Ole and Lena, y’all!

The subject of rhubarb will be addressed later


You guys. I heard the best podcast today. A podcast where worlds collided.

OK. Where two worlds I have already mashed together or sort of set on a collision course met.

But they met. They met indeed.

It was the Texas Monthly Talk Like A Texan podcast. You have to hear it. It’s all about Texas sayings. The host interviewed Anne Dingus, who wrote the book More Texas Sayings Than You Can Shake A Stick At, and, more importantly, went to my college (I guess she could say I went to hers) so I am quite proud.

In the middle of the podcast (have you listened yet?), the host mentions something about Czech jokes – remember there are kolache-baking Czechs and Slovaks in Texas and why don’t they send some of those kolaches here? – and they segue into Ole and Lena jokes.

Ole and Lena jokes. I didn’t think those moved south of the Illinois border!

My favorite part – and I am not saying this to embarrass anyone – I thought it was very cute – is when Anne refers to “Olé!” and Lena jokes. 

If you live in Texas and have never heard an Ole and Lena joke told out loud and/or if your grandfather’s nickname wasn’t “Ole” (my grandpa Ernest’s nickname was “Ole” and so is my uncle Bill’s), then of course you are going to think that “Ole” is pronounced “Olé!”

Kind of like I didn’t know who this Gerta character was that my English 251 prof kept talking about and why isn’t he saying anything about the “Go-ee-thee” I see in the book?

So I have to tell you my favorite Ole and Lena joke.

Ole is on his deathbed. Pastor Inqvist has been to visit Ole and to give him the last rites. After a cup of coffee with Lena, the pastor left.

Ole is upstairs. He is waiting to die. Which is boring. But what else does he have to do?

Then he smells this delicious aroma from the kitchen.

It’s rhubarb bars – his favorite.

“Lena!” he calls. “Lena!”

But she does not hear him.

He calls again.

No Lena.

He has to take action. He tries to sit up, but he is too weak. So he rolls out of bed, falls to the floor, rests, and then starts crawling: out of the bedroom, down the hall, to the stairs, down the stairs, one by one, to the kitchen.

He gets to the kitchen and slowly and painfully pulls himself up to the counter.

As he is reaching for a warm rhubarb bar, Lena walks in with a basket of clothes. She sees what he’s doing, drops the basket, and runs to him.

Ole looks at her in gratitude.

She slaps his hand and says, “Ach, Ole! For shame! Dose are for after da funeral!”

And I have to tell you one of my favorite Texas sayings, which did not make the cut for the podcast:

When stupid gets to $80 a barrel, I want drilling rights on his head.


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