Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Took A Skinnin' On That Deal.

Sal and I were coming home the other night from playing music and I just happened to think of a phrase my Grandpa used all the time... I'd forgotten all about it and I actually used it in context with whatever the heck me and Sally were talking about. It surprised me so much, I can't remember what it was that was being discussed.

Anyhow, the word is "Skinned" or "Skinnin'". I suppose other folks have used the word like my Grandpa did, but he's the only one I ever heard say it. It means "you got took" or "you paid too much for too little" or "you just threw your money away on something".

My Grandpa helped me get started in the cattle business, he'd had livestock his whole life and was near brilliant when it came to knowing what's what with cattle... but that didn't keep him from getting "skinned" once in awhile.

About 30 years ago or so a bunch of fellers opened up a new fancy livestock sale barn just north of us and came around wanting business... guaranteeing prices and all sorts of silly crap like that. Anyhow, Grandpa went up to the new sale barn and bought about 25 head of bred Hereford cattle... of course the new sale barn delivered 'em, trying to impress folks with their congeniality. I watched 'em come offa the truck and thought they looked kinda tough, 'bout half were snotty and half of that half were wheezy.

So next morning I show up at Grandpa's to do the chores and I'm walking thru the barnlot and there's an early second period calf fetus laying there. I made note of that and told Grandpa and it was decided that rough handling in the truck and such had just caused one of the cows to abort. So, the next morning I'm walking thru the barnlot again, and there's a couple more fetus' and one dead cow and a couple more that can't get up. The sale barn is called and the once congenial new owners are now all "tough luck... that's the way it goes"

Grandpa hangs up the phone, looks at me and says. "Welp Jace, looks like I just took me a skinnin' on that load of cattle." I called our vet, and he was a real swell guy, he said that he thought if we got the state vet out to look at the abortions and dead cow that the manager up at the new sale barn might be a little more receptive to helping my grandpa keep his skin.

State vet shows up that afternoon, another one had died in the meanwhile and more were going down... and it was getting real ugly real fast. When a big shot vet like that shows up and starts reciting diseases like ugly cousins ask for dances at your sister's wedding... folks just seem to pay real keen attention to what all he has to say.

The new sale barn manager sends out a truck, they load up all the live cows, and hand Grandpa a check for his cattle and troubles. Shortly a dead truck shows up with a loader, they pick up all the dead stuff and haul that away all nice and tidy too. And Grandpa sidestepped a pretty severe skinnin'.

Sometimes he'd use the term and it wouldn't fit so bad, it was perfect... if that makes sense.

I wore my hair quite a bit longer and I'd just been to the barber shop. Grandpa asked me what I'd done that day and I said "got a haircut". He looked me over pretty carefully... "Looks to me like you got skinned"... translated, I paid for a haircut and got nuthin in return. Skinned, used to it's maximum potential right there. :-)



ahr8tch said...

Well, Jace, I heard that term used growin' up in NC in the '40s and '50s. 'Cept, there and then, used in the past tense, we'd a-said "skint", as in, "He shore skint me good! Yesser, burnt me a new 'un!"

Gotta luv the 'Murican langwidge!

Jerry said...


Great pondering stuff there, Jace.