Misty, Moisty Morning

It’s a misty, moisty morning near Asheville, with a soft, low sky that looks ready to weep at any moment.  Reminds me of the following Mother Goose rhyme:

One misty moisty morning,
When cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man,
Clothed all in leather.
He began to compliment
And I began to grin.
How do you do? And how do you do?
And how do you do again?

The rhyme, in turn, reminds me of the Charles Addams cartoon that I associate with it–a little girl (probably Wednesday Addams) is walkin down a foggy lane next to a cemetery, and she’s stopped to chat with a skinny spooky* in an old-fashioned leather raincoat.  Both are smiling as if to say they’re pleased to have met at such a moment in such weather.**

If you’re not familiar with Charles Addams, his cartoons appeared in The New Yorker and other stylish magazines from the 1930’s until his death in the 80’s. He is best known, perhaps, for creating “The Addams Family” characters (parents Gomez and Morticia and their children Pugsley and Wednesday; Grandma and Uncle Fester; Lurch the butler) in cartoon form. He was associated with the 1960’s era sitcom based on his characters, but the original cartoons–witty, elegant, macabre, and fiendishly clever–bore only a surface resemblance to the show (light comedy with an emphasis on screwy slapstick).

In any case, that’s the kind of morning it is, and Addams’ illustrations of classic Mother Goose nursery rhymes ought not be missed, unless you prefer the more traditional versions featuring apple-cheeked children and kindly old ladies in spectacles. If so, avoid Addams’ take on Wee Willie Winkie or you’ll have nightmares for a week.

*Credit where credit is due: referring to a skeleton as a “skinny spooky” came from the Scooby-Doo episode entitled A Tiki Scare Is No Fair. After encountering a freaky tiki and becoming separated from the rest of the gang, Shaggy and Scooby are poking around in the jungle and stumble across an old cargo plane with a mechanized skeleton rigged up to frighten people away. Zoicks! It works!

** Imagine my suprise and delight upon finding the very illustration I wanted already available on a great blog site called Curious Pages which recommends delightfully inappropriate books for kids. Many thanks to them for their recommendation of The Chas Addams Mother Goose!

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