Limericks and such

I have a special affinity for limericks, perhaps because my grandfather was always reciting his favorite. He tended toward the whimsical, telling tall tales, reciting jokes, and attempting to scare me with made up stories about a monster that only killed fools known as the Flowage Fool Killer.

I can only count a handful of times that I was scared as a child. The Fool Killer is undoubtedly the top scariest childhood memory I have. I recall several other instances. A man was knocking on the door in the middle of the night and I awoke scared. Apparently, he worked with my dad and wanted to stay at our house. My father didn't know him too well and sent him on his way. There was also a country road that I remember riding down with a sign proclaiming "Beware of the Fritz;" I never knew what the Fritz was, but it still haunts my dreams. I imagine now that it was a vicious terrier with a thirst for human blood and a penchant for melodrama. Being lost in East St. Louis with my family when I was ten also evokes fearful memories. Boarded up buildings and assumed gang members carrying boards and chains are all I remember. It's likely I just imagined these after watching too much late night television.

The limericks remain a fun memory. My grandfather never recited the common dirty, bawdy limericks, even though I'm sure he knew some. He preferred to recite this old gem by Rudyard Kipling (he had a different variation), especially when the winter months grew long:

There was a small boy of Quebec
Who was buried in snow to his neck
When they said, "Are you friz?"
He replied, " Yes, I is —
But we don't call this cold in Quebec"

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