Playing the washboard | TheFencePost.com

Playing the washboard

In a Sow’s Ear

Gwen Petersen

Big Timber, Mont.

Do you know what a washboard musical instrument is? And/or what it looks like? A washboard is comprised of a standard washboard that used to be used to scrub soiled clothing by intrepid laundresses, maids and housewives. It’s a wooden framework around a corrugated metal front. Use it by soaping and rubbing clothing up and down the corrugations.

More importantly, do you know how to play a washboard? No, you don’t need soap, soiled garments or water. To play a washboard, thimbles are the ticket. Or maybe a couple of spoons. And, or, sticks to rattle up and down or go bing, bong bing on the bells. Oh, did I mention, one hangs bells of assorted shapes, sizes and tones on sides and lower edge of washboard? To play a washboard, one clicks, scrapes and whacks the corrugations and bells to the beat of whatever tune has been chosen. Which brings me to explain the reason for the above instruction in the fine art of washboard-playing. Here in Montana, three of us have cooked up what we’re calling Montana Cowgirl Trilogy Poetry. Three of us ranch-country cowgirls offer a fun program that includes poetry, song, music, fun and the unexpected. Due to coercion, flattery, threats, coaxing and intimidation, Guess Who has been chosen to play the washboard?

With that caution in mind, here’s a Trilogy cowgirl parody to the tune: Bell Bottom Trousers. Sing along if you wish.

The Cowgirl & the Cowboy

Once I was a cowgirl down a dusty lane

My mamma was so good to me, my papa was the same

When along came a cowboy as happy as could be

And he was the cause of all my misery

Chorus

Singing boots, spurs and wildrag

And jeans of denim blue

Let ‘im bust them broncos like his daddy used to do (bing, bong, bing on washboard bell)

He asked me for a flashlight to light his way to bed

He asked me for a pillow to place beneath his head

And I poor innocent cowgirl, thinking it no harm

Climbed into the cowboy’s bed to keep the cowboy warm

Chorus

Singing boots, spurs and wildrag

And jeans of denim blue

Let ‘im bust them broncos like his daddy used to do (bing, bong, bing on washboard bell)

Well, early in the morning before the break of day

He handed me a dollar bill and to me he did say

Now, you may have a daughter or you may have a son

Take this my darlin’ cowgirl for all that we have done

Chorus

Singing boots, spurs and wildrag

And jeans of denim blue

Let ‘im bust them broncos like his daddy used to do (bing, bong, bing on washboard bell)

Now if you have a daughter, teach her how to sew

And if you have a son, well, teach him rodeo

The moral of this story as you can plainly see

Is never trust a cowboy an inch above your knee

REFRAIN…

Never trust a cowboy an inch above your knee……!

Bing, bong, bing, bonggggggg! ❖



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