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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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JOHN C. WOBBLESQUAW

THIS WAS THE COLDEST WINTER MICHIGAN EVER KNEW, LONG BEFORE THEY
RECORDED TEMPERATURES. JOHN C. LIVED ON A RESERVATION WITH HIS FAMILY
AND FRIENDS. IT WAS SUCH A HARD WINTER THAT THEY RAN OUT OF FOOD AND
WERE IN PRETTY ROUGH SHAPE. SEEING THAT JOHN C. WAS THE STRONGEST,
THEY SENT HIM OUT TO GO HUNTING. THEY HAD SENT OTHERS OUT BEFORE,
BUT THEY DIDN,T GET ANYTHING.
JOHN C. WENT OUT AND HE WAS LOOKING THROUGH THE WOODS AND HE HAD A
FEELING THAT SOMEONE WAS FOLLOWING HIM. HE TURNED AROUND, AND THERE
WAS THIS BIG BLACK BEAR. SO THAT SCARED HIM, SINCE HE NEVER FACED
ONE BEFORE. WELL, HE WAS OUT OF AMMUNITION SINCE HE MISSED OTHER
ANIMALS, SO HE RAN AND RAN UNTIL SWEAT CAME ON HIS FOREHEAD, AND
IT WAS SO COLD THAT IT FROZE RIGHT THERE. HE GOT AN IDEA.
SO HE TOOK THE POWDER OUT OF HIS HORN AND PUT IT IN HIS GUN.
AND HE TOOK A FEW BEADS OF FROZEN PERSPIRATION OFF HIS FOREHEAD AND
PUT THEM IN TOO. THEN HE TURNED AROUND, SHOT THE BEAR, AND HIS
PEOPLE LIVED THROUGH THE WINTER.

Where learned: MARYGROVE COLLEGE ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; FROZEN BEADS OF SWEAT USED FOR AMMUNITION

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Lie Tall tale

Date learned: 00001968 FALL

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ELDER ARMENIANS FINGER A STRING OF BEADS SIMILAR TO A
ROSARY TO PASS THE TIME. IN THE UNITED STATES,
ARMENIAN PEOPLE FINGER BEADS SO THAT THEY CAN STOP
SMOKING.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT DORMS

James Callow Keyword(s): WORRY BEADS.

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 09-00-1967

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Custom

Lenten Customs:

About two weeks before the Lenten fasting begins, the people of New Orleans celebrate the festival of "Mardi Gras."

Actually, "Mardi Gras" means "Fat Tuesday," and this is the day before Ash Wednesday. But the people celebrate for a couple weeks beforehand, much the same way as most people celebrate Christmas.

Mardi Gras is characterized by its magnificaent parades. Various groups spend enormous amounts of time, effort and money to make their floats as beautiful as possible. throughout the parade, people sit on the floats and throw trinkets, beads and other cheap toys to the crowds who clamor to see who can catch the most. Many of these articles are virtually worthless, but I have seen expensive beads, gold pieces and even $20.00 bills being thrown too.

Besides this, each parade has its own particular name (eg- the Rex Parade) and throws off "dubloons" with the name of the parade and that year stamped on it. A "dubloon" is a silver-dollar sized plastic coin, always in purple, gold or green. Long after Mardi Gras is over, people continue to trade dubloons-to try to get a dubloon of each color from each parade. This collection of worthless plastic coins can be quite valuable.

So the parades, dubloons, balls and parties make Mardi Gras the most festive time of the whole year in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Keyword(s): Beads ; Celebration ; CUSTOM ; Float ; Mardi Gras ; New Orleans ; Parade ; PARTY ; Trinkets

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting

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Vocabulary

Grandma's Black Beads = lines of dirt formed on the neck

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

Keyword(s): Beads ; Black ; Dirt ; Grandma ; Language ; NECK ; Nickname ; Saying ; SLANG ; Term

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Vocabulary

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