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June 16, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Memories: Tongue Twisters

Toy Fire Truck

Today, Slate River Ramblings introduces “Buckingham Memories.”  Think of it as a scrapbook of times past, tidbits remembered by Buckingham County residents. It might be an old song, a saying memorized as a child, even a country recipe.

This tongue twister was remembered by Mary Virginia Bagby Adams, who learned it in the 1930s or 40s during her girlhood in New Canton, and passed it on to her daughter, Dianne Adams George.

Why Fire Engines Are Painted Red

Three times four is twelve.

Twelve inches makes a ruler.

Queen Mary was a ruler.

And, Queen Mary was also a ship.

Ships go through the water.

Fishes go through the water, too.

Fishes have fins.

The Finns fought the Russians.

Russians are called Reds.

Fire engines are always rushin’.

So, they had to paint them red.


Leave a Comment
  1. Shep Crow / Jun 18 2013 8:17 am

    I grew up in Dillwyn. My Dad was Bob Crow who operated Crow Brothers Garage there. He also founded the Fire Department in Dillwyn and was Chief of the department for decades. Your message about the fire truck reminded me of this story. As an aside, I would like to subscribe to your online news letter. Please advise as to how I may do that.
    Thank you.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jun 18 2013 8:39 am

      Greetings Shep. Thanks for your comment. It’s easy to subscribe. On the front page of Slate River Ramblings there is a box in the upper right. Just enter your email address there and each post (or a digest, if you pick that option) will come directly to your email address. This link will take you to the front page: Happy to have you join us!

  2. Louise Davis Hume / Jun 16 2013 8:12 pm

    We used to say the same, except it was “Why do firemen wear red suspenders ?”

    Another was: Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear
    Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
    Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he?

    • Joanne Yeck / Jun 16 2013 8:59 pm

      Louise, I like the variation with the red suspenders!

      We also learned the joke, “Why do firemen wear red suspenders?”
      Answer: “To hold up their pants.”

  3. Joanne Yeck / Jun 16 2013 4:40 pm

    Linda, Thanks for the addition of your mother’s tongue twister. I agree, we’ll have fun with this topic!

  4. Linda / Jun 16 2013 3:22 pm

    Thanks, Joanne. This is a great topic! My mother passed on many sayings, superstitions, and tongue twisters to me. This is one I remember hearing all the time. If you say it fast, no one can understand a word of it:

    What a funny little bird a frog am.
    He ain’t got no tail a’tall almost not hardly.
    When him sits, him hops.
    And, when him hops, him sits
    On his little tail which he ain’t got a’tall
    almost not hardly.

    My mom was Anita Mahon and also Mary Virginia’s first cousin. I’m hoping other people will have heard these same tongue twisters and have some additional ones to share.

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