your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
James Giago Davies: It's time to take a trip to the Great Upstairs

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: james giago davies, native sun news today

James Giago Davies

Time to head for the Great Upstairs
But is that trip really necessary?
Native Sun News Today Columnist

For decades my mother used to say, “This will probably be my last summer,” and we’d perform our impression of her saying that for people being gloom-and-doom ridiculous over something, until, one summer, it really was Mom’s last summer.

My dad used to say, “Gonna outlive all my enemies.” He didn’t, he died of heart failure at 58.

Both my parents had expressions they would use over and over again, which I have shared with my children, and which I will share here, but they will still eventually be lost forever, because when my parents died, only the impressions of them using these expressions remains. I never use them save to laugh how they used them.

“Mom, I’m bored.” Sit on your thumb, let your legs hang.

“I can’t eat that.” Good, more for us.

“Nancy took my hairbrush!” Scream that a little louder, they haven’t heard you over at the K-Mart yet.

Then there’s the Great Upstairs. I have always regretted never living in a home where the boys had upstairs bedrooms, so when it was time for bed, I could say, “All right kids, time to head for the Great Upstairs.”

One expression I do occasionally borrow from my mom is to tell people they are “full of prunes.”

Most of my Dad’s expressions were picked up during WWII, so can’t be repeated here, about the only ones that can be shared here, being, “Well, I’ll be a stripe-pid assed ape,” or, “You Ethiopian Bearcat!”

You couldn’t understand my Dad much when he blew a gasket anyway, because he would stick his tongue out of his mouth. Lots of people do that, I catch myself doing that. I take pictures of basketball players doing it. But he would stick his tongue all the way out the side of his mouth, until you thought it would reach his collar bone. One time he reached over and grabbed me by the hair and yanked me off the sofa, because I wouldn’t do what I was told, but with that tongue in the way, I couldn’t understand a word he was saying.

Whenever he was super mad, he’d start hollering with that tongue out, and you’d just scramble all around desperately trying to figure out what it was had him riled before he clobbered you.

One thing he did when answering the phone, which I don’t understand, but he found hilarious, was say, “Joe’s Pool Room, Little Eight Ball speaking.”

Both my parents would sometimes say, “Is this trip really necessary?” Other adults would laugh, we never could figure out why, not until we were older and studied WWII. Google it.

My parents weren’t the only ones who said funny things. My sister Robin had a way with words. One time the cat jumped up on the table after the turkey on her plate and she said, “These cats! They’re acting just like animals.” Another time she made some Kool-Aid and the kids drained it quick, and she screamed, “These kids are drinking it up like it was Kool-Aid!”

I’m thinking those Robin stories will not survive my generation. Perhaps my parents had corny expressions, but when you take a closer look at them, they made sense. They did a great deal of communicating through expressions, but I have noticed my generation does not.

We open our mouth and stick our foot in it more often. Once we wanted to take a drive down to Cascade Falls, but there had been a rash of accidents on that stretch of highway, so I said, “No, I don’t wanna be in a fatal accident.” My friend, who was driving, said: “Nothing to worry about, I’ve never been in a fatal accident before.”

My parents would have just said, “Is this trip really necessary?”

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Time to head for the Great Upstairs

(Contact James Giago Davies at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Indigenous activists reclaim nation's capital in defiance of Trump (4/28)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe ends appeal in Dakota Access lawsuit (4/28)
Ute Tribe demands 'voice' as Trump orders review of Bears Ears (4/28)
Senate panel takes up bill to bring AMBER Alert funding to tribes (4/28)
Gun Lake Tribe prepares for grand opening of casino expansion (4/28)
Arne Vainio: We lost a fluent Ojibwe speaker in Larry Smallwood (4/28)
Native Sun News Today: Runners from Standing Rock head to Ohio (4/28)
James Giago Davies: People tell me it's better to read about pets (4/28)
Harold Monteau: Supreme Court stirs smelly pot of fish head stew (4/28)
Steven Newcomb: 'Picking Fights' book is a must-read for Natives (4/28)
Whiteclay liquor stores must close temporarily amid court battle (4/28)
Disputed leaders of Nooksack Tribe hit by Supreme Court decision (4/27)
Indigenous activists make presence known for climate march in DC (4/27)
Interior Department announces $5.7M in tribal preservation grants (4/27)
Mark Trahant: Senate candidate cites Standing Rock as 'awakening' (4/27)
Native Sun News Today: Battle over Whiteclay liquor just beginning (4/27)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Why are we still dealing with racism today? (4/27)
Albert Bender: Navajo family still waiting on justice for loved one (4/27)
Whiteclay liquor stores win surprise court ruling on liquor licenses (4/27)
Dakota Access firm faces fines for two spills of drilling fluid in Ohio (4/27)
Gathering of Nations gets ready for annual powwow in new venue (4/27)
Secretary Zinke lacks leadership team more than a month into job (4/27)
Republicans seek to avoid shutdown with temporary spending bill (4/27)
Supreme Court ruling seen as benefit to casino bus crash lawsuit (4/27)
Mashantucket Tribe charges off-duty officer for assault at casino (4/27)
Trump singles out Bears Ears as an 'abuse' of government's power (4/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Let's call Columbus by what he truly was (4/26)
Native Sun News Today: Lakota youth set up beekeeping business (4/26)
Cronkite News: Trump seeks to hire thousands of border officers (4/26)
Doug Pibel: New film teaches us about value of indigenous seeds (4/26)
Jenn Weddle: 'Best possible result' from court in sovereignty case (4/26)
Peter d'Errico: Oneida architect offers indigenous approach to law (4/26)
Whiteclay liquor stores aim to stay open pending fight for licenses (4/26)
Support for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leads to recall in Alaska city (4/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe loses appeal in federal recognition lawsuit (4/26)
Police use tear gas & rubber bullets at indigenous protest in Brazil (4/26)
Mohegan Tribe wants gaming disputes resolved in judicial system (4/26)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.