Young Wippersnapper Dobbs
I can member back as a kid when ol’ Dobbs come to town,
My folks called him a young wippersnapper,
He was older than me, but younger than Ma and Pa,
So, wippersnapper t’was what they called him,
Ma gave him burgoo if’n Dobbs came at breakfast,
His only set of clothes were shirt and jeans,
He sure nuff had a dogged devotion to Ma,
Who always gave him sumthin’ good to eat.
Ol’ Dobbs didn’t talk like us folks, he had some funny words,
We had ta figger out what he meant at times,
Sed he was from Scotland, that’s a might far away, Pa sed,
He weren’t edgycated much atall, like me,
Sed he wood nevva steal, only beg p’litely,
Cuz he sure nuff didn’t want ta end up in the quod,
Didn’t rightly know what a quod was, some place bad, I spose.
He was a slyboots, ol’ Dobbs was,
He wood shilly-shally round town, lookin’ for food or drink,
If’n he had an old peece a bred, he liked ta feed the tomtits
T’were always hoppin’ round him,
Cum nightfall, ol’ Dobbs would head for the hills,
There he wood bed down somewhere I spose,
Till the sun woke him up and the cocks would crow.
Ol’ Dobbs nevva had a tiff with enny one,
He was p’light as cood be, he liked folks,
Specially purty wimmen, sed they reminded him
Of his tittie back in Scotland,
When I ask him what a tittie was
He sed t’was his sister, haddint seen in years,
Sed he used funny words, cuz had a lotta Scotch in him.
I tode him he hadn’t otta drink so much scotch,
Sose he cood talk more plane like me,
For sum reesun he thot t’was pretty funny,
For he laffed hard and ruffled my hair up,
Probly why my hair still won’t lie flat, he always did that,
Dobbs tode me all bout Scotland,
Sed he wood go back when he had nuff money,
Dobbs worked when enny one needed help,
He nevva spent a penny of what he earned,
He put it all in the town bank since ten years,
Only thing he evva bot was a pair of boots,
To replace the ones an ol’ coon hound chewed up,
Tode me one day he wuz goin’ home,
Back to the Highlands of Scotland.
Sed he so misst the glens and lochs,
Tode me bout a gal named Nessie,
An old friend, I ask him if’n he wood marry Nessie,
He laffed that loud merry way,
And ruffled my hair up agin,
Sed Nessie was an ainshunt water dragon,
I ask cood I go with him to see Nessie.
Luv to take you, laddie, but your folks
Wood misst ye sae muckle!
I walked with him to the ship that last day,
Will I evva see ya agin, Dobbs?
Aye, see ye efter, laddie. Guid cheerio the nou!
What is efter? I yelled as he stood on the ship
A wavin’ to me. In Heaven he yelled back.
Well, I kept in touch with Dobbs for years,
I learnt how to write so he could read my words,
He sent back letters to me, sayin’ he was happy,
Got married, had a wee laddie like me, and misst me so much,
And we growed old together by the letters,
Last letter I got wuz from his tittie,
She said ol’ Dobbs is in Heaven now,
Guess I will see him soon then, my times a comin’.
Ol’ Dobbs come to be my best friend evva.
The word wippersnapper (a diminutive, insignificant, or presumptuous person) was first used
in 1700. Below are other words in my poem that originated in 1700.
burgoo – oatmeal, gruel
dogged – marked by stubborn determination, a dogged competitor, dogged devotion
nightfall – close of day
quod – prison (British slang)
shilly-shally – in an irresolute, undecided, or hesitating manner
slyboots – a sly tricky person; especially :one who is cunning or mischievous in an engaging
tiff – a petty quarrel
tomtit – any of various small active birds
tittie – sister (mainly Scotland)
I found these words at Time Traveler by Merriam-Webster. If you want to give it a go, type in
the year you are interested in and a list of words will come up that originated in that year.
© 2017 Phyllis Doyle Burns