit really close to her in the pew. It was sweet, but it was also sad because he wasn't the Lones I remembered.

I've started wearing my red Mary Janes after each Razorback victory in honor of Lones. My shoes are actually cute, though. :)

You should have Adam check out Squarespace - It's only $7 per month. I would LOVE reading Adam's stories on a regular basis. I'd rather be an Eskiman, though. :)

10:52 AM  

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