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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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IF YOU'RE GOING TO PUSH ON THE THROTTLE,
DON'T PULL (DRINK) ON THE BOTTLE.

Submitter comment: A WARNING!

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE CAR ; DRINKING DRUNKENNESS

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Food Drink
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Proverb Proverb
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Vehicle propelled by mechanical or other force on land
Food Drink -- N447

Date learned: 11-00-1971

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A DRIVER'S NIGHT PRAYER

NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP,/ I PARKED MY CAR ACROSS THE STREET.
AND IF IT ROLLS BEFORE I WAKE,/I PRAY THE LORD TO PULL THE BRAKE.

Submitter comment: TAKEN FROM INFORMANT'S AUTOGRAPH BOOK.

Where learned: NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): IMPERFECT RHYME ; QUATRAIN ACCIDENT AUTOMOBILE PARODY OF PRAYER ; RHYME: AABB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse

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A LITTLE SPARK, A LITTLE COIL,
A LITTLE GAS, A LITTLE OIL,
A LITTLE TIN, A LITTLE BOARD,
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER AND
YOU'LL HAVE A LITTLE FORD.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Wisecracks, gags, silly stories, insults

Date learned: 00-00-1928

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PADIDDLE

I AM NOT SURE OF THE SPELLING, BUT THIS IS THE WAY THE WORD IS
PRONOUNCED AND IT INDICATES A CAR WITH ONLY ONE OPERATIVE
HEADLIGHT. WHEN YOU ARE WITH A GIRL YOU GET TO KISS HER IF YOU SEE
SUCH A CAR AND YELL OUT PADIDDLE BEFORE SHE DOES. IF SHE DOES, SHE
GETS TO HIT YOU IN THE ARM.
ALSO GIRLS KEEP COUNT OF HOW MANY SUCH CARS THEY SEE BY THEM-
SELVES. THE FIRST BOY THEY SEE WHEN THEY HIT FIVE HUNDRED IS
SUPPOSED TO BE THE BOY THEY WILL MARRY.
A "GERONIMO" IS A CAR WHICH HAS ONE LIGHT BRIGHTER THAN THE
OTHER DUE TO AN ACCIDENT OR ONE ON WHICH THE HEADLIGHT FAILS
AS YOU ARE WATCHING IT.

Submitter comment: THE FIRST TIME I EVER HEARD THIS WAS IN THE EIGHTH GRADE. I
BELIEVE IT WAS IN A MOVIE WITH JAMES DEAN. AFTER THAT SOMEONE
EXPLAINED IT TO ME AND I HAVE HEARD IT COUNTLESS TIMES SINCE
THAT IN DETROIT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; QUICKNESS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Number P686.3.500
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 12-00-1963

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TALE

A MAN HAD JUST PURCHASED A NEW CAR. AFTER DRIVING IT FOR TWO
WEEKS, HE DISCOVERED AN AWFUL RATTLE IN THE DOOR. TAKING IT TO
A GARAGE TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS WRONG, HE DISCOVERED AN EMPTY
COKE BOTTLE WAS LODGED IN THE DOOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; COKE=COCA COLA: BRAND NAME FOR SOFT DRINK.

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Jest Anecdote
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Vehicle propelled by mechanical or other force on land

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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PROVERB

DON'T RACE YOUR MOTOR.

Submitter comment: FROM UNCERTAIN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: NEGATIVE ; AUTOMOBILE ; IMPATIENCE

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 00-00-1964

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PROVERB

DON'T SKID YOUR SPARE TIRE.

Submitter comment: FROM UNCERTAIN

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: NEGATIVE ; AUTOMOBILE ; PRECAUTION

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 00-00-1964

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JAMAICAN METHOD FOR EXORCISING SPIRITS

IF THERE IS A BAD SPIRIT OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE AND YOU WANT TO GET RID
OF IT, BURN A CAR TIRE. THEN YOU, BUT ONLY YOU, WILL HEAR IT SCREAM
AND KNOW IT IS GONE.

