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Part 2: “Come on in, Mr. Johnson

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Yesterday, we shared a neat story about our local keynoter, Mr. Johnson.

I titled his story, “Come on in, Mr. Johnson.”  You can read it at www.creekbank.net/blog

In today’s post, I’ll share why the quotation is such a part of our family history.

Enjoy!

 

 

Come on in, Mr. Johnson. Part 2

Families have traditions and rituals.

It’s our job as parents to pass on the good ones while rooting out the bad.

In the comment section after this post, please share your favorite multi-generational family tradition.

While in the US at Christmas, DeDe and I enjoyed a good Louisiana meal with our son Clint, his wife Amanda, and their three children.

As we ate, a gust blew open the carport door. A few leaves skittered in along the floor. Clint nodded at the doorway. “Come on in, Mr. Johnson.”

My grandson Jack, who has one of the world’s most expressive faces, bugged his eyes as his younger sister Sydney, scrunched down in her chair.

We’d taught Clint well.

He’d kept Mr. Johnson alive.

 

Explorer Jack Iles inspects a hollow log.
Explorer Jack Iles inspects a hollow log.

This story goes back to DeDe’s mother, Juanita Joyce Terry.

Mrs. Juanita possessed the spirit of the Irish, which includes scaring children.

A Mr. Johnson had owned the house DeDe where grew up. As an older man, he died alone in this house.

In our Southern rural culture, much of it descending from the superstitious Scotch-Irish, dealing with anything connected to death can be a scary proposition.

I’ve known men who wouldn’t take a pair of shoes inherited from a dead man. “I ain’t wearing no shoes from a dead man. “ Or “There’s no way I’m sleeping in that bed. It’s where Aunt Nancy died.”

The same goes for houses. As young teachers, DeDe and I lived in such a house. My students would say, “You live in that house where the woman died.”

Gulu Sunset

 

Back to Mr. Johnson: With her love of scaring children, DeDe’s mom would greet the door creaking open on a gust of wind with, “Why come on in, Mister Johnson.”

Then she’d glance straight-faced at her five children who huddled closer around the kitchen table.

DeDe and I did our job. We passed Mr. Johnson on to our boys.

I hope that Jack, Sydney and our other six grandchildren will pass it on their families.

“Come on in, Mr. Johnson.”

 

When I returned from western Ireland researching for my first novel, The Wayfaring Stranger, DeDe asked, “What were the people like?”

“The men all looked like your three brothers and the women laughed like your mother.”

The Wayfaring Stranger, Cover

Comment: What is your favorite multi-generational family tradition?

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About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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