Vol.XI No.III Pg.8
May 1974

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

It is with heavy heart and hesitant pen that I reply to Stuff About Things, Vol. 11, No. 1. It has never been a joy to be reactionary, nor to take my brethren to task, but when a good woman (Mz. Bailey) is so tragically misrepresented, I feel it is my Christian duty to reply.

Bro. Turners efforts to put all the blame for the Bailey Incident on the shoulders of poor Mz. Bailey is based upon his figurative exegetical analysis of Come Home Bill Bailey, l:2. The authorized version renders this:

Remember that rainy evening I drove you out, With nothing but a fine-tooth comb? Now bro. Turner and other of such ilk would have us believe that the fine-tooth comb was the instrument of division and conflict — an allegorical representation of nit-picking searching endlessly for very small objects to criticize. (Turner, Ibid.)

After carefully considering the context, and consulting all the leading authorities and commentaries in my library it is clear that the finetooth comb was an incidental possession of Bill Bailey. In the words of one scholar, The phrase signifies the inherent abandonment of this man. Considering the culture of the land in which this was written, the common wife of the time would have permitted her husband to leave with at least a toothbrush, P.J.s, or something! Being run out with but a fine-tooth comb on a rainy evening demonstrates the seriousness of the conflict, and the swiftness of its culmination.

Another commentator has written, The thought surely intended by the writer of the epistle is, If you must drive your spouse from the house at night when it is raining, see to it he has an umbrella or you may never see him again!

The new Amplified )Modern Good News For Maudlin Mommas version reads, Re-call that stormy night that I drove you from our home letting you take nothing but a comb of your own. Whatever it was that so enraged Mz. Bailey we shall never know, but one thing is sure: when it stopped raining Bill Bailey had something, albeit somewhat fine-tined, with which to comb wet hair from his eyes. Jeffery Kingry

(Assumes Mz. Bailey was good, and quotes (?) prejudicial authorities, — but are broad-shouldered.)