Submitter comment: THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF MODERN FOLKLORE.
DONALD LEE LEARNED THIS ITEM IN BUFF BAY JAMAICA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE TIRE

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: 10-31-1975

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AN OLD SUPERSTITION THIS INDIVIDUAL LEARNED WAS THAT ONE COULD
ASCERTAIN THE AMOUNT OF YEARS ONE HAD REMAINING IN LIFE BY COUNTING
THE NUMBER OF CARS IN THE NEXT FUNERAL PROCESSION TO PASS BY. EACH
CAR REPRESENTED AN ADDITIONAL YEAR TACKED ON THE PERSONS LIFE SPAN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; NUMBERS ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 10-00-1975

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RIDDLE

HOW DO YOU FIT SIX ELEPHANTS IN A V.W.?
PUT THREE IN THE BACK, TWO IN THE FRONT, AND ONE IN THE GLOVE BOX.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM SCHOOL FRIENDS

Where learned: OHIO ; WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- Riddle Question

Date learned: 10-07-1967

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LYRICAL VERSE

OH, I DON'T CARE IF IT RAINS OR FREEZES,
LONG AS I HAVE MY PLASTIC JESUS,
RIDING ON THE DASHBOARD OF MY CAR;
THUNDER ROAR AND LIGHTNING CRASH,
I WON'T FEAR; HE'S ON THE DASH,
TAKE HIM WITH YOU WHEN YOU TRAVEL FAR.

OH, I CAN DRIVE FROM COAST TO COAST,
LONG AS I HAVE MY HOLY GHOST,
RIDING ON THE DASHBOARD OF MY CAR;
GOIN' NINETY I AIN'T WARY,
CAUSE I GOT MY VIRGIN MARY,
GUARANTEEIN' I WON'T GO TO HELL.

OH, I DON'T CARE IF IT'S DARK AND SCARY,
LONG AS I HAVE MY VIRGIN MARY,
RIDING ON THE DASHBOARD OF MY CAR.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; TOLD AT ; SAILING CLUB PARTY

Keyword(s): BIBLICAL ; FEMININE RHYME ; IMPERFECT RHYME: FREEZES JESUS ; RELIGION ; RHYME: AABCCB ; SLANG FOR DASHBOARD CLIPPING ; STATUES USED AS AMULETS IN AUTOMOBILES ; TRAVEL

Subject headings: Favorites
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

Date learned: 10-23-1971

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HEADACHE

IF YOU LET A STRAND OF HAIR FLY OUT THE CAR WINDOW THE PERSON TO WHOM
THE HAIR BELONGS WILL GET A HEADACHE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; CAUSE

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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A DRIVER'S NIGHT PRAYER

NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP,/ I PARKED MY CAR ACROSS THE STREET.
AND IF IT ROLLS BEFORE I WAKE,/I PRAY THE LORD TO PULL THE BRAKE.

Submitter comment: TAKEN FROM INFORMANT'S AUTOGRAPH BOOK.

Where learned: NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): IMPERFECT RHYME ; QUATRAIN ACCIDENT AUTOMOBILE PARODY OF PRAYER ; RHYME: AABB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse

Date learned: NOT RECORDED BY THE COLLECTOR

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PROSE NARRATIVE

MY SISTER, WHO IS A NURSE, SINCERELY BELIEVES THAT ONE OF HER
FRIENDS KNOWS ANOTHER NURSE WHO HAD TROUBLE ONE KNIGHT ON THE
FRIENDS KNOWS ANOTHER NURSE WHO HAD TROUBLE ONE NIGHT ON THE
EXPRESSWAY. THE NURSE WAS DRIVING HOME AFTER THE AFTERNOON SHIFT.
SHE WAS DRIVING ON THE EXPRESSWAY WHEN A TRUCKDRIVER KEPT POINTING
AT THE CAR. HE DID NOT GIVE UP. BY THIS TIME THE NURSE WAS SO
FRIGHTENED THAT SHE BLEW THE HORN AS SHE DROVE UP
THE DRIVEWAY. SHE CONTINUED TO BLOW THE HORN UNTIL HER HUSBAND
CAME OUT OF THE HOUSE. THE TRUCKDRIVER DROVE UP BEHIND HER.
AS IT TURNED OUT A MAN WAS SITTING IN THE BACK SEAT OF THE
NURSE'S CAR WAITING TO ATTACK HER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; TRUCKDRIVER SAVES GIRL FROM ATTACK

