Abboism #45 : Thunder and Tobacco
They’re back! After a sabbatical of a few weeks to work on several time-sensitive projects, Abboisms make their return to Tuesdays on the Values Storying blog today, along with a story of interest to values storytellers. Abbo is my dad’s childhood nickname, and Abboisms are our family’s uniquely Southern collection of words and phrases. I invite you to use them as your own.
Abboism #45: Thunder and Tobacco
This one is a little more obscure than some of the others among later generations in my family. Thunder and tobacco is one of those good ol’ Southern not-quite-swearing-but-close words to express frustration or irritation. The term can be traced back to my grandfather (Pop).
Imagine a family gathering around the dinner table, complete with ‘maters and ‘taters. The family engages in light, how-was-you-day conversation for a while. Then this:
Mom: “Uh, honey, I hate to tell you this, but the dryer quit working again today.”
Dad: “Well, I’ll be John Brown.” (My dad was always being John Brown.)
Mom: “And if that wasn’t enough, the washing machine flooded the laundry room today.”
Dad: “Well, thunder and tobacco! Can anything else go wrong today?!?”
Junior (aside to Mom): “Uh, Mom, is now a bad time to bring up my report card?”
Mom (aside to Junior): “No, honey, Dad’s at the limit of what he needs to hear at one time at thunder and tobacco.”
Using thunder and tobacco
The next time you are in danger of letting a cuss word slip, reach for an Abboism instead. In addition to thunder and tobacco and being John Brown, here are some other alternatives from the Abboism collection:
- I’ll be snicedeisted!
- Aw, samuncrium!
- Hot dog the hog law!
- Well, good honk, Irene!
A sampling of other Abboisms:
A Story You Probably Missed
I was watching some college football Saturday afternoon and happened upon the end of the North Carolina-Virginia game. I don’t follow either team and didn’t particularly care who won, but I saw a play immediately struck me as one I would re-tell often.
With just over four minutes left in the game, North Carolina trailed 27-21, and Virginia had the ball. An interception gave the Tarheels good field position for star quarterback Marquise Williams to lead North Carolina to a come-from-behind victory. But a funny thing happened on the way to victory. On second down-and-five from the Virginia six yard line, Williams was sacked for a ten-yard loss. If that wasn’t bad enough for the Tarheels, Williams and the starting right tackle lost their helmets on the play, mandating that they sit out a play under NCAA rules.
Enter freshman backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky strapped on his helmet and received the play from head coach Larry Fedora. Then, he promptly tossed a game-winning 16-yard touchdown pass and trotted right back off the field.
One play. The one that mattered most.
Lesson: If you’re looking for teachable moments, this was as good as it gets to teach the value of preparedness. It’s a story every coach and every parent of an athlete should have in his arsenal. (You’re welcome.)
Trivia Question: What’s the connection between the University of North Carolina and today’s Abboism, thunder and tobacco?
Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales) and is currently compiling his faith stories into his second major work, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), due out in November 2014. He is writing that book completely outside of the typical work week in order to develop a blueprint for busy people with a valuable story to tell to be able to tell their stories. Subscribe to his email list to stay up to date on his progress and for additional excerpts from the book.
About Al Ainsworth
Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.