My late partner Quentin Hulse whom I wrote about in Gila Country Legend was well known for his colorful, graphic speech. His stringent, pithy expression spoke volumes. My fondness and appreciation for such precise and colorful speech began when I was very young in Narragansett, Rhode Island. My father once referred to a friend’s adolescent daughter as a “page from a loose-leaf binder.” However my sensitivity to words originated, it led to delight in such as “mud luscious and puddle wonderful,” fog arriving on cat’s feet, feathered hope, and winters that could be “medievally cold.” I appreciated the color and eloquence of words I read and the speech I heard around me.
Quentin’s conversation was never dull. One woman was “meaner than a red-assed spider.” My two favorites concern Apache raiding and Christ. Nineteenth-century Gila Wilderness settlers were always subject to Apache attack. When this was mentioned, Quentin pronounced that he’d rather have been “a ribbon clerk in St. Louis.” An image of Quentin Hulse behind a counter in a dry goods store wearing a starched collar and sleeve protectors boggles the mind. Appropriate appearance: fine. Genial, accommodating customer service: unreliable. My other favorite was: “He doesn’t know if Christ was crucified or rode himself to death on a bicycle.”

Living with that colorful speech and humor is it any wonder that I compiled a list of expressions Quentin used that I’d not heard anywhere else?
“The spoiledest brat God ever strung a gut in.”

“We leave before the crow pisses.”

“She smoked that marajuana like Bull Durham.”

“That dog wouldn’t bite a biscuit.”

He could “tear up an anvil in a sand pile.”

When asked how things were: “Cats’ all heads and the chickens all feathers.”

“He’d fight Joe Louis if you’d ring a bell.”

“They’d scare a bulldog off a gut wagon.”

“He would steal **** from a blind coon and kick him for growling.”

“I’ve been shearing sheep and picking strawberries.”

Wild Gila cattle had “wrinkles coming off their horns they were so old.”

Old squirrels for a meal was “like taking a truck engine out and trying to fry it.”

“He had enough ammunition in those saddle bags to fight a Mexican revolution.”

“You can see his shadow and tell that he’s a rancher.”

“As busy as a cat in a rock pile.”

“You’d complain if you were hanged with a new rope.”

“That family was run out of Texas for stealing skunk hides.”

“Just as silly as a pet coon.”

“Like the sheik said to his eunuchs, ‘Just one more cut.’”

“There’s worse things in life than dyin’.”



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