3.21.2022 – Are you sitting in

are you sitting in
the catbird seat? explain what
the gibberish mean

The one and only reason this haiku got written is because it makes me laugh.

Wellllll, maybe not the haiku itself, but the source.

Hopefully someone recognizes that it comes from a short story, Sitting in the Catbird Seat by James Thurber.

Not place dropping, but I was at Thurber’s house this past summer in Columbus, Ohio.

Due to Covid, the museum wasn’t open but Leslie let me run around the outside of the house taking pictures and two little girls came by selling flowers they had just picked from the next door garden so we sat on the front porch, sitting in the catbird seat, and had a nice little chat.

The phrase, sitting in the Catbird Seat, is a quote from Red Barber, the radio announcer of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In the short story, Thurber writes:

She was constantly shouting these silly questions at him. “Are you lifting the oxcart out of the ditch? Are you tearing up the pea patch? Are you hollering down the rain barrel? Are you scraping around the bottom of the pickle barrel? Are you sitting in the catbird seat?”

It was Joey Hart, one of Mr. Martin’s two assistants, who had explained what the gibberish meant. “She must be a Dodger fan,” he had said. “Red Barber announces the Dodger games over the radio and he uses those expressions–picked ’em up down South.” Joey had gone on to explain one or two. “Tearing up the pea patch” meant going on a rampage; “sitting in the catbird seat” meant sitting pretty, like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him.

The short story was one my mind, and I know what you are thinking, these stories are always on my mind, but that’s not true.

It’s the short story, “One is a Wanderer” that is always on my mind, but that is for another time or an earlier time as I know I must have commented on it a couple of times in this blog.

But why tonight?

When bored and wanting something to read that won’t land me in a war – as an aside I think the last 10 or so books, fiction and non fiction, that I picked up landed me in a war or a refuge crisis or somehow, I am still not sure, in a morgue – I check out what my Canadian Friends have added to the Faded Page.

You will remember that those wonderful people in Canada are finding older books whose authors or copyright holders have allowed the Canadian Copyright’s to expire which puts these books in the public domain.

They are careful to say that if the copyright is enforce in your country, Do Not Download These Books.

So please be aware of that and please don’t throw me in that briar patch.

When I checked tonight, Faded Page had added a half dozen Thurber Books including Thurber Carnival, My Life and Welcome To It and the far-to-little-read The Years with Ross.

These are all there, ready to download for any device or read online.

You can read Sitting in the Catbird Seat here and I hope you do.

The books are here and you read or down epubs or mobi.

Did I tell you how much I love Canadians?

Like Mr. Martin, I will end with, “He went out and shut the door, and his step was light and quick in the hall. When he entered his department he had slowed down to his customary gait, and he walked quietly across the room to the W20 file, wearing a look of studious concentration.

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