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Legend

Date learned: 12-00-1965

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GAME

IN DETROIT DURING THE PRE-TELEVISION YEARS, CHILDREN USED TO SIT
ON THEIR PORCHES IN THE EVENING AND COUNT CONVERTIBLE CARS AS THEY
WENT BY. THE FIRST CHILD TO COUNT FIFTY CARS WON AN ICE
CREAM CONE OR A PIECE OF BUBBLE GUM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- C531
BELIEF -- Number P686.1.50

Date learned: 00-00-1939

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IF YOU DO NOT LET YOUR CAR WARM UP BEFORE DRIVING, YOU ARE GOING TO
GET STUCK.

Submitter comment: GET STUCK MEANS YOUR CAR WILL EITHER BREAK DOWN OR YOU WILL BE
STRANDED IN IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Vehicle propelled by mechanical or other force on land
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 02-00-1979

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GHOST IN GUAJATACA

IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE GHOST OF A WOMAN KILLED IN A CAR ACCIDENT
STILL ROAMS ASKING FOR RIDES AND DISAPPEARING AFTERWARDS. SHE IS
DRESSED IN WHITE. SEVERAL PEOPLE CLAIM TO HAVE SEEN HER.

Submitter comment: SIMILAR TALES LIKE THIS ONE HAVE BEEN TOLD IN DIFFERENT TOWNS OF THE
ISLAND.

Where learned: PUERTO RICO ; GUAJATACA

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: 00-00-1979

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VOCABULARY OF GROUP

TRUCK DRIVERS WILL LET OTHER TRUCKS AND SOME CARS KNOW WHEN THEY
HAVE SAFELY PASSED BY FAR ENOUGH, SO THAT THEY MAY CUT BACK INTO THE
TRAVELING LANE, BY FLASHING THEIR HEADLIGHTS OFF AND THEN ON AGAIN.
THIS LETS THE PASSING TRUCK KNOWN ( KNOW ) HE IS CLEARED ENOUGH TO
CUT BACK IN. THE PASSING TRUCK ACKNOWLEDGES THANKS BY IN TURN
FLASHING HIS LIGHTS. THIS IS GENERALLY ONLY DONE ON FOUR-LANE
HIGHWAYS. IT CAN BE DONE AT NIGHT AND IN THE DAY TIME. I HAVE
PERSONALLY OBSERVED THIS ON THE NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; LeRoy

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILES AND TRUCKS

Subject headings: SPEECH -- To Be Seen

Date learned: 03-00-1971

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TRAFFIC RULE

RED LIGHT ON A TRAFFIC SIGNAL MEANS STOP
YELLOW LIGHT ON A TRAFFIC SIGNAL MEANS CAUTION
GREEN LIGHT ON A TRAFFIC SIGNAL MEANS PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILES ; COLORS SYMBOLS

Subject headings: SPEECH -- To Be Seen

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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SINCE THERE ARE FREQUENT SPEED-RADAR CHECKS ON DANADIAN HIGHWAYS,
CANADIANS HELP PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST THE LAW. ONCOMING CARS
WILL BLINK THEIR HEAD LIGHTS ON AND OFF TO WARN THEIR FELLOW
CANADIANS TO SLOW DOWN AS THERE IS THE ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
STOPPED UP AHEAD.

Where learned: EXPRESSWAY ; CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: SPEECH -- To Be Seen

Date learned: 00-00-1970

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