Right and Left Bowers

You can take the kid out of Greenville, but you can’t take Greenville out of the kid.


When I was eighteen, in 1969, I left Pleasantville, aka Greenville, Ohio.  Back in 69, Greenville’s nurturing vibe stretched across the entire County.  Darke County has always boasted rich soil.  I used to tell folks, far and wide (I traveled a lot) about Greenville’s farmland.  I’d say stuff like ‘the United States has some of the best farmland in the world; the Midwest has some of the most nutrient packed dirt in the U.S., and Darke County, Ohio has some of the best soil in the Midwest.  And the only logical conclusion a fella can reach based on my assertions above is that – Greenville, Ohio has some of the best, if not The Best, farmland in the entire friggin world.  There, I said it!  That’s right – we be bad.

At this point some folks would say “really, is that true?  Do you really have some of the best farmland in the world?”  And I would respond “from where do you suppose Dark County got its name? – it came from the deep rich nutrient packed black soil that surrounds Greenville.”  But I never quite got around to telling any of these good folks that Dark County is actually spelled Darke County and it got its name from William Darke, an officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War.  I always seemed to forget that little detail.  So, sue me – lol.

You can take the kid out of Greenville, but you can’t take Greenville out of the kid.  When I was in tech school training to become an F4 Phantom fighter jet crew chief, I taught some kids from Texas how to play Euchre.  I will never forget this night, no matter how long I stick around.

Before I tell you, what happened next, let me preface it with this precursor – I never read any directions or instructions on how to play this particular card game.  I didn’t have to because it seemed like everybody in Greenville knew the rules and had played the game at one time or another.  So, I was taught how to play Euchre via the oral tradition.  As I was explaining the rules to the two Texans that night, the fourth player (from New York) kept correcting my pronunciation for the right and left Bowers.  I was trying to explain how the right and left Bowers kept changing, depending on what was made trump.  It is a slightly confusing concept for someone to pick up, the first time through.

Like I said, prior to that night, I had never seen the word Bower spelled out.  And since “everyone” in Greenville used to pronounce the word Bar as bower, so did I.  I kept saying ‘if you have the left Bar, blah, blah, blah, or if you have the right Bar, blah, blah, blah, then you should do Y or X.  Meanwhile the kid from New York is rolling on the ground laughing at me.  His name was Jerry.

Jerry – “Hey Clark, you dumb hayseed, it’s pronounced Bower, not Bar.  Jeeze, dude, get that hills of Kentucky accent out of your gibberish.” Alan – “Nuh-uh, it’s pronounced Bar.  You don’t know what you’re talking about, Jerry.  And I don’t have an accent – you do!  You’re the one that sounds funny.”

There was really no way to resolve stuff like that quickly, back then.  There was no internet, Google or cell phones.  We each just thought the other guy was wrong.

But as it turns out, Bar was just one example among many others of the Greenvillisms that followed me down State Route 49, when I drove out of G-Ville, almost 50 years ago.

Later, sports fans.  And I’ll see you all in the funny papers.